CUACO Football Club was formed in 1919 as the Football Section of the Commercial Union and Associated Offices Athletic Club, at a meeting on 10 June 1919 at 24, Cornhill, London.
The name of the Club remained the same until 1999 when it changed to CGU CUACO following a merger between Commercial Union and General Accident.
In 2001 the Club merged with South Bank to become South Bank CUACO. This followed another merger between CGU and Norwich Union which resulted in Norwich Union selling the Copers Cope Ground to Crystal Palace Football Club.
Home matches were played at Elm Lane, Catford from 1919 until 1974. The Copers Cope Road, Beckenham ground was acquired following a merger with the Northern Assurance Company in the 1960’s and extended with the purchase of the neighbouring General Steam and Navigation ground. Other grounds included Eltham Road, Lee Green from 1949 to 1972 and Avery Hill Road, New Eltham following the merger with the North British and Mercantile Insurance Company.
The Club initially ran 2 teams, but it is not clear which competitions, if any, were entered for the first 2 seasons.
In 1921/22 the first team entered the Southern Amateur League (SAL) and the 2nd XI entered the Insurance league – Reserves section. Both teams entered the Amateur Football Alliance (AFA) Cups and Insurance Cups and the first team also entered the Essex Union Cup. The 3rd XI played friendlies only.
The number of teams fluctuated with a peak of 9 teams regularly in the seasons: 1960-64; 1968/69 and 1981/82.
Cups and Trophies
The major honour during the Club’s lifetime was the first team’s treble of the AFA Senior Cup (without conceding a goal), the SAL First Division, and the London Insurance Offices (LIOFA) Charity Cup in season 1961/62. The AFA Cup final was won against Nottingham University 3-0. A photograph of the team can be found in the South Bank CUACO Clubhouse in Turney Road, Dulwich.
Four years earlier the Club won the double of AFA Senior Cup (beating Nottingham University 1-0 in the Final) and the SAL First Division. They surprisingly lost 1-0 against Pearl in the final of the LIOFA Charity Cup, partly due to the goal collapsing and the match being suspended for 10 minutes!!
AFA Finals competed in were:
• 1961/62 – 1st XI 3 Nottingham University 0
• 1961/62 – 4th XI 1 Barclays Bank 0
• 1957/58 – 1st XI 1 Nottingham University 0
• 1956/57 – 1st XI 0 Walpole Athletic 1
• 1959/60 – 1st XI 0 Winchmore Hill 1
• 1928/29 – 3rd XI 0 Midland Bank 1
The First team’s SAL First Division successes were in the ‘treble and ‘double’ seasons 1961/62 and 1957/58.
LIOFA Charity Cup victories included the following seasons:
1933/34, 1949/50, 1951/52, 1952/53, 1953/54, 1955/56, 1956/57, 1957/58, 1959/60, 1960/61, 1961/62, 1962/63, 1963/64, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1982/83, 1984/85, 1989/90, 1992/93
We were awarded the Cup outright on 2 occasions in recognition of the number of times we had won the Cup.
The SAL Ian Hamilton Trophy for Hospitality and Sportsmanship was awarded to CUACO in the 1994/95, 1997/98 and 1998/99 seasons.
CUACO had the best conduct record in the SAL in the 1998/99 season, so were awarded the Wilkinson Sword.
CUACO also twice won the Commercial Union European Cup. Although a company competition the cup was competed for by teams from England (CUACO), Holland (Delta Lloyd), Belgium (CU Belgium), France (CU France), Scotland (GA Scotland), Ireland (Hibernian) and Turkey (GA Turkey). The competition ran for 7 years between 1994 and 2000 and was held in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, London, Dublin, Dundee and again finally in Amsterdam. CUACO won the competition in 1994 in Amsterdam and in 1998 in Dublin. The 1998 trophy was awarded to the winning CUACO team by Mick McArthy the then manager or the Irish national team.
