- County Town: Guildford
- Other Major Towns: Camberley, Esher, Ewell, Redhill, Walton-on-Thames, Woking
- Population: 1,19m (2019)
- Nicknames: Blue and Gold
- Association: International Surrey Football (ISF)
- Website: https://intsurreyfootball.co.uk/
- Confederations Affiliated To: World Unity Football Alliance (WUFA)
Surrey is a county in South-East England that borders Kent to the east, a short border with East Sussex to the south-east, West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the north-west, and Greater London to the north. The county has an approximate population of 1,2 million people which makes it the 12th most populous English county. Whilst Guildford is widely regarded as being the county town of Surrey, the Surrey County Council is currently based in Reigate having moved it’s HQ from Kingston-Upon-Thames in 2020. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly Kingston-Upon-Thames isn’t even in Surrey and is actually a part of Greater London. Kingston-Upon-Thames had been the council’s home since 1893 and before that it was based in Newington, a district of South London.
During both the 5th and 6th centuries, Surrey was conquered and then settled by the Saxons. It is thought by some historians that Surrey may once have formed part of a larger Middle Saxon kingdom which also comprised of areas north of the River Thames. The name Surrey comes from Sūþrīge (or Suthrige), simply meaning “southern region“
In terms of football, Surrey is home to several football clubs with perhaps the most famous of these being Woking FC. Founded in 1887, the club today competes in the National League which is at the 5th tier of the English football pyramid. Their moment in the national spotlight came during the 1990-91 FA Cup when they reached the fourth round of the competition and played Everton FC at Goodison Park losing by only one goal to nil.
Some famous players to come from Surrey include the likes of Rio Ferdinand (West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth, Leeds United, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers & England), Scott Parker (Charlton Athletic, Norwich City, Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham & England), and Alex McCarthy (Reading, Crystal Palace, Southampton & England).
In 2014, the County of Surrey Representative Team was founded by the then Surrey Independent Football Association (SIFA) which was later named as International Surrey Football (ISF). The idea behind the establishment of this organisation was to provide mainly non-league football players with a chance of playing non-FIFA international football. In those early days there was only one men’s team, but since then, a women’s team has also been included as of 2019.
The Surrey men’s team played their first ever international game at the St. Paul’s Sports Ground in Rotherhithe, South West London on 6th May 2018 where Barawa provided the opposite. The result at the end of the 90 minutes was a 3-1 victory for the Surrey team.
To find out more about the Surrey International Football men’s and women’s teams we spoke to the International Surrey Football men’s Twitter page who have provided us with some brilliant information on both the men’s and women’s teams. Please take a look at the links below for the men’s and women’s teams Twitter feeds.
Q. Who would you say is Surrey’s best player and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
There’s been a lot of great players from Surrey, both current and past, but perhaps one of the best would have to be Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand. He won virtually everything with Manchester United; six Premier League titles and a Champions League winning medal are no easy feat, and he is perhaps one of the most decorated players in recent history.
While a lot of players come from Surrey, very few go onto management, with AFC Bournemouth’s Scott Parker, perhaps the best known manager to come from Surrey, and AFC Wimbledon’s Mark Robinson the rare exceptions as the only Surrey-born managers in the top 92 teams in England. As well as this, Neal Ardley, who took AFC Wimbledon from League Two to League One, is perhaps the most successful and is now the manager of National League side Solihull Moors. Perhaps the least well known, but with perhaps the most unique managerial journey would be Rob Gale. The east of Surrey raised manager is currently manager of Canadian Premier League side Valour FC of Winnipeg, having worked his way up managing Canada’s youth level national team from Under 16’s to Under 20’s.
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ in the history of football in Surrey.
In terms of players that reached this status while playing in Surrey, that would almost certainly be Giuseppe Sole and “that” free kick against Halifax Town [for Woking] in the 2014-15 season.
