Interview with Barry Hoggarth, author of the Cumberland Senior Cup 1886 to 2019.
Ahead of the review of this book about the Cumberland Senior Cup, Football Book Reviews caught up with its writer, Barry Hoggarth to get the lowdown on his football background and a bit about the book itself.
Football Book Reviews (FBR): How did you first get interested in football and what was your first football memory?
Barry Hoggarth (BH): My first football memory is of my dad collecting the ESSO coins that you got when buying petrol back then. The collection was made up of the England squad that took part in the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. In terms of my first actual memory of a game that was the 1971 FA Cup final at the ‘old’ Wembley between Arsenal and Liverpool, when the London club won 2-1 in extra-time.
FBR: Do you support or watch a team regularly?
BH: It’s difficult to watch anyone regularly due to the geographic isolation, however, I do support Liverpool, as do my two lads. We try to get down when we can, but the reality is that with work commitments and ticket availability it’s difficult to get to see many games.
FBR: What was the inspiration for writing this book?
BH: I’m extremely interested in the history of West Cumberland and collect local postcards, pictures etc about the area and these have provided the basis for many of the pictures contained in the book. Another prompt came when someone at work gave me a list of all the winners of the various cups under the jurisdiction of the Cumberland FA (which turned out to be incorrect), but to my surprise my own village had three different winners of the Cumberland Cup. When I mentioned at work about writing a book on the history of the competition I basically got laughed at, however, here we are 10 years later with the book.
FBR: What was the most surprising or difficult aspect in compiling this book?
BH: I often visit the local archives in Whitehaven and the research started there and initially things were quite straightforward. However, as I got into the 1950s things began to dry up. The local weekly newspaper, the Whitehaven News started to stop reporting on the cup games if the teams in the west of the county had been eliminated, the balance of power had undoubtedly moved from the west to the north and east. I therefore had to make numerous visits to Carlisle (an 80 miles round trip) to finish the book. Unbelievably, the last season to be found was 1996/97.
FBR: From the book what is your favourite cup win and why?
BH: My favourite wins are undoubtedly the three triumphs for the Frizington teams in 1902, 1920 and 1926 given that is my home, but in terms of shock and surprise nothing beats the Bigrigg win over Carlisle United in 1915. It is without doubt a proper David v Goliath story, as Bigrigg is a village just north of Egremont with a tiny population, whilst Carlisle is a City with thousands of people and at the time Carlisle United, were playing in a particularly strong North Eastern League.
FBR: What do you think the future of grassroots football and Senior County Cup’s is?
BH: At grassroots level in Cumbria, teams are falling by the wayside left, right and centre. My own village has fantastic facilities, a superb pitch, its own clubhouse, but we don’t even have a team at junior or senior level, all this in a village with over 3,000 residents. The local Sunday League (Seniors) had three divisions when I played in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but it’s down to one now.
Kids football, especially in West Cumbria is huge, loads of teams, but when the kids get to 18 only the good ones continue and play senior football because there’s nowhere for them to play.
Despite the decline in grassroots football, the Cumberland Cup remains relatively strong, with entries around the 32 mark for a while now. However, as no doubt with Senior County Cups around the country, the senior clubs (up here, Carlisle United and Workington), generally use the competition to field reserves and academy youngsters. Nevertheless, the smaller clubs who enter love to get one over on the so called ‘big guns’.
FBR: How can people buy your book?
BH: The book can be bought directly from me priced at £15 including postage and packing, contact details are:
Mobile – 07791956711
Email – email@example.com
Twitter – @hoggy082
Facebook / messenger – Barry Hoggarth
Also available on eBay (search Cumberland Senior Cup) priced at £16.