The Legend Begins

Like all good yarns, the origins of football clubs across the globe calling themselves Barnstonewortth United had to start somewhere.

 

In Orange, NSW in the mid 1990s a bunch of footballers who routinely rescued defeat from the jaws of victory, send didn't take themselves too seriously, found resonance with a much-loved TV satire.

For newcomers who continue to be drawn to the club, and who shake their heads asking 'WTF?' when told the club's name, here are some clues, with  some YouTube links..

Ripping Yarns was a British television comedy series, written by two members of the Monty Python team, Michael Palin and Terry Jones. The series ran on the BBC from 1976 to 1979. Each episode had a completely different setting and completely different characters, each looking at a different aspect of British culture. The idea of 'Ripping Yarns' parodied a pre-World War II schoolboy genre.

Season 2 of ripping yarns featured an episode called Golden Gordon. Here is the setting.   Huddersfield, 1935. Barnstoneworth United is a small football club, once playing in the top leagues, now losing every game. One of their fans, Gordon Ottershaw (Palin), who has named his son Barnstoneworth United (John Berlyne), comes home after every lost match and smashes the furniture in fury. His wife Eileen (Gwen Taylor) quietly accepts this. She keeps trying to tell him that she is having a baby, but he seems not to notice.

After an 8-1 defeat by an elderly team (Eight One - Eight bloody One! - And even that were an own goal!), it is decided that the club be sold to a scrap dealer. The upcoming match against Denley Moor (the scene of The Testing of Eric Olthwaite ) will therefore be the club's last. Gordon visits the owner, Mr Foggen (Bill Fraser ), and tries to persuade him to keep the club alive. Foggen refuses.

But Gordon has another idea. He starts visiting the players from the great 1922 team, reassembling them for the last match. The day of the match it looks bad for Barnstoneworth. They have only four players (and three pairs of shorts), whereas the captain of the Denley Moor team is the famous Eric Olthwaite. At the last minute, Gordon arrives with the old team, who defeat Denley Moor.

Gordon arrives home and the family smashes the furniture together in happiness. (John Cleese makes a brief cameo as a passer-by in the street, who peers at Eileen after she shouts to her husband.) The inspiration is Huddersfield Town F.C.'s decline in the late 1970s, while Ripping Yarns was being filmed.