Corinthian-Casuals: the Kingston-based football team with historical significance

Corinthian-Casuals are an amateur football club which this year celebrates its 140th year of existence in various forms, in which time they have developed England internationals, and created a relationship with a World championship winning club side from Brazil. Despite this, many people from the local area don’t understand their significance to the modern game, with some not realising that they even exist.

Corinthian-Casuals are based in Tolworth, and play at King George’s field in front of an average gate of 300 people attending their games. Despite this, they hold a long-standing relationship with SC Corinthians Paulista, who play at the Neo Química Arena in São Paulo, which has a capacity of nearly 50,000.

Filmmaker Chris Watney released a film titled ‘Brothers in football’ in 2015, which explored the history of the relationship between Corinthian-Casuals and the Brazilian side SC Corinthians Paulista, the former World club champions.

He said that the relationship between the two clubs is special and is one that is rarely seen in football nowadays.

Watney said: “It’s without doubt one of the most romantic stories in all the beautiful game – the Corinthians in Tolworth are one of the most important clubs in the history of football – and yet they’re only truly celebrated in Brazil, by 30 million fans of Corinthians Paulista.

“This is clearly very special and unique. To see a top professional side, a two-time world champion no less, care so much for an English amateur team that’s overlooked even here, is very special. It’s an extraordinary relationship.”

The relationship between the two teams may seem unusual to some, but is actually a result of the tours partaken in by Corinthians FC, who eventually merged with Casuals FC to create Corinthian-Casuals FC, in 1939. Corinthians were originally founded in 1882, whereas Casuals were formed a year later.

The merged club wear the casuals ‘chocolate and pink’ colours as their home kit, and Corinthian FC’s white kit for their away matches.

As John Forrest, the community development officer for the club points out, this is a big reason why the club have been able to maintain strong relationships abroad for such a long time.

He said: “Because Corinthian FC spent so much time touring the world in the early 20th century, helping to develop and popularize the game, we still have connections to a number of overseas clubs, such as SK Slavia Prague, but the relationship with SC Corinthians Paulista goes a little bit deeper. 

“Because our club quite literally inspired the creation of theirs back in 1910, we’re seen as their ‘parent’ club so it’s a unique bond, very much a family thing.”

Llew Walker, a Corinthian-Casuals historian, points out that despite the influence that the club had on football as people know it now, there are many in the surrounding area that aren’t aware of the existence of the club.

He said: “For over a century, the Corinthians held the record for providing more players to the English National squad than any other club. They supplied over half the players in 20 England internationals and twice provided the whole England team.

“One early Corinthian was Andrew Watson, the first Black footballer to play international football, the first to captain any national team.

“Many people living within a mile of the club have no idea who Corinthians are, nor their significance to the history of the beautiful game.”

Sadly, with the forever growing influence of money in professional football, relationships such as these are fewer and far between. Relationships such as these though suggest that football is more than simply just a game, friendships are made through mutual respect and sportsmanship, something many other sports are unable to grasp.

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