A league of my own

League champ: Chris Thornton, of Conisbrough.
League champ: Chris Thornton, of Conisbrough.

WHEN it comes to watching football, retired postman Chris Thornton is in a league of his own.

After heading south to watch two games last month, he can boast to having seen every team which has been in the Football League play a home game.

The 66-year-old, from Castle Crescent, Conisbrough, took his total to 116 teams after taking in the newest ones to be promoted to the football league, AFC Wimbledon and Crawley Town.

Chris’s quest has been to watch all the clubs who have been in the league since 1944 at home, although he has had to be a little creative.

Some of the teams no longer exist in the same form as they were during their league days.

Where that has been the case, he has watched the latest side to carry the name.

In the case of New Brighton, that took him to a park on the Wirral to see the nearest thing available. Chris said the new football season started for him with a trip to Kingstonian FC’s ground, which is used by AFC Wimbledon as their home pitch.

AFC Wimbledon was formed by fans of the former Wimbledon FC when they were controversially moved to Milton Keynes and renamed MK Dons.

They are in the league for the first time this season after working their way up the divisions.

He was among 4,692 people watching them lose 3-2 to Bristol City.

He followed that up a week later with a trip to Crawley in Sussex to see Crawley Town take on Macclesfield Town, winning 2-0.

Chris said: “Crawley were the 116th football league team since the end of World War Two, in 1945. I was born in late 1944 and now I have seen all 116 teams play a match on their home ground.

“I could be the first person to have done that.”

It has been a long journey through the league for Chris.

His first ever football game was back in 1956 when he saw Sheffield United beat Manchester United 3-0, going to the match as part of a school trip.

He said: “The Wimbledon game was all ticket and it turned out to be the first time in years I’ve stood at a football match. That really brought back memories.

“I’m really proud to have seen all 116 teams and I’d love to know of anyone else has done it.”