FOOTBALL: Rugby Town Junior Football Club - how it all began, 25 years ago

A cutting of the very first Rugby Town team, when as U11s they had a 100% record in the Northants Youth Alliance
A cutting of the very first Rugby Town team, when as U11s they had a 100% record in the Northants Youth Alliance

Feature by Brian Dainty

RTJFC celebrate their 25th anniversary this year, and to start the celebrations off commissioned a huge mural (8m x 2m) to represent the progress from one team in 1994 to almost 60 in 2019.

Rugby Town JFC founder and secretary Brian Crinigan, Mayor Cllr Tom Mahoney and chairman Liam Coulter in the clubhouse

Rugby Town JFC founder and secretary Brian Crinigan, Mayor Cllr Tom Mahoney and chairman Liam Coulter in the clubhouse

The club was founded by Brian and Jayne Crinigan, Jamie ‘Mac’ McGregor and Neil Hunt.

It was an interesting start. At the time Brian was managing Rugby Rangers and spotted Ian McGregor (Mac’s son) playing for Bilton Ajax during a game. He approached Mac, made polite introductions and said he was interested in signing his boy to Rangers.

Mac not quite so politely refused the offer! Later that evening Brian went to Mac’s house and they talked football for a while until eventually an agreement was made and Ian signed for Rangers.

Two seasons later Brian and Mac convinced themselves they could run a club, and as luck would have it Rugby Town FC was about to fold. Contact was made to the club secretary and permission granted to apply for the FA affiliation to change hands, and Rugby Town Juniors was born.

The Kilsby Lane clubhouse mural timeline from 1994 to 2019 which has been painstakingly produced for the 25th anniversary, with newspaper cuttings, photographs, letters, certificates and memorabelia, covering 8m x 2m

The Kilsby Lane clubhouse mural timeline from 1994 to 2019 which has been painstakingly produced for the 25th anniversary, with newspaper cuttings, photographs, letters, certificates and memorabelia, covering 8m x 2m

They started with just one team (see first team photo)

From left top the club’s original players were : Robert Crinigan, Rory Squire, Daniel Owen, Danny Davies, Daniel Entwhistle, Christopher Bower, Matthew Coburn, Daniel Simms, Stephen Hunt, Frankie Anderson, Adam Loake, Ian McGregor and Lee Irvine.

Playing in the Northants League and unbeaten for two seasons, the club began to get recognised. It wasn’t long before a complaint was made about the actual name of the club, and why it was allowed to use the word ‘Town’.

A legal battle then ensued, with the FA, RTJFC and the complainants fighting over the issue. Local MP at the time Jim Pawsey got involved, and the newspapers published letters and discussion for weeks.

Mayor, Cllr Tom Mahoney with twins Austin and Freya Bishop

Mayor, Cllr Tom Mahoney with twins Austin and Freya Bishop

Eventually though, the FA accepted the reasoning from RTJFC and the name stayed.

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