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  May 21st 1988 saw the final match ever to be played at the Windmill Ground, Tachbrook Road, before the developers moved in.  

The last competitive match had taken place a few weeks earlier on 16th April, vs Walsall Wood - the final score 2-2.  Duncan Gardner and Tony Graham were Brakes' scorers.

This final match was between teams selected by former managers Graham Allner and Jimmy Knox - the cover of the matchday programme is to the left.

The article below is taken from the Leamington Spa Courier, May 27th, 1988.  A copy of the article as it appeared can also be viewed by clicking here (be warned, its big, and may take a while to load depending on connection speed)



LAST FARWELL - The date will be indelible

Saturday, May 21, 1988.  A significant date in Leamington's proud sporting history.  And a date which will be marked indelibly on the town's conscience for a long, long time to come.

Leamington Football Club, for so long a prominent name on the national non-league front, bade a nostalgic farewell to its Windmill Ground, and to football in the town's name as well, at least for the forseeable future.

The day was billed as a cross between a celebration and a wake.  So it proved.  While a sentimental reunion of over 60 past Tachbrook Road favourites, it also generated much sadness and anger, that such a magnificent past was being swept away by the greed of the developers.

Jimmy Knox (left) and Graham Allner, the two most notable managers in Brakes history, who returned to field the Windmill Ground's last two teams on Saturday.  Jim took Brakes into the Alliance Premier League - the Football Leagues "fifth division" - as founder members during his outstanding eight Windmill seasons of the super 1970s.  Graham's 1982/83 side were brilliant Southern League champions - and, but for the savage blows which started to rain down on the club at that time, he would almost certainly have stayed on to turn an outstanding team into a great one.  It is significant that both men have, since leaving the Windmill, taken their present clubs to Wembley.  Knox, VS Rugby in the FA Vase, Allner, Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Trophy.

Among the host of ex Brakes who were there at the death, were two from a team of 1932.  George Perkins and Les Sharp hadn't seen each other for over 50 years!  Other names from the past included Gordon Hancocks, Charlie Bishop, Ernie Ward, Ken Hawker, Syd Enstone, Geoff Coleman, Bill Rowston, Peter Cooper and Reg Allen.

Roger Brown, now manager of Fourth Division Colchester United, drove from from Essex to play;  Larry Percival now living in Devon took the trouble to make the long journey; Vince O'Keefe, the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, was there, despite being unable to play because of a recent broken leg.

They showed the depth of feeling that so many retained for the Windmill after leaving the club.

The match itself, between two sides selected by already legendary Leamington managers of yore, Jimmy Know and Graham Allner, saw Knoxs's old 'uns beat Allner's team 3-1.  A balding Ivor Talbot, the always dangerous Duncan Gardener, and second half sub Keith Jones scored the three goals.  Cliff Campbell, a Brakes' character in his time, hit the consolation for Allner's lads.

Players such as Alan Jones and Roger Brown showed they had lost none of their bite.  Ray Holmes, a goalscoring hero in his day - the 1960s - looked almost as sleek now, as when he was hammering hat-tricks galore to delight the frenzied Town End faithful.

Many thousands of supporters have stood on the terraces, and sat at the Windmill Ground over the years.  Ordinary, honest Leamingtonians, seeking the simple pleasures of a simple game.  Never again.  Let those responsible be for ever condemned.

Memories of the past were everywhere.  Programmes and pictures from all eras embellished the clubhouse.  A pre-match parade of players, and Ted Forde's expertly handled half-time managerial interviews, added to the occasion.

The poignancy of the day, and the sadness which all the smiles and genuine bonhomie could not hide, were vividly expressed when 'Auld Lang Syne' was sung at the end of the match.

The wake did continue.  A buffet and social evening followed in the the AP ballroom.  Ted Forde, a prime organiser of the farewell, together with Mike Berry, paid tribute to chairman Mick Brady, his fellow directors and committee, and to the enduring supporters, for their unstinting efforts over the past five years, to find a solution to the demise.

The Windmill Ground holds so many fond memories for so many players and watchers, whether as a venue for the areas top semi-professional football, or as the stage for Sunday league cup finals.  That it is to be demolished in favour of development is beyond comprehension, is tragic ... is criminal.

Three score men and true, all with a common bond.  Football in the name of Leamington.  The span between the matched they played is near three score years.  All contributed to the club's proud tradition, and a town's sporting heritage.  They came to the Windmill Ground last Saturday to pay their last respects to an arena which they graced in turn, and which gave back to them, the privilege of being associated with a rather special football club.  To a man they would rather not have been there if it meant preventing the barbarity of Windmill destruction.