Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Company owner Arnold Hills was approached by foreman and local referee Dave Taylor, who suggested that the company form a football club with the aim of improving the morale of the workforce. Hills agreed and an advert was placed in the company’s journal Thames Iron Works Gazette on June 29, 1895.
Although Dave Taylor, a foreman in the shipbuilding department, undertook the task of forming a football club within Thames Ironworks in the summer of 1895, the idea was not his alone nor was it a ‘spur of the moment’ decision. With the demise of the Old Castle Swifts there were a number of its former players who were employed at the Ironworks and now found themselves without a football club.
Hills had been involved in a bitter industrial dispute with his employees that year, thought that the formation of a football club might help improve the mood of his workforce.
The information appeared under the headline: “The importance of co-operation between workers and management“. He referred to the dispute that had just taken place and insisted he wanted to “wipe away the bitterness left by the recent strike“. Hills added: “Thank God this midsummer madness is passed and gone; inequities and anomalies have been done away with and now, under the Good Fellowship system and Profit Sharing Scheme, every worker knows that his individual and social rights are absolutely secured.“
The advert read simply read 125 years ago today “Mr. Taylor, who is working in the shipbuilding department, has undertaken to get up a football club for next winter and I learn that quoits and bowls will also be added to the attractions.” –