Individual Honours/ Representative players
H G Millar
The highest individual honour gained by a current CUACO player was by Hugh Millar, with 2 Full Amateur international caps for Scotland, against Ireland in December 1949 and England in March 1950. He regularly appeared for the AFA, SAL and LIOFA representative teams and could have easily played for a senior amateur club but continued to play for CUACO until he was transferred at work to Liverpool branch.
B E Gardiner
Brian Gardiner was presented with a Football Association award for 50 years service to football. In addition to being the Club Chairman for 22 seasons and Honorary Secretary for 13 seasons, Brian captained CUACO teams and sat on SAL and LIOFA committees for numerous seasons. He played well over 1,000 games for the Club.
P Clydesdale, A G Cranch, D C Crotty, C Crowhurst, R Cude, W C Hull, B L Miller and P E Savin.
L F Allen, M J Allighan, M Caskey, P Clydesdale, A G Cranch, D C Crotty, C Crowhurst, R Cude, W C Hull,
B L Miller, P Robson, P E Savin.
L F Allen, M J Allighan, C Baker, J S Brown, S Carpenter, M Caskey, R L Churcher, P Clydesdale,
A G Cranch, D C Crotty, C Crowhurst, R Cude, M Daly, K Gard, I Gates, V Golds, J Green, P J Hobbs,
W C Hull, A Lyons, D McKinlay, R T Meads, B L Miller, M Morley, K S Moss, D Parrish, A Peppitt, P Robson,
K G Ruffell, M Saunders, P E Savin, R Sell, J Skrine, L J Smith, N Spencer, R Struce, A Taylor.
Season Chairman Hon Secretary First XI Captain
1919-20 J Mather F G O Forster
A J Shambrook
C H Jukes F N Wood
1920-21 G W Bullock F G O Forster J C Walker
1921-22 G W Bullock F G O Forster
P J Barnard J C Walker
1922-23 G W Bullock F G O Forster
P J Barnard J C Walker
1923-24 G W Bullock F G O Forster
P J Barnard
B D Nicolson H C Smart
1924-25 J F Lea F G O Forster
P J Barnard B D Nicolson
1925-26 J F Lea P J Barnard
S G M Mills J C Walker
1926-27 J F Lea P J Barnard
S G M Mills E S Bell
1927-28 J F Lea P J Barnard B D Nicolson
1928-29 J F Lea P J Barnard
S G M Mills B D Nicolson
1929-30 G T Bullock P J Barnard
D E Evans B D Nicolson
1930-31 G T Bullock P J Barnard
G K Kayes B D Nicolson
1931-32 G T Bullock D I Burns
G K Kayes B D Nicolson
1932-33 G T Bullock D I Burns B D Nicolson
1933-34 G T Bullock D I Burns B D Nicolson
1934-35 G T Bullock D I Burns B D Nicolson
1935-36 G T Bullock D I Burns F Gedge
1936-37 G T Bullock D I Burns F Gedge
1937-38 G T Bullock D I Burns G S Marriott
1938-39 G T Bullock W A R Hipwell G S Marriott
1939-40 G T Bullock W A R Hipwell G S Marriott
Second World War
1946-47 J C Walker W A R Hipwell G S Marriott
1947-48 J C Walker W A R Hipwell F Gedge
1948-49 B D Nicolson W A R Hipwell H G Millar
1949-50 B D Nicolson W A R Hipwell H G Millar
1950-51 B D Nicolson K A Watcham H G Millar
1951-52 B D Nicolson K A Watcham W Hull
1952-53 B D Nicolson K A Watcham W Hull
1953-54 B D Nicolson K A Watcham W Hull
1954-55 B D Nicolson K A Watcham A G Cranch
1955-56 B D Nicolson K A Watcham A G Cranch
1956-57 B D Nicolson K A Watcham A G Cranch
1957-58 B D Nicolson K A Watcham A G Cranch
1958-59 B D Nicolson K A Watcham K S Moss
1959-60 B D Nicolson A G Cranch K S Moss
1960-61 B D Nicolson A G Cranch K S Moss
1961-62 B D Nicolson A G Cranch C Crowhurst
1962-63 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner C Crowhurst
1963-64 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner C Crowhurst
1964-65 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner C Crowhurst
1965-66 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner B L Miller
1966-67 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner B L Miller
1967-68 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner P Clydesdale
1968-69 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner P Clydesdale
1969-70 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner D Parish
1970-71 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner D Parish
1971-72 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner N R Crampton
1972-73 B D Nicolson B E Gardiner T W Mills?
