From about 1880 the Taylor Estate, the owners of the Moseley Hall estate, had taken advantage of the demand for housing in Moseley by making roads and letting land for building and for recreational purposes. Moseley Football Club were still looking for a permanent ground and they were given the opportunity to lease some of the estate. This opportunity was seized and a rental of £25 per annum was agreed for what became The Reddings.
The name The Reddings was probably derived from the word ridings, which referred to an area of ground that had been cleared for cultivation and two areas named Upper and Lower Riddings, near the site of The Reddings are shown on the 1840 tithe map of Moseley.
The new ground lay between Moor Green Lane and Moseley Hall and the club may have taken possession of it in 1882 presumably to ready it for use at the start of the following season. At this time Reddings Road did not exist and the ground was entered from the main Alcester Road over a stile. Some of the more affluent spectators would arrive for games in four-wheelers or hansom cabs and then presumably had to clamber over the stile to gain access to The Reddings!
In 1883 the pitch ran parallel to what is now Reddings Road and sloped away near one of the corner flags, a landscape that would later be put to good use by some of the hefty Moseley packs. The sandy sub-soil meant that although the surface of the ground could get very wet it was quick drying.
Backing onto Moor Green Lane there was a ‘grand’ stand, which held approximately 50 people and which had room for coats underneath which seems a strange facility to provide for a game that was played predominantly during the winter months. In its match report of the first game The Leicester Daily Mercury remarked that the ground ‘was in capital condition’ and that ‘a lot of expense’ had been incurred in laying it out. Despite this no dressing rooms had been provided at the new ground and changing accommodation was provided at the Trafalgar Hotel, in Woodbridge Road.
Moseley’s first game at The Reddings took place on 6th October 1883 when Leicester were the visitors.
In the past there has been confusion over the date of this first game at The Reddings, some writers giving the date of the match as 6th October 1880. However, The Birmingham Daily Post, in its issue for 8th October 1883, clearly stated that ‘the popular Moseley Club commenced their season on Saturday last at their new ground, The Reddings,’ while The Leicester Daily Mercury, on the same day, referred to ‘the New Ground.’
Furthermore 6th October 1880 was a Wednesday, an unlikely day for such an important game, while the Leicester club did not play the first match following its foundation until 23rd October 1880, also against Moseley which, no doubt, added to the confusion.
The Moseley team that played in this historic game was as follows: -
R. Byrne; A. Smith (captain), H.V. Hasluck, G. Fowler; P. Lea, F. Reeve; K. Wilson, F. Fowler, W. Byrne, C.N. Milner, Radclyffe, Ward, Mitchell, Elliott and Nevins.
Moseley won the game convincingly by a score of three goals and two tries to nil. The home pack showed several changes from previous seasons due to non-availabilities while the backs, on the other hand, were unchanged and it was the Moseley passing that led to Leicester’s downfall.
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