Association Football has been played in the town since 1885, when 2 games were played against Wotton-under-edge. The players though were Cricketers, two of which were members of the “Grace Family”, Alfred and G.Grace, the great WG wasn’t even on the bench. At the time this was common for Cricketers to play Rugby or Association football during the winter months. The Black Arabs (Bristol Rovers) players were all playing Cricket during the summer months for St.Simons and Cutlers Hall Cricket Clubs. Association Clubs in those days emerged from Cricket, the Church or the Work place.
Looking at the Villages and Towns in this area Association Football made a very late appearance. Sheffield FC were formed in 1857, The Football association was formed in 1863, England Internationals matches 1870 & the FA Cup began in 1871
Wotton-under-edge were the first team to play football in this area when they met the mighty Warmley in February 1883. The 1883/84 season saw them beat “The Black Arabs” twice 6-0 and 2-0.
It took another 9 years before another local team emerged. Coalpit Heath started playing regular friendlies during 1892/93 season including matches with Eastville Rovers Reserves and Mangotsfield Reserves. The same season Frampton Cotterell and Pucklechurch formed teams.
The following season 1893/94 saw teams formed in Dursley, Charfield and Sinwell.
The 1894/95 season was the season a local side took on league football and it was Wotton, who joined the newly formed Mid Gloucestershire league. The 7 team league also included Forest Green, Gloucester Reserves, the eventual winners and Wickwar. Wickwar, a team who had played a handful of friendlies and jumped straight into League football. At the end of the season it showed and they finished bottom with 1 win, 1 draw and 10 defeats. While Wotton and Wickwar had began playing league football in this season, the other local sides were still playing friendlies. On 13th April 1895 the 1st local Derby between Chipping Sodbury and Yate took place at Yate and The Sods lost 2 – 1.
The Sods must have had the taste for Association football and started playing regular friendlies the following season in 1895/96. A season which saw them take revenge on Yate beating them 3-1 at home and 3-0 away. Other opponents this season included teams from Swindon and Bristol, also Wotton and Coalpit Heath, both of which were reserve sides. The Wotton 1st Team continued playing in the Mid Glos League, Wickwar had dropped out but were still playing friendlies and their place in the league had been taken by the team from Dursley. Winterbourne and Thornbury also had teams playing football this season.
The 1896/97 Season saw The Sods unbeaten. Playing 17 Games, winning 14, drawing 3, Scoring 67 goals and conceding only 13. Teams from Swindon, Oldland, Wotton and Wickwar were beaten. The last 2 named clubs were also playing Mid Glos league football with Dursley this season. While Coalpit Heath and Pucklechurch had joined the North Bristol & District League Division 1 and the Frampton Cotterell team had disappeared……. Most probably had merged with Coalpit Heath, who were now playing League Football.