FanPost

Recurrently Generated Football League: Cheston & Sports

Editor's note: Another great fan post addition to the Recurrently Generated Football League. Nice work!

Founded in 1918 by former French-Canadian soldiers living in London after the first World War, Cheston & Sports, as it is now known, has undergone an almost incredible amount of change in its 99 years as a club. The association football, ice hockey, and chess club was originally called "Chess & Sports" and was created allow the families of its founders to keep their minds and bodies sharp from competition. Before long, it had morphed into a low-level professional club for all three pursuits.

Nickname(s): The Maples, The Arrows, Wood Pushers (for hooligans)
Motto: "So Sorry About That"
Manager: Garry Kasparov
Stadium: The Rink at Chestonboard Ground
Shirt sponsor: The Maple Syrup Lobby
SB Nation blog: Pardon Our Dustups
Colors: Red and White

Contrary to the belief of casual observers, dropping "Chess" from the name did not reflect an abandonment of Chess practice at the club. Quite the opposite, Chess remains the largest revenue center for the club, and subsidizes the middling football and hockey efforts. As all young Chestonians know, the name change occurred in the aftermath of the 1957 RGFA Cup when, in the 4th round, the Maples were drawn away to juggernauts Ixborough Borough Town, the reigning European champions, in what was to be the biggest match the club had ever contested. The Ixborough stadium staff carelessly referred to the club as "Cheston & Sports" on the scoreboard, and in the matchday programs, and in announcements throughout the game, but the players, supporters, and coaching staff were far too polite to point out the error. This may have gone down as an amusing footnote in football history, but fate had other plans.

Against 5000 to 1 odds, C&S won that day, 1-0 behind a 40-yard wonderstrike from Jacque-Pierre "la flèche" L'Escalier, that left Ixborough, and the rest of England, speechless. Before long, news of the amazing feat of previously-unknown "Cheston & Sports" was on every front page in England. The Board met that evening and unanimously voted to officially change the name, lest they embarrass the scoreboard operator (and lose out on considerable free publicity). Later, for the sake of consistency, the club would buy a patch of farmland in Cheston, England, and relocate there. To this day, it draws its support from the dozens of local farmers within several miles of the stadium, and the thousands of Canadian expatriates in the United Kingdom, most of whom travel across the country to every home game.

In the decades since that famous victory and subsequent name change, the club has managed to hold onto its roots. Club rules state that the majority owner and president of the club most both be Canadian citizens and despite literally every piece of outside advice the club has ever received, it continues to appoint a single manager to oversee the football, hockey, and chess teams. Under current manager Garry Kasparov, the Chess program has seen markedly more success than the other two sports.

Despite these polite beginnings, the Arrows are not without a checkered past. In the 1980s, the team's hooligan group, the "Wood Pushers," were one of the most raucous in all Britain. The group's actions in the well-known Hellesdope Coldent Incident (the details of which are too unseemly to be reprinted here) even earned the entire club the rarely used "lost season" penalty. Though the supporters have settled down somewhat, let's just say that the club's motto these days is still used, more often than not, in irony.

Perhaps not helped by the presence of a hockey team on the grounds, all of the teams of C&S are known for their rough play. The football side regularly leads the RGPL in yellow and red cards, and the chess team is notorious for its rowdy behavior at tournaments and general insouciance toward the finer points of Chess etiquette.

Though a talented side on the pitch, C&S finds itself in a relegation battle almost every year, as a strong start is typically stunted by various player suspensions, penalties, and misdemeanor charges. Still, all true fans of the game owe it to themselves to make the 12-plus-hour drive from London (or any other major metropolitan area) out to the middle of nowhere to take in a match at the state-of-the-art Rink at Chestonboard Grounds, which is capable of converting its area of play from a hockey rink, to a football pitch, to a lovely park with a bunch of chess tables, sometimes up to eight times a week.

If you're lucky, you might just get to sample some of that ineffable politeness that forms the lifeblood of the club, or you might get beaten up. Probably, though, it will be both.

Vive les érables!

The Great Badge of Cheston

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