1973-74 J A Wheeler B E Gardiner J L King
1974-75 J A Wheeler P D Gallagher J L King
1975-76 J A Wheeler P D Gallagher J L King
1976-77 J A Wheeler B E Gardiner T P T Higgins
1977-78 B E Gardiner P J O’Neill R E Skinner
1978-79 B E Gardiner H D Smith R E Skinner
1979-80 B E Gardiner H D Smith L F Allen
1980-81 B E Gardiner H D Smith L F Allen
1981-82 B E Gardiner A.N.Parsons J Austin
1982-83 B E Gardiner A.N.Parsons L F Allen
1983-84 B E Gardiner A.N.Parsons G Webb
1984-85 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons G Webb
1985-86 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons G Webb
1986-87 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons I Gates
1987-88 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons I Gates
1988-89 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons I Gates
1989-90 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons I Gates
1990-91 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons M Morley
1991-92 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons N Spencer
1992-93 B.E.Gardiner T J Barrett M Powell
1993-94 B.E.Gardiner T J Barrett K Aubrey
1994-95 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons K Aubrey
1995-96 B.E.Gardiner A.N.Parsons M Caskey
1996-97 B E Gardiner A.N.Parsons M Caskey
1997-98 B E Gardiner A.N.Parsons D Vaughan
1998-99 B E Gardiner A.N.Parsons D Vaughan
1999-2000 D P Fuller P Holehouse D Vaughan/D Bravenboer
2000-01 D P Fuller P Holehouse D Bravenboer
All other Captains, Match Secretaries and Referees Secretaries are too numerous to list, but they all deserve thanks for the time and effort they put in to help make CUACO a club that was envied.
Highest Win and Defeat
Without playing records from 1919 it is difficult to have a complete picture, but it is unlikely that there was a worse defeat than the 1-24 thumping by Midland Bank in October 1977.
The highest victory found was 12-1 by the 1st XI v Cornhill in 1962/63, but this is unlikely to be the highest, so if anyone knows about a bigger win, please let me know.
The information included is to the best of my knowledge. If any names or dates should be added or changed, please let me know.
Thank you to Howard Smith and Brian Gardiner in helping to compile this history.
The Club founded in 2001 by the merger of CGU CUACO, formerly CUACO founded in 1919 and joining the League that year, and South Bank AFC formerly Borough Polytechnic founded in 1892 and who joined the League in 1946. The merger of the two Clubs was very much a “marriage of convenience” as the CGU CUACO ground in Copers Cope Road, Beckenham was sold by the Club’s parent Company and South Bank suffered, at around the same time, an exodus of its playing membership.
CUACO played from its formation until 1974 at Elm Lane, Catford and also at Beckenham from the 1960’s following the merger of Commercial Union with Northern Assurance. Other grounds included Eltham Road, Lee Green from 1949 to 1972 and Avery Hill Road, New Eltham.
Little of South Bank’s pre war history is known as a result of Club records being destroyed “as a result of enemy action” other than its first ground was Clapham Common followed by a move to Dulwich Village in 1900 and then in 1910 to Turney Road, a ground which the Club shared with Old Westminster Citizens until 1937.
