(Extract from Callies Centenary Celebration Booklet - 1998)
The following article was found in the EP HERALD dated 23rd April. 1898 — Post Office vs Caledonian — A match between representatives of above will be played this afternoon on the ground of Caledonian Football Club close to Walmer Road tram terminus. Included are some players from front rank clubs in England & Scotland Caledonian Amateur Football Club (Mackie Dunn & Co) Duncan, Chalmers, Linton, Simpson, Robertson, Mackay, Hay, MacDonald, Ireland, MacPherson.
As can be seen from the above, we were extremely fortunate to start our life with our own HOME venue.
And so the Club was formed officially on the 25th Apr11, 1898 with the announcement in the EP HERALD that PE Caledonian was officially affiliated to The Eastern Province Football Association which in turn was formed in 1896.
We did not take long to play our first league game as stated in the EP Herald dated 7th May, 1898 — Caledonian Football Club have a practice game this afternoon on Victoria Park South End preparing for league game next Saturday.
As we are accustomed, it did not take Callies long to win the league as in only their second year (1899) they won the EPFA League Cup repeating the performance just 2 years later by doing the same thing. This is also evidenced by the oldest photograph hanging in the Club of the team who achieved this along with the Cup.
In 1912 a Junior Branch of football was formed in PE, but it is not known when Callies had Juniors for the first time.
Callies colours until the 1914 — 18 war were Blue and White. However as a mark of respect for members who died in the First World War, the colours were changed to Black in 1918 only reverting to Blue and White in 1935.
During those war years, the various league competitions were suspended and 1920 was consequently one of reorganisation for Eastern Province football. It was this year that the first recorded Callies Eastern Province representative R Baynes played for Eastern Province against the touring England team on Wednesday 7th July, 1920 at 3:30 pm at the Westbourne Oval followed by a Mayoral Banquet at the PE Club at 8:00 pm. According to the souvenir brochure, the Club was known as Port Elizabeth Caledonians and Baynes played Right Half Back.
The Club grew from strength to strength after the war with the 3rd League team winning the EPFA 3rd League Cup 2 years in a row in 1925 and 1926. This trophy was started in 1899 with the cup currently on display at the PE Museum.
The Club excelled during the 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932 and 1933 seasons winning the Grand Challenge for 6 years in a row as well as winning the EPFA Cup in 1931, 1932 and 1934 after having last won it in 1899. For the record, this trophy was donated and presented to EPFA by the proprietors of Bensdorp’s Cocoa of Amsterdam on the 1st July, 1907. The 3rd league once again tasted success in 1930.
The playing days of Callies was once again interrupted by yet another war, the 1939 — 1945 World War.
With the war now over, Callies were quick to once again make their presence felt and in 1946 were the runner-up in the League with Ken Sorrell as Captain of the Club with Cecil Cowie the President.
The Club is reported to have had a few lean years particularly 1948, but rallied thanks to assistance from another club according to press cuttings at that time. The newspaper cutting however does not identify this club. The 1st team won the Grand Challenge again in 1951.
We won the Grand Challenge again in 1954 under the Presidency of Ken Johnson with Fred Godwin as Captain of the 1st team. During this year all teams performed well with the Juniors growing in strength but in the League, we only finished 4th. Our home ground at this stage was in Prince Alfred’s Park.
The 1955 season started well with a brand of soccer not seen for many years and we won the League Championship. The record shows that we played 14, won 11, drew 2, lost 1. Once again, Ken was President with Graham Fairley as Captain.
The Clubs Headquarters are recorded as being “The Griffin, Griffin Street”.
1956 proved to be a lean year with the Club once again consolidating itself while Arthur “Ethel” Roos represented Eastern Province for the first time. This he did for many more years as reported in the EP Herald dated June 23, 1961 — “One position the Eastern Province soccer selectors never had any difficulty about filling when they choose a side is the left-wing. This berth is the “personal property” of Arthur Roos. Arthur has not missed a game for Eastern Province since he arrived in Port Elizabeth in 1956”.
The1957 season was once again a great season with Cohn Bentley as Captain of the 1st Eleven again winning the League Championship. Dennis Saunders was now President with Sammy Scott being Vice. The 2nd team plus all the juniors were now performing well.
The Club had a whopping 1958 season with the 1st team winning the League, the Grand Challenge Cup, the Dewar Shield and the Harbour Commemoration Cup. The Presidency and captaincy was the same as that of the 1957 season.
Many Callies players gained their EP colours such as J Frisken, F Godwin (Captain), K Saunders, C Jones, R Grebe, C Bentley (Captain), F Bentley, A Roos (also Springbok), G Fairley, D van der Merwe, L Mason and E Simpson during these couple of seasons.
In 1959 there were 6 EP players in the team with Cahlies going through the season unbeaten winning the Grand Challenge, 1st League, Harbour Shield and the Dewar. The 1st team of this year was proof of what can be done by having a strong junior section as the majority of this winning combination came up from the Juniors with the exception of Arthur Roos (Ex Transvaal — 1956) and Eddie Simpson (Joined this season). They won 12 league games in a row with 61 goals for and only 10 against.
