London XI

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London XI
ManagerJoe Mears
LeagueInter-Cities Fairs Cup

London XI was a football team created to take part in the 1955–58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.

The competition began in 1955, and the first tournament took three years to complete. The entrants were the major football team of each city which held a Trade Fair. Like many cities taking part, London had several strong teams; however, rules stated that there could only be a single team from each city.[1] It was decided to create a team especially for the tournament, using the best players from each London-based club. Membership of the team varied considerably between matches, to the effect that as many as 54 players took part in the 8 matches of the campaign.

The London XI, managed by Chelsea chairman Joe Mears, reached the final of the cup, after coming top of a group that included special XI teams from Basel and Frankfurt, and then beating Lausanne Sports. London lost 8–2 on aggregate over two legs to FC Barcelona.

The London XI only competed in the 1955–58 tournament, all future Inter-Cities Fairs Cups involving a London team were contested by individual clubs from London instead.

A unified London side appears to have competed in friendly matches even earlier: a "London" team represented the FA in the historic 1866 London v Sheffield match, and there is passing mention of "London" having been heavily defeated in a friendly match against Corinthian in a 1904 Times article.[2] Two other matches have been referenced – an "annual match" versus Birmingham on 3 October 1910 and a match versus Paris on 18 December 1910.[3]

Teams and match details[edit]

Group stage[edit]

Basel XI 0–5 London XI – 4 June 1955

Team: Ron Reynolds (Tot), Peter Sillett (Che), Jim Fotheringham (Ars), Stan Willemse (Che), Ken Armstrong (Che), Derek Saunders (Che), Harry Hooper (Wes), Johnny Haynes (Ful), Cliff Holton (Ars), Eddie Firmani (Cha), Billy Kiernan (Cha).
Substitute: Brian Nicholas (QPR), on for Saunders 37'.
Scorers: Firmani 35', Holton 37', 43', 74', Hooper 81'.[a]

London XI 3–2 Frankfurt XI – 26 October 1955 at Wembley Stadium

Team: Ted Ditchburn (Tot), Peter Sillett (Che), Stan Willemse (Che), Danny Blanchflower (Tot), Charlie Hurley (Mil), Cyril Hammond (Cha), Vic Groves (Ley), Bobby Robson (Ful), Bedford Jezzard (Ful), Roy Bentley (Che), Charlie Mitten (Ful).
Scorers: Jezzard 46', 76', Robson 60'.

London XI 1–0 Basel XI – 4 May 1956 at White Hart Lane

Team: Jack Kelsey (Ars), Peter Sillett (Che), John Hewie (Cha), Danny Blanchflower (Tot), Stan Wicks (Che), Ken Coote (Bre), Jim Lewis (Che), Derek Tapscott (Ars), Cliff Holton (Ars), Bobby Cameron (QPR), George Robb (Tot).
Scorers: Robb 87'.

Frankfurt XI 1–0 London XI – 27 March 1957

Team: Ron Reynolds (Tot), John Bond (Wes), Peter Sillett (Che), Ken Armstrong (Che), Malcolm Allison (Wes), Tony Marchi (Tot), Terry Medwin (Tot), Stuart Leary (Cha), David Herd (Ars), Johnny Haynes (Ful), Billy Kiernan (Cha).


Lausanne Sports 2–1 London XI – 16 September 1957

Team: Ted Ditchburn (Tot), Stan Charlton (Ars), Dennis Evans (Ars), Brian Nicholas (Che), Jim Fotheringham (Ars), Phil McKnight (Ley), Peter Berry (Cry), Geoff Truett (Cry), Les Stubbs (Che), Phil Woosnam (Ley), Joe Haverty (Ars).
Scorers: Haverty 70'.

London XI 2–0 Lausanne Sports – 23 October 1957 at Highbury

Team: Jack Kelsey (Ars), Stan Charlton (Ars), Peter Sillett (Che), Ken Coote (Bre), Bill Dodgin (Ars), Derek Saunders (Che), Roy Dwight (Ful), Jimmy Greaves (Che), Cliff Holton (Ars), Johnny Haynes (Ful), Billy Kiernan (Cha).
Scorers: Greaves 10', Holton 76'.

London won 3–2 on aggregate


London XI 2–2 CF Barcelona – 5 March 1958 at Stamford Bridge

Team: Jack Kelsey (Ars), Peter Sillett (Che), Jim Langley (Ful), Danny Blanchflower (Tot), Maurice Norman (Tot), Ken Coote (Bre), Vic Groves (Ars), Jimmy Greaves (Che), Bobby Smith (Tot), Johnny Haynes (Ful), George Robb (Tot).
Scorers: Greaves 10', Langley (pen) 88'.

CF Barcelona 6–0 London XI – 1 May 1958

Team: Jack Kelsey (Ars), George Wright (Ley), Noel Cantwell (Wes), Danny Blanchflower (Tot), Ken Brown (Wes), Dave Bowen (Ars), Terry Medwin (Tot), Vic Groves (Ars), Bobby Smith (Tot), Jimmy Bloomfield (Ars), Jim Lewis (Che)

CF Barcelona won 8–2 on aggregate


Ars – Arsenal; Bre – Brentford; Cha – Charlton Athletic; Che – Chelsea; Cry – Crystal Palace; Ful – Fulham; Ley – Leyton Orient; Mil – Millwall; QPR – Queens Park Rangers; Tot – Tottenham Hotspur; Wes – West Ham United

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Some sources give the final goal to Eddie Firmani.[5][6]


  1. ^ Dart, James (1 June 2005). "Are Liverpool the worst European champions ever?". The Guardian.
  2. ^ The Times (1904). "Corinthians vs Manchester United". "James Owen of Penrhos and his descendants" ancestry website. Retrieved 26 February 2012. The article mentions that "Portsmouth and London" conceded 14 goals in their matches against Corinthians (no separate scores are given), and that Corinthians "had an easy task" in their match against London in particular. London teams performed well in during the 1903–04 season, with Tottenham, QPR and Millwall finishing 2nd, 5th and 7th, respectively.
  3. ^ White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. p. 96. ISBN 0951526200.
  4. ^ EC 1 & Fairs Cup 1595-1960. International Federation of Football History & Statistics. pp. 158–171.
  5. ^ Zea, Anthony; Haisma, Marcel (2 October 2009). "Fairs' Cup 1955-58". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  6. ^ Almanacco Totale del Calcio Europeo 1958. pp. 31–32. Retrieved 25 May 2018.

External links[edit]