The AFC representative team will contest a new tournament starting in the 2016/17 season with the annual friendly fixtures against the Southern Amateur League and the Arthurian League incorporated into the new Argonaut Trophy. The Herts Senior County League make up the 4-team line-up with each team playing three matches in a mini-league competition.
The three AFA leagues have played each other in annual friendlies for many years and the SAL-AFC fixture is played for the Steve Langley Cup. In addition, the AFC and SAL have met the Herts Senior County League through the FA Inter-League Cup in recent seasons with Herts reaching the final in 2014.
The competition will be played on a round-robin basis with teams playing each other once, alternating home and away fixtures each season. The games will all be played midweek on non-League stadium grounds with the ‘home’ league organising the fixture. In addition to the traditional 3-1-0 points system, drawn matches will be decided by penalty shoot-outs (no extra time) with the winning team receiving a bonus point.
The following fixtures were drawn for the 2016/17 season:
Herts v AFC – 23 November KO 7.45pm at London Lions (Barnet)
SAL v Arthurian – 30 November venue TBC
AFC v Arthurian - TBA
Herts V SAL (TBC)
SAL v AFC – 15 March 2017 KO 7.45 at Potters Bar FC
Arthurian v Herts (TBC)
The Argonaut Trophy competition was inaugurated in 1951, with a presentation by the Tatler & Bystander of a beautiful silver nef, which must now be worth over £1,000. The magazine's gesture was a response to widely held concern at the time that many schools were turning from football to rugby.
The initial entry was confined to some 16 clubs "not normally engaged in competitive football" and included the universities, officers' teams from the services, public school old boys and so on. It was administered by the Tatler's assistant editor for one year, and then handed on to a freelance sport historian Sidney Patman who continued until his death, when T. Lawrence took over, who in turn died earlier this year.
The Football Association, and in particular Sir Stanley Rous and Sir Harold Thompson took a personal interest in the launching and ensured that the pan-county aspect of the competing clubs raised few practical problems, for example match officials were appointed by the F.A., directly or indirectly. There have been virtually no disciplinary situations and it has been possible to happily presume that this early personal involvement also represented sanction; at least this is what its two principal secretaries have assumed.
In the intervening years the group of clubs has expanded minimally to come two dozen at any one time, and there are now some half a dozen variations on a theme within the "Argonaut" umbrella. For example, there are both mid-week and Saturday competitions, with associated osers' adjuncts - assuring all entrants of least two games, and there are some city or services four-legged entries for specific presentations which have been made over the years.
The recent death of Tom Lawrence, together with the measured stability of a favoured competition brings us to a point where we would like to regularise the position by formal sanction, all our entrants being, of course, validly affiliated and mostly to the Amateur Football Alliance. We would like to ask if the Football Association would permit us to approach the A.F.A. for sanction, or whether (in view of our entrants covering more than 3 county associations) the F.A. prefer to give formal sanction and remain the sanctioning body