Do you have memories of a hospital’s football club?

Then maybe you can help solve the missing pieces of a puzzle surrounding the club’s record-breaking run of cup-ties many years ago.

Elaine O’Connor has been carrying out research on behalf of the Leavesden Hospital Historical Association.

After touring the remaining grounds of the hospital at Leavesden Country Park, she realised the Association was trying to uncover the myth of whether the Hospital’s Football Club being involved in a succession of cup-ties many years ago was true.

Her cousin, Tony Barry, had played in goal during these matches and so she began to delve further, so she spent countless hours researching the information at Watford Library.

With help from her wider family, Ms O’Connor worked out that the record in question was of the Herts Intermediate Cup for the number of ties played in one round and that the matches had taken place in 1971.

She managed to find an entry for this record in the Guinness Book of Records for 1974, which named London Colney as the opponents of Leavesden Hospital.

They were also the eventual victors in a 7-tie tussle that took 12 hours, 41 minutes to complete.

All the matches are recorded in the Watford Observer between November 6 and December 17.

However, she is still searching for photographs or memorabilia about this record that can be shared with the Leavesden Hospital Historical Association.

From the Watford Observer coverage, it is known that in 1971 the London Colney goal-keeper’s surname was Smith and that Dave Robbins scored the winning goal.

Wayne Porter is the only other London Colney footballer named in the coverage.

Martin Brooks, the founder of the Leavesden Hospital History Association, added that not much is known about the history of the football club in Leavesden.

He said: “The precise circumstances that led to the founding of the Leavesden Football Club appear to be lost to history. It is known that a team under that name joined the Western Division of the Hertfordshire County League in 1908, and were runners-up during the 1909-10 season.

"Leavesden F.C. quickly became successful enough to send a number of players on to more prestigious leagues, including the winger Bill Cox, who went from Leavesden to Watford and finally to Charlton Athletic in 1921. Leavesden Asylum would eventually win the Herts Western championship in 1913 and 1914. After the war, they won a third consecutive title in 1920, and won again in the Herts County league in 1927.

"There is also reason to believe from oral history i.e. tall tales told by people who knew it was the truth, that the outstanding record of the club over the years was due to their enlisting the assistance of players from the Watford FC who would be employed by the Hospital and then be eligible to play on the hospital team."

The Watford Observer has contacted London Colney Football Club.

Do you remember the competition or have older relatives who may have photographs or memorabilia?

Let us know by emailing

Watford Observer:

David Wells, centre, taking a shot