Clubs serve as a central hub in local communities. Recording the history of your club can be valuable not just to the club and its members, but also to the community at large as these histories often overlap. This guide will demonstrate how to document your club's history so that you can preserve important knowledge for future generations. It will also examine the advantages of preserving your club's history in writing, as well as the types of information you should include.
A club's history encompasses all significant events and accomplishments that have occurred throughout the club's existence. It provides an overview of the club's origins and the key individuals who established it. Histories are often written to commemorate significant milestones, such as the club's 10th or 50th anniversary.
There are several benefits of writing a club history:
- Preservation of club history: Writing a club history ensures that the history and legacy of the club are preserved for future generations. It provides a record of the club's achievements, events, and milestones.
- Sense of identity and belonging: A club history helps members of the club feel a sense of identity and belonging. It can help current members understand the club's origins, values, and traditions.
- Promoting and marketing: A well-written club history can be used for promotion and marketing purposes. It can be shared with potential members, sponsors, and fans to showcase the club's history and achievements.
- Fundraising: A club history can be used to raise funds for the club. It can be sold as a book or used as a promotional tool to attract sponsors and donors.
- Educational purposes: A club history can be used for educational purposes. It can be used as a resource for researchers, historians, and students to learn about the club and its role in the community.
To begin documenting your club's history, the first step is to set boundaries, determining the breadth and depth of the project. This allows you to break the project into manageable tasks and avoid wasting time. A person should be designated to coordinate research efforts, though they do not have to do all the work themselves. There are several areas to consider for research, including the club's founding, original members, membership requirements, club facilities, competitions and championship events, representation in the county, awards and honors presented to and by the club.
The next step is to conduct research, utilising a variety of sources such as experienced or long-serving club members, club documents and archives, local/regional council records, and historical societies and museums. Cross-checking and verifying information is essential to ensure accuracy.
The third step is to write the history, compiling all research into one place and creating an outline to cover all areas of the history. Stick to facts and avoid sensitive or controversial information. Editing by a single person at the end of the project can help ensure the writing is well-structured, readable, and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
After completing the history, it's essential to share it with others. Consider printing a special edition for an anniversary event or uploading it to the club website for updates over time.
Don't let the history gather dust. Local media may be interested in it, and free publicity is great for attracting new members.
When writing a club history, it's essential to have proper support structures in place, research widely, include old photographs, balance the text, and use a thesaurus to avoid sounding repetitive.
There are several resources available to help write a club sporting history, including:
- Club archives: Many clubs have records of their history, including meeting minutes, old newsletters, photographs, and other documents that can provide valuable information.
- Local historical societies and museums: Local historical societies and museums may have information on the history of the club or the sport in the area.
- Local libraries and archives: Local libraries and archives often hold a wealth of information on the history of sports clubs in a particular area. You may be able to find old team photos, newspaper clippings, and other historical documents that can help you piece together the club's story.
- Online resources: The internet can be a valuable resource for researching the history of a club or sport. Many clubs have websites or social media pages that may include information on their history. Online archives of newspapers and magazines may also have articles on the club or sport.
- Interviews with past and present members: Talking to past and present members of the club can provide valuable insights into the club's history, including memorable events, key players, and changes over time.
- Sporting governing bodies: National and regional sports governing bodies may have records and information on the history of the sport and the clubs that participate in it.
- Books and articles: There may be books or articles written about the history of the club or sport that can provide valuable information and context.
- Personal collections: Some individuals may have personal collections of memorabilia, such as old photos, trophies, or newspaper clippings, that can provide valuable information on the history of the club.
By utilising these resources, a writer can create a comprehensive and accurate history of the club's sporting achievements, evolution, and contributions to the community.