Streatham and Mitcham RLFC

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Streatham and Mitcham RLFC were a professional rugby league team based at Mitcham Stadium in London.

In the present day, top amateur rugby league side, South London Storm play close to the former Mitcham stadium and a junior Mitcham rugby league side has been founded.

History

Streatham and Mitcham RLFC were founded in 1935 and enjoyed initial, but short-lived, success. Managed by sports promoter Sydney Parkes, Acton and Willesden and Streatham and Mitcham enjoyed a brief existence in London, with Streatham and Mitcham playing at the Mitcham Stadium. At this time, the playing of rugby league was prohibited by the Rugby Football Union and the International Rugby Board.

Streatham and Mitcham were boosted by the signings of overseas stars such as New Zealand full-back George Nepia. In their first season the club attracted an average crowd of over 10,000 fans, with crowds of up to 20,000.

A Sunday Express article on December 15, 1935, headlined "Blow for London club players: more support needed". In 1936, the average crowd dropped to 5,000, when a crowd of 10,000 was more required to break even.

On the day that they raised 10,162 against Rochdale Hornets, they had to cut the wages of the players, despite winning the game. On one home match day in the middle of the season the gate was £97 outgoings for players against £105 outgoings, the major problem was the wage bill. Greyhound racing had been intended to ensure the venture was viable, however, that had its own costs and was struggling in this period too. However, falling crowds and rising costs forced the club to disband by March 1937.

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