YOUNG Stourbridge student Ben Bullock is absolutely determined to solve the (almost) 150-year-old mystery of the ‘Yeltz’ – even if he is having to do it from Indiana in the USA.

But he does have the help of Matt Ponter, whose job at Hereford is a tad closer than on the other side of the Atlantic.

Ben and Matt produced their book The Yeltzmen in the summer, a history of Halesowen Football Club and a work of love for the two Yeltz fans.

But while finishing it was a marvellous achievement for the pair – and at more than 200 copies it’s sold well so far – it raised a nagging question.

As they researched they grew more and more convinced that the traditional story of how and when the club was formed back in the 19th century was wrong.

It’s not just an arcane question, either, as the club is due to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023. Or is it?

The normally accepted story is that the Yeltz was a club formed out of the old James Grove Button Factory, and was first established in 1873.

But the more they read the more doubts they had. If anything the evidence – weak though it is – pointed to the Yeltz emerging from a St John’s Church team, and forming four years later in 1877.

Indeed, there are reports of a 50th anniversary in 1927 – not 1923.

Over Christmas, while back home in Stourbridge from university in Indiana, Ben, a 20-year-old history student, held a virtual question and answer session attended by about 20 other fans who zoomed in to discuss what they knew of the club’s history.

An interesting new line of research came up when someone suggested a close link between the soccer and cricket clubs in the early days. Could the mystery be solved in the cricket archives?

Ben and Matt, a 23-year-old sports journalist now working at Hereford Football Club, would love to find out to be able to give the club’s owners a definitive date and ensure any 150th anniversary celebrations are in the right year!

Can you shed any light on mystery of The Yeltz for the historian and journalist who just need to know?

To buy your copy of Yeltzmen go to

If you can shed light, email them at or