Marsden Football Club - 60s and 70s decline
Records from the early 60s are very sketchy but it is clear that the successful and experienced 50s soon began to break up, being replaced with mainly younger inexperienced players (certainly at such a high level of local football) who struggled to cope with life in the SELAL. The four years 1963-64 to 1966-67 saw the team loosing the majority of games, finally being relegated to Division 2 in 1967.
At least this team appear to hold the distinction of scoring the highest number of goals in a game for the club. 21st October 1968 saw them beat GPO Sports 23-0 at Fall Lane in the H & D FA Challenge Cup. For the record the team and scorers were:- Terry Charlesworth, Graham Kewley, Michael Lightowlers (1), Ernie Gibson, Brian Irving, Barry Herbert, Graham Sykes (2), Peter Lightowlers (3), Alan Barnes (10), Geoff Irving (3), Kevin Beaumont (4) The 10 goals scored by Alan Barnes is presumably also a record individual score.
Meanwhile in 1964-65 a Reserve team had been entered in the H & D League. In spite of the clubs' decline on the field, sufficient interest from local youngsters gave the club the confidence to operate two teams. 1970 saw the 1st team gain promotion back into Division 1 of the SELAL and although having a reasonable 1970-71 season back with the elite and the Reserves gaining promotion to Division 5, the Committee decided on 3rd May 1971 to withdraw from the SELAL due to its falling standards and increased expenses and to run both teams in the H & D League. 1971-72 saw the first team takeover in Division 5 and the Reserves drop down to Division 8.
1972-73 saw the Reserves promoted as Champions, but this was a rare success as both teams struggled along through to the end of decade by which time the league had re-structured, creating a separate league for Reserve teams. The Summer of 1976 saw the club move from Carrs Road to Prefab changing rooms behind the top goalmouth with HQ at Marsden British Legion. 1979-80 was a disaster with both teams facing relegation into the lowest Divisions, but changes by the League resulted in them retaining their places. The reprieve was shortlived for the 1st team who were relegated the following season but joy for the Reserves who gained promotion, only to be relegated the next year.
And so we reached a point in the early 80's where open age football in Marsden had just about reached rock-bottom. At the end of 1982-83 the position was that Marsden AFC were due to gain promotion from Division 5, effectively replacing Marsden Old Boys who faced relegation from Division 4. Marsden Reserves were in Reserve Division 3.