Boosted by up to 20 new players, of "promising ability", they opted again for the same League and Cup programme for the 1903-04 season, and their faith was rewarded. Alford House were the first to feel the backlash of a season's frustrations, trounced 8-3 in the opening round of the London Junior Cup, with Putney beaten 3-1 in round two.

Beddington Comer, twice victors over the Centrals in Suburban League fixtures the previous campaign, went much the same way in a 4-3 defeat, while Sutton United were finally knocked out in the next round of the London Junior Cup, 4-1 in a second replay.

It was not all plain sailing. Clapham put paid to their London Cup aspirations, 7-1, before the Old Centrals put together a storming end of the season run-in. They clawed their way to the top of the table, level on points with Summerstown, but with a more impressive goals' tally.

That, however, counted for nothing in those days and the Championship went to a sudden death decider. Summerstown won through, 3-1. Old Centrals were not impressed. "In the first instance the referee pointed for a goal kick, then altered his decision and told players to continue," they reported, ''which resulted in the outside left touching the ball into the net. "And in the second, Reynolds (the Old Centrals keeper) charged a player three yards out of the area, but a penalty was awarded instead of a free-kick.

"What price this for a Divisional final?" Familiar arguments these, in defeat, but the Old Centrals still weren't finished with the referee. "No compliments to the League," the secretary retorted afterwards, referring to the nomination of a Mr. Austen as a replacement for the injured Mr. Nash. "It was a pity Nash had an accident the previous day," the secretary concluded.

No title, but at least there were runnersĀ­up medals to be presented at the Wimbledon Hill Hotel end of season dinner. The tide had turned and Old Centrals opted for their first full senior campaign, contesting the London Senior Cup for the first time, as well as the Southern Suburban League and South London Charity Cup.