1984 - Present : Leamington Era : Articles & Reports
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|Brakes' pre-season had begun in
mid-July with away wins at Coventry Sphinx and Woodford United.
These were followed by seven straight defeats, all to teams in higher
leagues than Leamington - but the concern was would these knock confidence
for the start of the season proper? Before the season begins on the
18th, Leamington announce plans to play Rugby Town in the Jack Mould
Trophy and a bus service to get fans to the New Windmill Ground is
started. On the 17th the Courier reports that David Hucker, upset by
some criticism from fans, is to resign from the club board.
On the field, Leamington start the season with a home draw against Thimblemill, following this up with two home wins, including a 5-0 thrashing of Handsaker - the first three games are played in front of an average of 477 fans. Andrew Dix is added to the playing squad that was announced at the start of the season.
|The first 4 games of September
see Leamington draw 2 and win 2, with the home games again averaging
just under 480 supporters. The Courier reports on the 21st that Paul
Eden (right) has signed for the club - an experienced striker who makes a
big goal scoring impact during his short time at the club.
Leamington then travel to Dudley and win 5-3, before ending the month with another win at the New Windmill in front of a 500+ crowd.
Stuart Hepburn signs for the club, Fabrizio Tosti leaves.
|The first week of the month sees
the announcement that the club are to but floodlights from Halesowen town.
After failed attempts to secure floodlights beforehand everyone hopes that
this time they will be up to standard. With half the costs of
installation being covered by the Football Trust, and agreement for
underground power to be laid to the New Windmill, initial estimates are
that they will be up and running in four months.
After an away league win against Old Hill Town, Leamington then defeat Rugby in the Jack Mould Trophy and a Nuneaton Borough XI in the "Leamington Invitational" first leg - two friendlies that sandwich a 2-1 win in the 2nd round of the President's Cup.
Leamington then end the season by scoring 7 in successive games, once in the league and once in Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup - Paul Eden gets 5 of these 14 goals.
November starts with a win over Premier Division Pershore Town in the Endsleigh Challenge Cup (right). In the week following this win the club confirm they have bought a 250 seats from and turnstiles from Oxford United. With 80 seats placed under cover at the Harbury Lane end it will go some way to meeting Premier Division requirements if the club get promoted.
Leamington then beat, at the time, Division One whipping boys Kenilworth Town 3-1 despite North Bank Banter polls suggesting the score may be bigger! The bad news that someone has stolen the top half of the floodlights from the New Windmill is then confirmed leaving the club floodlightless again.
The last two games of the month are both in cups, with a win over Polesworth in the Birmingham Vase and the first loss of the season against Brooklands Jaguar in the Coventry Evening Telegraph Cup - no disgrace against opposition from a higher league.
Off the field the floodlight situation improves as replacements for the stolen parts are bought from Buckingham Town, and this time stored offsite. The club are also able to announce a £10,000 grant is being obtained from Football Stadia Improvement Fund to help install the lights - the target for switching them on is March 2002 subject to planning persmission. AP, the company that once gave their name to the team, agree to sponsor two of the floodlights for £1000.
A team of supporters make the trek to Oxford United's old Manor ground to retrieve the purchased seats and turnstiles.
Paul Eden leaves the club, Ian Billington goes to Whitnash and rumours are that Harj Dhesi is off to Massey Ferguson - a move that never happens.
|A quiet month see an 8-1 win
over Holly Lane return Leamington to winning ways in the league, the club
progress in the President's Cup with a win over Thimblemill before being
knocked out of the Birmingham Vase by Ounsdale. The weather then
takes its toll as the next two games, including the anticipated Boxing Day
clash with Rugby Town, being postponed. Leamington end the year with
a 3-0 win away to Burtnwood.
Despite the bad weather the crowds at the New Windmill stay average just under 370.
|Off the field there is some
confusion as to whether the floodlights are going to be installed in time
for the end of the season. The club will need to build a housing for
the various electrical generators, and so need to start work on a section
of the club house earlier expected and this takes money earmarked for the
floodlight installation, although the cable laying is helped by the
obtained grant. This is all clarified by a helpful section of the
FOLFC website and the end of season target is still reachable but sensibly
keeping within the clubs' financial means. The club are still
hunting for more "pylon" sponsorship, and also awaiting various
planning permission and light pollution verdicts.
