How Was CSFC Founded?
The Civil Service Football Club (CSFC) celebrated 150 years of playing association football in 2013. CSFC is acknowledged as the sole surviving association football club from the original eleven clubs who founded The Football Association at the Freemasons’ Tavern, Great Queen Street in London on 26 October 1863.
We are a founder member of the English FA. We helped create and played in the first ever FA Challenge Cup competition in the 1871/72 season (and provided both umpires for the first final). We are a founder member of some of the oldest amateur competitions in the world. We have a proud tradition of European tours.
What Are CSFC Achievements?
We have provided players to represent their countries at regional and international level, and some of football’s finest administrators; Colonel Sir Francis Marindin, was a past President of our club and of The Football Association. Although we were actually formed in 1862 (as recorded in C W Alcock’s The Football Annual 1871) or even earlier, we have traditionally celebrated 1863 as our first and enduring footprint on footballing history. (To place all this in a broader historical context, 1863 was the year, for example, in which Abraham Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address and Lord Palmerston was the British Prime Minister.) We have played at our current ground, Duke’s Meadow in Chiswick, continuously since 1925.
It is also no exaggeration to say that, alongside the Corinthians club when it existed, no other club did more towards the early development of the game across continental Europe than the CSFC. From 1901 and excluding the First World War period, the CSFC regularly toured the continent up until 1926 when the professional clubs became more involved. Our touring teams were highly successful regularly competing against what are now among the world’s leading teams including Barcelona and Real Madrid. In recognition of this pioneering work, our history shows the club was elected honorary members of both Real Madrid and the Slavia Club of Prague.
Civil Service can also boast international honours from among its ranks in 1920 C.W Harbridge, a CSFC club captain, won four caps for England against Wales, France, Ireland and Belgium. He was among a number of Service players who featured on cigarette cards
CSFC's Involvement In The FA Cup?
While the Civil Service took part in the FA Cup from its inception until 1951, Its main successes are to be found in other tournaments. In 1901, the same year as its first continental tour, the club won the London Senior Cup. The following year the CSFC reached the divisional final of the FA Cup, eventually losing to Luton and in 1903 the club progressed to the 3rd round of the FA Cup before going out against Fulham, both by then professional sides.
In the 2021/22 season we were invited to take part in the FA Generations Cup to mark the 150th anniversary of the first competition in which we played. We won our qualifying group to reach the final in March 2022 at the FA's centre at St George's Park where competed against Crystal Palace FC and Upton Park FC. The Crystal Place team, including a number of Premier League veterans won the competition.
What's CSFC's Most Successful Period?
The years leading up to the First world war were the most successful in the clubs history, winning the Middlesex Senior Cup in 1908 and 1913, the Southern Amateur League two years running from 1912-3 to 1913-4 and the AFA Senior Cup in 1910 - which was coincidently won again in 1920 and 1930. The clubs modern successes came with two league triumphs in 1968-9 and 1970-1, having first won the SAL title in 1937-8, all the club's honours are here.
In 1989 and 1990 the first XI gave the club a reminder of those halcyon FA Cup runs against professional sides in the early part of the century. In the 1988-9 London Senior Cup competition service disposed of two Spartan league sides and Vauxhall league side, Feltham, before narrowly losing to cup holders Fisher Athletic, of the Vauxhall Conference.
How Has The Club Performed Recently?
In more recent times success has returned to the club culminating in the 1st XI winning the AFA Senior Cup in 1997, beating Lensbury 4-3 to secure the trophy for the first time in 67 years. We narrowly missed out on the Senior Cup in 2012 losing to Winchmore Hill in the final 0-1. In 2022 we reached the semi final of the AFA Senior Cup. Our secured promotion back to Division 1 in the 2021/22 season winning the Division 2 title, our 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams are all competing against the top teams in the London wide SAL divisions. Our 5th to 6th teams are all competing in divisions across South London. Our Women's team reached the semi finals of the Capital Cup in 2021/22 and finished strongly in the league. Our Men's Vets team play in Division 1 of the West London Vets League.