A Brief History of the Branch
The 1st November 2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Bridgwater and South West Branch. The Branch was formed when four friends returning from a night match got talking about forming a branch. Newspaper adverts were placed in local papers. A lot of interest from Bridgwater people led to a meeting, where a committee was formed, and the first trip was arranged for the home game v. Leicester City on 1st November 1969, the match result was a 1-1 draw. The four founder members were the late Mr. Ken Gurd, the late Mr. Gordon Fisher, the late Mr. Ted Hutchinson and most recently the late Mr. John Cook. The latter sadly passing away on 17 October 2018, aged 83.
In 1969 the branch membership was around 45 members. Today the branch membership is well over 250 members, spread far and wide across Somerset; and yes even the World. Over the years our members have had to relocate to other parts of the country , because of their work or family commitments, some of our members have emmigrated to foreign lands, but have still kept their membership. The branch has members in the following countries: Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, U.S.A., Germany and Ireland. Some of these members still go on the branch trips to Old Trafford when they come home on family visits.
Most members live in Bridgwater and Weston-super-Mare, some members are third generation, on some trips we could have grandad, dad and son from the same family.
Many members have featured in newspaper and magazine articles, TV programmes and have given radio interviews over the years. Branch members come from all walks of life – doctors, bank managers, shop-keepers, factory workers, small businessmen, farmers, TV actors.
Mr. Neil Williams was part of Mr. David Hempleman-Adams team that was the first team to walk unaided, and carrying their own supplies and equipment by foot to the North Pole in 1992.
We have members who work for MUTV. The branch is family orientated, with 70% of the membership being family members.
The branch coach and some of its members are featured in the official MUFC video “Theatre of Dreams”, also the branch has featured in many books about Manchester United over the years.
The branch takes 40 to 50 members to every home match as well as every cup game. The branch has taken a coach-load to every Cup Final at Wembley (featuring Man. Utd.) since 1969 – we even took a coach to Rotterdam for the European Cup Winners Cup Final in 1991. In 1999 we took over 58 members to Barcelona for the Champions’ League Final.