The club also release plans for the clubhouse, to be built behind the Harbury Lane end.
On the field Leamington experience their first league defeat, 2-1 away to Mile Oak Rovers, sandwiched between two wins. They also see their first and last games of the month postponed due to weather - the missed games and lack of floodlights is starting to show in the league as Leamington have a mass of games in hand that they will need to make up later in the season.
Guy Rippon joins Whitnash as Will Payne also parts ways with the club.
|An Endsleigh Challenge Cup game
against Coventry Sphinx is postponed til the end of the month, which
Brakes eventually lose 2-3 though Cov Sphinx claim it to be the hardest
challenge they have had this season - they are in the Premier Division.
The 1st leg of the President's Cup see Brakes get a 0-0 draw away to
Bad news again as the club suffers another break in, losing generators.
Back in the league, Leamington suffer only their second league defeat of the campaign and a 3-0 win over Blackheath. Also, while I'm sent away to France on work so missing a game I was planning on venturing from the south coast for, Leamington beat rivals Rugby Town an astonishing 5-0 at Webb Ellis Road - and improve their chances of the once "uncatchable" run away league leaders.
Andy Gregory joins the club, Kevin Ariss goes to Whitnash.
|Big progress is made in the
quest for floodlight being put up as, on a non-match Saturday, legions of
supporters pull the various cables into place around the pitch - ready for
connection when the lights are finally erected.
It is also announced the Building & Plumbing supplies (BPS) will be the teams new sponsor and their will be a new kit, hopefully in Old Gold and Black, to replace the current, err, Yellow numbers. The club also reveals it hopes to pull in an extra £11,000 in sponsorship alongside this main sponsor deal. Two pre-seasons friendlies are arranged against clubs who are responsible for Leamington's floodlights - Buckingham and Halesowen.
On the pitch Leamington reach the President's Cup final by beating Handsaker 3-2 in the second leg of the semi-final. They manage two further wins in the league, alongside a draw with Knowle who seem to be Brakes' main challengers at the top, alongside Rugby.
Paul Nicholls signs from Wilmcote.
|To catch up with their postponed
games, and inability to host mid-week matches, Leamington face a massive
11 games in 29 days - ending with the ill timed President's Cup Final
(Monday evening, 5th game in 9 days anyone?). After starting with a
2-2 draw against Rugby, a game that Leamington were 2-0 up in and was
also, sadly, marred with some off pitch violence, Brakes keep their title
hopes alive with 9 straight wins - scoring 27 and conceding just 2 -
Nicholls gets 10 of the goals. The aforementioned President's Cup
final turns out to be a dull affair with Rugby, the better of two poor
teams, settling it in the 79th minute.
The 2-1 win over Cadbury during the 9 game winning streak gives Leamington promotion to the Premier Division - only Knowle can catch them but they have no floodlights so cannot go up. The following 4-0 win mathematically seals the second straight promotion for the club.
Off the field its announced that the floodlights should be up and on by May 11th. The part of the clubhouse containing the generators is coming along nicely.
|A 2-0 win over Brownhills Town
keeps Leamington's title hopes alive until at least the penultimate game -
the game also sees the return of Paul Eden as a substitute. A 4-0
win over Cadbury in the next game sees Brakes smash through the 100 goal
barrier in the League, but Rugby's win still keeps the title in their
Paul Eden grabs a hat-trick on May Bank Holiday Monday as Leamington win 4-1 against Polesworth, but a Rugby win against Handsaker secures them the title.
With nothing really to play for the last game ends in a 1-1 draw against Knowle, Timms the scorer.
Hopefull, Saturday May 11th should see the floodlights switched on for the first time. With these working, the undercover seats in place and promotion secured Leamington can look forward to the Midland Combination Premier Division next season. Roll on July 20th and the first pre-season game.
Congratulations to everyone connected to the club for
another great season, and a successive promotion - probably a better start
than anyone dared dream of. Thanks to North Bank Banter, webmasters
and contributors, for keeping me informed for this season - and also the
Friend of Leamington FC site for jogging some of my memories of the above.
Biggest League win: 8-1 v Holly Lane