CUACO’S major honour was the “treble” of the AFA Senior Cup (without conceding a goal) beating Nottingham University 3-0 in the final, the SAL Championship and the London Insurance Offices Charity Cup in season 1961/1962. Four years earlier in season 1957/1958 the Club had achieved the “double” of the SAL Championship and AFA Senior Cup again defeating Nottingham University in the final this time 1-0.
The pinnacle of South Bank’s history was the SAL Championship (as South Bank Polytechnic) in season 1993/1994 and its retention in the following season. Since joining the League the Club has appeared in the AFA Senior Cup final on four occasions with victory only once by 4 goals to 3 in an enthralling match in season 1966/1967 against Westminster Bank.
T Tagg, J Roberts, M Caskey, D Bravenboer
Achievements to date
In 2001/02, the first year that the Club was formed, the 1st team gained promotion to the second division of the Southern Amateur League (SAL). In 2002/03 the 4th team were promoted to the second division as champions as were the 5th team in 2003/04. This meant that in the 2004/05 season the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th teams were all in the second division of the SAL.
The 1st team got to the semi-final of the AFA Cup in 2004/05 loosing in extra time to the eventual winners. The 1st team having been relegated in 2005/06 bounced back to win the 3rd division and gain promotion to the second division in 2006/07. The 4th team also won the Minor Challenge Cup in 2006/07 beating Old Owens 4th team 3–2 on penalties.
Season Chairman Hon Secretary First XI Captain
2001/02 D Mumford C Ferris D Bravenboer
2002/03 D Mumford C Ferris T Tagg
2003/04 D Mumford C Ferris T Tagg
2004/05 D Mumford C Ferris T Tagg
2005/06 D Mumford C Ferris T Tagg
2006/07 D Mumford C Ferris M Caskey
2007/08 D Mumford C Ferris M Caskey
Season Team Competition Opponents Result
1947/48 1st Surrey Senior Merton 2-0 W
1950/51 3rd Minor Midland Bank 4-1 W
1952/53 1st Surrey Senior London School of Economics 3-0 W
1953/54 2nd Surrey Junior Kew Association 3-2 L
1955/56 2nd Surrey Junior Carshalton 2-1 L
1959/60 2nd Surrey Junior Merton 4-0 L
1960/61 1st Surrey Senior Blackheath Wanderers 4-2 W
1963/64 1st Surrey Senior Old Salesians 3-3* 2-1 L
1965/66 1st Surrey Senior Carshalton 2-2* 2-1 W
1965/66 2nd Surrey Junior Clapham Old Xaverians 3-0 L
1966/67 1st Senior Westminster Bank 4-3 W
1967/68 2nd Surrey Junior Old Josephians 2-0 W
1968/69 2nd Surrey Junior Old Suttonians 3-2 W
1978/79 5th Senior Novets Civil Service 2-1 W
1980/81 1st Senior West Wickham 4-2 L
1980/81 1st Surrey Senior Polycrom 1-0 L
1980/81 2nd Surrey Intermediate Clapham Old Xaverians 2-0 W
1981/82 1st Surrey Senior Old Westminster Citizens 1-0* W
1982/83 1st Senior Norsemen 4-2 L
1982/83 3rd Junior National Westminster Bank 3-2* W
1983/84 5th Senior Novets Polytechnic 2-1* W
1984/85 1st Senior Old Salesians 3-2 L
1984/85 1st Surrey Senior Old Salesians 2-1* W
1986/87 1st Surrey Senior National Westminster Bank 2-1 W
1987/88 3rd Junior Old Stationers 1-0 L
1987/88 4th Minor Old Parmiterians 2-1 W
1987/88 5th Senior Novets Southgate Olympic 4-1 L
1991/92 1st Surrey Senior Witan 1-1* 1-0 L
1993/94 1st Surrey Senior National Westminster Bank 2-1* L
1994/95 1st Surrey Senior National Westminster Bank 4-3* W
1995/96 1st Surrey Senior Carshalton 2-1 L
1996/97 2nd Surrey Intermediate Old Thorntonians 2-1 L