Q. Of the current team, who would you say is the best player in the representative sides?
With 3 goals in his first 2 games, it’s a fairly easy answer, forward Tayo Ajayi has perhaps been the best Surrey capped player right now in the men’s team, meanwhile that could perhaps be beaten by Eva Keen for the Surrey women who enjoyed a hat-trick in her first game for the Blue and Gold in their opening training match against the University of Surrey in May this year.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the representative teams?
Both teams have shown great potential recently, but with room for improvement, with the Women’s World Unity Cup now announced and coming to Surrey, there is now a clear target for the team to aim for as they try to keep the trophy from leaving the county.
Q. Are there any players from Surrey who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent from the county?
Nathaniel Williams [midfielder/forward] has always been a joy to watch in the Surrey men. With both skill and pace, he’s caused havoc for defences at times when he’s played for Surrey, and will continue to do so in any future games he features in.
Meanwhile in our women’s team the talent to watch would by midfielder Lilly Lambird, who started in defence in the game against the University of Surrey, but really came to life when moved into midfield and contributed heavily, both in assists and created chances in such a convincing 8-1 win that the team enjoyed.
Q. Looking at Surrey’s international history, what would you say has been the best game, result or performance for the national team in your opinion?
The men’s most well-rounded result would be the 4-1 win against the Chagos Islands in December 2019. It was a game where you couldn’t ask for much more; confident in attack and consistent overall in defence, with just one error costing the team the clean sheet, of what would otherwise have been a near perfect display.
While the women have only played 1 game, with high temperatures, a blistering sun, and limited substitute options, the team played relentlessly after initially falling behind 1-0 to win emphatically 8-1 against the University of Surrey in perhaps one of the best displays I’d seen by any team in a very long time. The attack was relentless, and the type of defending you wouldn’t have expected from a friendly, next level determination which impressed their new coaches, who were left gobsmacked by the players’ efforts.
Q. Likewise, is there a performance or result which is regarded as the team’s lowest point?
Perhaps the lowest result would be our heaviest defeat, a 6-0 loss to the Army FA side, and the only game in which we didn’t score. The gap in quality of players between the Army and our own was not the biggest, and certainly not deserving of such a heavy loss. Being our first game where we didn’t score certainly added to the overall disappointment for what was such a unique opportunity for the team, to play against an English County FA representative team.
Q. What are the best (and worst) things about being a fan of the Surrey representative team?
Surrey is certainly not without goals! Men’s games featuring Surrey have averaged 4.6 goals, so excitement has always been ensured – no goalless draws to be seen here! While perhaps the worst part being that there hasn’t been enough games. While we’re working to play more games over the coming season, we know that playing more regularly is certainly something we want to improve upon going forward, but of course, we’re at the mercy of others. Finding player availability around club commitments isn’t always the easiest to achieve.
Q. Have the fans adopted some kind of unofficial anthem to sing along to before/during/after matches?
Unfortunately not yet. With a blue and yellow colour scheme, and a number of famous bands from Surrey, we’re sure it could happen eventually. We just need to find the best singer in the crowd in our upcoming games.
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the whole time of the representative team?
We’ve been sure to keep one thing consistent between out kits since our first, and that’s our checkered pattern, with our current yellow glitch effect home kit the best so far, although our navy blue and gold away kit is certainly of note. Beyond playing kits, we’ve also supported a number of charitable causes by selling limited edition charity shirts for fans in aid of the mental health charity, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), as well as LGBTQ+ charities through our recent Pride shirt. These shirts have often been head turners despite breaking our normal colour choices as part of our “Not Blue and Gold” campaign. The third and final 2021 charity shirt will be available in November this year.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of the Surrey representative team?
On Friday 20th July it was announced that Surrey would be hosting the inaugural 2022 WUFA Women’s World Unity Cup, and we want to make this opportunity a success having successfully hosted a behind closed doors four-team tournament as part of the WUFA World Series, but we want to make this tournament a success with fans present this time.
A massive thank you to the excellent International Surrey Football Twitter feed for answering our questions on the Blue and Golds. Remember you can find their excellent accounts in the links at the top of the blog page.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send a message to the author at @Gareth19801, or the editor @The94thMin on Twitter.