Clubs represented in the league (In final placing order) Newton Park, Uitenhage Railways, P E M, P E S A R. N4unicipals and Celtic. It was reported that Fred Godwin had been in the 1st Callies team for 10 years in a row.
Such was the strength of the team, it is reported that this was the first time that Callies flirted with professionalism, in an article in EP Herald of Wednesday July 15, 1959 it was reported — Callies Club Chairman, Dennis Saunders denied speculation that the club will change from the amateur to the professional code despite many of their players having been approached to sign professional contracts with clubs playing in the newly formed National Football League”. The 2nd team came into its own by also winning the 2nd division. We also had a Dart section which performed well. The Club officials were as for 1958 except that Arthur Roos was Captain. Peter Brickett was doing a fine job with the Juniors and we had under 12, 14 and 16 teams.
An article in the Evening Post dated 24 August, 1959 reports: “Mr Saunders told me today that Callies were the oldest Club in town”.
Cailies finished 3rd in the league in 1960 under the captaincy of E Simpson with Dennis Saunders as President. This was despite the fact that we had 10 players in the side with provincial experience albeit that 5 were current provincial representatives.
Callies were still playing a good type of soccer in 1961 and made the Cup final against Arcadia which proved to be very eventful. This was played in September of 1961 at the Oval. It was reported that — “Callies team walked off the field in protest against a decision by the referee, who had disallowed a goal scored by Fred Bentley. The incident occurred after five minutes of the second half when Arcadia was leading 4 — 1. Callies was awarded a free kick just outside the Arcadia penalty area, and Bentley scored. The goal was disallowed. The whole Callies team protested against the decision, but the referee refused to change his mind and the Callies walked off the field to a mingling of boos and cheers. A decision on the Dewar Shield is likely to be made at an Eastern Province Football Association meeting on Monday night”.
As a result of the subsequent hearing, all eleven players were suspended until May 28, 1962 which meant that not only did they miss current season finals, but also missed the first 2 months of the following 1962 season. Callies did however fulfil their current season obligations with 2nd league players some of which even had provincial experience.
Callies had a good under 16 team in 1962 whilst the seniors once again ..on the Grand Challenge and shared the Frootall Cup with Arcadia. Such as the strength and depth of Callies that we in fact had 2 under 12 teams. 1 under 14 team, 2 under 16 teams, a 3rd league team, a second league team together with our 1st league team playing in the EPFA leagues.
In 1967 we won the EPFA league again.
The importance of “Life Members” to a Club was realised in the next few years as the Club really faltered and we were only kept alive thanks to personal contributions from the then 3 life members of the Club.
With the never say die spirit of the Club, we bounced back and Callies has a proud record with the Bus Bodies Challenge trophy having won it in 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1986.
We did however win other trophies along the way with the addition of the Defence Force Shield in 1978 and 1980.
1980 was the year when work started on the current Londt Park site that we now occupy.
In 1981 and 1982, Pun Welgemoed represented the Springboks along with David Luck in 1982. Refer section on Club Springboks.
In its inaugural year, 1981, we won the Borg Warner First League NFL trophy.
In 1982, in addition to the Bus Bodies trophy, we won the Borg Warner EPFA Premier League in its initial year. Callies had 9 players representing Eastern Province and 2 Springboks.
The same 2 trophies were won again in 1983 (Bus Bodies and Borg Warner) as well as the EPFA Grand Challenge 1st Division cup.
We also shared the 2nd League Cup with PE City which was started in 1982.
1984 was an excellent year with Callies winning 5 out of 8 finals played on Cup Finals day.
We also won the Borg Warner Premier League, Bus Bodies Challenge, EPFA Grand Challenge 1st Division and Borg Warner Premier League Knock-out trophies. Pun Welgemoed represented EP.
George Byron of Times Media wrote on the 29th September, 1984: “In the past 3 years, Callies had only suffered 2 defeats in 54 League matches”.
In 1985 Callies embarked on their first season in the professional football ranks, which only lasted a short while before reverting to the amateur ranks.
In 1986 we won the Bus Bodies Challenge and the EPFA Grand Challenge 1st Division trophies.
In 1987 we had 2 EP players in Niel Isaacs and Gary Stevenson and won the Lions Charity Shield as well as the Borg Warner Premier League Knock-out.
In 1991 the Club was split into further divisions with a Recreation President in Malcolm Aitken catering for non-playing membership, Football President in Arnie van Jaarsveldt catering for the soccer players and a Darts President in Frank Powell looking after the darts players.
Callies once again entered the professional era as “PE Callies” and played in the NSL 2nd Division finishing a creditable 3rd in the league in its first year.
After a few years of relatively good results in the professional circus, we eventually sold our franchise mainly due to a lack of major sponsorships and the early 90’s was once again a time of rebuilding the Club.
The Club is currently still enjoying successful times with healthy Senior and Junior soccer sections which are very well represented in most leagues as well as a good Darts section, both men and ladies, which augurs well for the Club as we enter the next millenium and a further 100 years for CALLIES.