History - Early Years
Tooting & Mitcham F.C. was formed on 11 April 1932 when two local clubs, Tooting F.C. and Mitcham Wanderers F.C. amalgamated.
Tooting F.C. began life in 1887 as Tooting Graveney. Originally playing on Figges Marsh they subsequently moves to grounds at Lonesome (1905), Gorringe Park (1907) and The Ridgeway (1913). Tooting Graveney played initially in the London League and during their early years absorbed Tooting Bec FC (in 1896) and Balham St John’s (in 1902). The club was elected to the Athenian League in 1914, just prior to the outbreak of the First World War.
Mitcham Wanderers were founded in 1912 by a group of men who frequented Hearns Coffee Shop at Cranmer Green - which is where the club initially played. They had a couple of successful seasons in the Wimbledon League before the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914, an event which led to both clubs folding whilst the fighting continued. However once hostilities were over, both clubs re-formed and in 1919, the Tooting club re-emerged under the name of Tooting Town FC (playing at Tyrell’s Poultry Farm in Gorringe Park) and Mitcham Wanderers did likewise but retained their original home and name.
By 1922, both clubs, were playing in the London League and purchased grounds in the same area of Mitcham, just opposite Figges Marsh. 1922-23 was Tooting Town’s final season at Gorringe Park before moving into their newly acquired ground at Sandy Lane for the start of the following season. Both clubs continued their independence for a further eight seasons (with Tooting dropping “Town” from their name in 1931) before the historic meeting of April 1932 which saw the birth of the amalgamated club which were to be based at Tooting’s Sandy Lane ground.
Tooting & Mitcham FC (“United” wasn’t added until 1935) played in plain white shirts with black shorts and socks and remained in the London League until joining the Athenian League in 1937. They secured their first major trophy in 1938, winning the Surrey Senior Cup by beating Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 in the final. There wasn’t a great deal of competitive football played after World War broke out for a second time in 1939 however one competition that did continue was the London Senior Cup which Tooting & Mitcham Utd won for the first time in 1943, again with Dulwich Hamlet being the beaten finalists.
When the Second World War ended the club resumed their place in the Athenian League. In 1948 they reached the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 1-0 to Millwall at The Den. In the 1949-1950 season they were Athenian League Champions, (a feat they repeated in 1954-1955, a season which also saw the signing of Paddy Hasty from Salisbury City, a player who went on to become a club legend, scoring 113 goals in 142 appearances). In 1950 they reached the First Round of the FA Cup again and had their first ever home tie against a Football League side, going down 2-3 to Brighton & Hove Albion.