British Navy football teams played exhibition games in 1941 and 1949 against the Bigelow-Sanford Uniteds, also known as the Blues or Bigelow Weavers, a football club sponsored by a carpet manufacturer in Amsterdam.
The recorder reported in July 1941: “With Pipers Piping and a total of three bands that contribute to a musical background, the Bigelow-Sanford team won a 3-2 win against selected players from the Royal British Navy on Saturday evening at Mohawk Mills Park the greatest football show ever in Amsterdam. “
It was the first football game under the lights in Amsterdam. Rain made the field slippery.
Britain was at war with Nazi Germany when the charity game was played to raise funds for British aid. America would not join the fight until five months later when it was attacked by German ally Japan.
Ed McKnight scored twice for the Locals and Howie Dynes scored once. A seaman named Patmore scored both English goals.
Before the game, the sailors were entertained over lunch in the carpet mill’s cafeteria. After the game there was dinner for the two teams and dancing in the cafeteria.
The very competitive Bigelow-Sanford football team was founded in 1893.
Gavin “Guy” Murdoch, who fought with the Canadian Army in World War I, was the anonymous editor of United’s PX, a monthly newsletter for team members, supporters, and relatives published during World War II
Guy Murdoch was Quality Supervisor at Mohawk Carpet. His grandson Gavin Murdoch, a retired Amsterdam history teacher and school principal, provided documents for this story.
From 1943 through late 1945, there were 25 monthly issues of United’s PX published.
PX published news, poetry, fiction, Bible stories, and commentary from soldiers around the world.
Here are articles from August 1943: “Harold Gotobed wants the addresses of all club members who are now in California. OK Harold, they are attached to this issue.
“Peanuts Brown congratulates the paper and says it is really good and a surefire success. He tried to play soccer but gave up because he needs both legs where he is. “
In the November 1944 edition, Tony Niemczyk wrote: “I hope my day will come soon. Almost two years since I last saw Dutch Hill, I’ve had a good look at my old hometown for sure. “
Dutch Hill was the nickname of the Upper Locust Avenue section in Amsterdam that housed the football clubhouse and where games were played on Bigelow-Sanford Field, now known as Veterans Field.
Four years after the end of the war, a team of British sailors from the frigate HMS Snipe came to Amsterdam for another football game against the United States.
Seven officers and 160 men served on the warship that was anchored in Albany harbor.
In a September afternoon game on the Locust Avenue soccer field, the British beat the locals 5-3. A sailor named Wassell scored twice; The sailors Clements, Sandiland and Langdon each scored one goal. Two Bigelow-Sanford goals were scored by future MP Don Campbell. future radio personality and promoter of Italian culture Salvatore Megna once scored.
The reception was held at the United States clubhouse after the game. That night at the downtown Peter Schuyler Hotel, Howie Dynes presented a trophy to Jack Swainford, captain of the Snipe team.
The speakers praised the friendship between America and England. Former Mayor Arthur Carter, a native of England, said the connection between the two nations was “the greatest force communism has to deal with”.
Bigelow-Sanford moved its carpet manufacturing out of Amsterdam in 1955 and moved to its Thompsonville, Connecticut facility.
The United States soccer team disbanded in 1956.
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