LATER this year, the Herefordshire Football Association will celebrate another important landmark when the organisation marks its 125th anniversary season.

And there will be no dispute about the date, unlike the centenary of another closely related body which, but for the investigative powers of one of the stalwarts of this newspaper, would have been celebrated 10 years earlier than it should have been.

Ted Woodriffe, the long-time sports editor of the Hereford Times, was asked to write something for the menu for Herefordshire Football League's centenary in 1989.

However, as befits the great journalist that he was, Ted did a little research and discovered that the HFL had been founded in 1899 not 1889 so the centenary would have been marked a decade in advance.

The Herefordshire Football League was one of the innovations of the HFA which had been founded six years previously, on October 21, 1893.

At a meeting at the Mansion House in Widemarsh Street, representatives of clubs within and outside the county boundary gathered to form the new association which would affiliate to the Birmingham and District FA.

Founder members, according to the HFA website, were Berwick Rangers, Bircher, Bromyard Excelsior, Builth, Builth Juniors, Hereford, Hereford Thistle, Hereford Early Closers, Hereford Juniors, Kington, Ledbury United, Leominster, Ludlow, Much Marcle, Pencombe, Peterchurch, Presteigne Town, Rhayader, Ross, Silver Stars, Tenbury, Tupsley, Whitfield, Worcester Excelsior and Worcester Rovers.

Ledbury Rovers, Hereford Red Rose and Hereford St Peters were elected the following year when the first playing of the HFA Senior County Challenge Cup saw Hereford beat Builth 1-0.

Leominster defeated Worcester Excelsior 5-2 to win the HFA Junior Cup in the same year and 12 months later, the HFA Charity Bowl was inaugurated with Hereford beating Hereford Thistle 1-0.

Membership of the association continued to grow as organised sport gained in popularity with the increase in leisure time available to the working man.

By 1913, the required 50 club threshold had been reached for the HFA to become a separate self-administering body and so they were able to affiliate direct to the Football Association.

Subsequent cups also appeared through the years - in 1938 the Burghill Cup was launched to raise money for the association's benevolent fund.

And then, in 1950, the Hereford Times was able to report on how, at a function at the Kerry Arms Hotel, Ansells Brewery formally presented a 'handsome silver cup' for competition 'among the senior clubs of Herefordshire and the adjoining counties'.

HFA chairman H P Barnsley, on receiving the trophy from Ansells, gave an insight into the financial challenges faced almost 70 years ago.

"As a small county association, we find it difficult to make ends meet financially," he said. "But the competition for the trophy should go a long way towards relieving the secretary and treasurer of the headaches they always suffer towards the end of the season.

"The cup will also attract good teams into the county and benefit Herefordshire football generally."

Harry Barnsley, who was mayor of Hereford from 1938 to 1942, had been elected chairman of the HFA in 1920 and served in the office until 1956.

He was one of a select handful of the organisation's administrators who have given a lifetime of support and been recognised on a wider front.

He was the county's representative on the FA for 20 years and was chairman of the FA disciplinary commission for three years, also serving on the FA match and consultative committee for international matches and being a recipient of the FA long service gold medal.

Mr Barnsley crossed over with another HFA stalwart who was a part of the county and wider football scene for well over half a century.

Ted Powell became HFL secretary in 1951 and assumed a similar role with the HFA a year later.

He was the HFA's secretary for 25 years but that was far from his last post with the organisation as he stepped up to become chairman from 1990 to 2003 when, at the age of 78, he decided to step down.

At the time of his death in 2011, he was still a long-standing life vice-president of the FA.

Long service to the county organisation is a thread which continues to this day.

Jim Lambert has been a council member of the HFA since 1980 and became secretary in 1997 before stepping up to become chief executive.

Although he has now relinquished that role to Jonny Walker, he remains as finance director and knows he has the full and close support of at least one of the members of staff - his wife Val, who has been a part of the HFA team for many years and has worked alongside Jim in various aspects of football administration since they were married in 1974.