strictly the same club, the origins of today's Leamington FC can be traced
back to 1891 when records record a
"newly formed Leamington Association Football Club" winning
their first game 1-0 against Queen's college Birmingham in late September,
1891. This club later renamed itself, becoming Leamington Town FC.
Until 1913 the club moved home several times, starting at the Tachbrook
Road ground, with brief stints at Shrubland Hall and Old Warwick Road,
before settling back at Tachbrook Road, now renamed as "The
Windmill" due to the site previously being home to a
During these years the club also played in several different leagues,
starting in the Coventry & District League (1896) moving to the
Birmingham Junior League (1898) and the Coventry & North Warwickshire
League (1905). The move back to The Windmill coincided with a
Birmingham Junior Cup triumph and the Coventry & North Warwickshire
League Division One title.
After a break during the First World War the club returned to action in
the league and won the Birmingham Junior Cup for a second time in 1921,
joining the Birmingham Combination the same year. By 1926 they
achieved the Birmingham Combination title.
Due to financial problems the club was voluntarily wound up in 1937 with
the Windmill being sold to Coventry City to be used by their 'A' team.
In 1937 local company "The
Lockheed" started a works team, playing in local leagues - the team
disbanded for the war but then re-formed in 1943. The company then
bough the Windmill back from Coventry City and Lockheed Leamington
was formed based on the works team, playing at the reclaimed ground - the
ground being the only really link to the earlier Leamington Town side.
The backing of Lockheed, a car part
manufacturer, gave rise to the nickname "The Brakes". By 1949
the club became
semi-professional, rejoining the Birmingham Combination. The
Birmingham Senior cup was won in 1951, 56 and 61 followed by consecutive
Birmingham and District League Championships in 1962 and 1963.
Joining of the Midland Counties League in 1963 was swiftly followed by the
League Championship in 1965. The same year that floodlights were
installed at the Windmill. Two more Birmingham Senior Cup triumphs
in 1970 and 1972 sandwiched the club's arrival in the Southern League
Division One North.
In line with Lockheed's name change, the club became AP Leamington FC in
1973. 1974 saw a Southern League Cup triumph and Southern League
Champions Cup win backed up with the clubs first appearance in the 1st
round proper of the FA Cup - resulting in a 2-1 loss to Southend at home.
In 1979, after several more appearances in the early stages of the FA Cup,
the club became a founder member of the Alliance Premier League (now the
Conference) - the year was also marked by a 9-0 defeat in the FA Cup 1st
round to Tranmere.
After 3 years in the Alliance Premier, including a 16th place in 1981
which is the highest league finish to date for the club, relegation took
them back to the Southern League Premier Division in 1982. The club
bounced back from the misery of relegation to take the Premier Division
title in the 1982/83 season, a position which by rights should have seen
them back in the Alliance Premier League.
But the clubs future starts to turn bleak as first their promotion is
denied due to the Windmill being substandard (Kidderminster Harriers take
their place). AP then announce plans to sell the ground. Three
months into the 1983/84 season, despite a place in the 1st round of the FA
Cup secured, manager Graham Allner resigns to manage Kidderminster,
followed by several key players. During the 1983/84 season a new
company, Leamington Football Club, is formed to take over and
preserve the football club into a new era and the club drops its
"AP" moniker. This new clubs attempts, and fails, to buy
the Windmill Ground - losing out to a property developer. The
developer gives the club a stay of execution to carry on playing at the
The club win the Southern League Cup
and Southern League Champions cup by season end 1984 - the only club to
hold all three Southern League trophies at once - and also reach the
quarter finals of the FA Trophy before crashing 6-1 to Bangor. Off
the field the search to find a new home is getting nowhere. Plans to
move to the Edmonscote Athletics stadium are thwarted, along with plans to
build a new ground on a new site, due to a lack of support from the local
council and local residents.
As the uncertainty about the club and lack of ground grows they are
relegated to the Southern League Midland Division, before reverting
back to an amateur side in 1987. April 1988 sees the last match
played at The Windmill before the club goes into "hibernation".
Land in Harbury Lane is bought in 1990, with pitches starting to be built
in 1993, but it is 1999 before the new ground is officially named
"The New Windmill", and 2000 before the team starts playing
again in the Midland Combination Division 2.
The inaugral season after the
hibernation saw the team take the Midland Combination Division 2
championship, followed swiftly the next season by promotion to the Midland
Combination Premier Division. After two successive top 2 finishes in
the Premier division 2004/05 saw them win the Midland Combination Premier
Division giving them promotion to the Midland Football Alliance.
**Adapted from a Leamington Spa
Courier article and the Leamington FC matchday leaflet