FA Vase 2010

History of Buckingham Athletic Football Club...

The club was formed in 1933 as Buckingham Juniors, but it was 1936 before a ground was acquired and the club entered the Brackley and District League.   The ground, incidentally, was known as "Timm's Meadow", better known today as Stratford Fields, and in 1939 saw the name change to Buckingham Athletic.

It was 1960/1 before the first trophy was won, when the club lifted the North Bucks League Shield with a 4-0 victory over Tickford Sports.   1961/2 found the club in contention for league honours but as before they had to be content with runners-up spot to Olney Town.

In 1965 the club were accepted into Division 1 of the Hellenic League and finished in a creditable mid-table position.   The highlight of the season was winning the Berks and Bucks Junior Cup with a 4-1 win over Waltham St Lawrence.

1968/9 saw the club promoted to the Premier Division of the Hellenic League after finishing runners-up to Oxford City Reserves in Division 1.   1969/70 saw another successful season for the club when they won the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup, beating Kings Sutton 6-1.   The reserves gained runners-up spot in the Hellenic League Reserves Division 2 and were promoted.   Finally not to be forgotten, the Youth Team took the Eli Old Memorial Shield with a 4-1 win over Moulton Old Boy.

Although in 1970/1 Athletic were given Senior status this was short lived, after a steady decline of fortunes the award was relinquished, and we returned to the North Bucks League in 1978/9.

It was 1984 before further success was achieved, when Leighton Old Boys were defeated 2-1 in the NBL Premier Division Shield.

Season 1984/5 was even more rewarding, with the 1 st team taking the NBL Premier Division Championship without losing a game.   In 1985 the club were then allowed to move to the South Midlands League.   Continuing the successful run, Division 1 of the SML was duly won at the first attempt.   However, success in the league had come too quickly and ground facilities were not ready for promotion to the Premier Division.

1988/9 again found the club in a promotion position only losing the Championship on goal difference to Welwyn Garden City.   Again, a last minute hold up on planning permission for the stand stalled their promotion.

The Youth team however went one better and became Champions of the Oxfordshire Youth League.

1990/1 must rank as one of the best seasons in the club history.   The 1 st team were Champions of Division 1 and completed the double by winning the O'Brien Trophy with an extra time win over Ashcroft.   In the county cup competitions, all three teams played through to the quarter final stages.   With the stand and railings in place, promotion to the Premier Division was granted.

1993 saw the installation of the floodlights but over the following seasons the 1st team failed to make any impact on the league and in the 1994/5 season the Reserves were relegated from the Reserve Section Division 1. More success came over the next two seasons in which there was a change in managership. During the 1995/96 season Jim Gunn took over the helm bringing in his own team of Eddie Byrne and Steve Hurd. Steve Cole remained manager of the Reserves and Gordon Howard with the Youth Team.

Jim's first season saw the 1st team reach the final of the Stantonbury Charity Cup, and beat Newport Pagnell 2-1. The Reserves also had a tremendous season bouncing back winning Division 2 some 12 points ahead of second place Walden Rangers. The Youth team also had a good season finishing runners-up in the Under 17 Elsevier Oxford Inter Counties Youth League.

The following season Jim Gunn steered his team to fifth position in the Premier League but the major success came in the cup competition reaching the final stages of three competitions. In the final of the Challenge Trophy, they beat Welwyn Garden City 2-1 on aggregate. They then convincingly beat Harpenden town 5-0 in the final of the South Midlands Floodlight Trophy beating Barton Rovers and Potton United along the way. Finally, they won the Stantonbury Charity Cup beating Emberton 1-0.

The reserves also had a great season winning the Reserve Division 1 championship and reaching the final of the Challenge Trophy going down 4-1 on aggregate to Toddington Rovers.   They also had a fine run in the two other cup competitions reaching the semi finals of both the South Midlands Floodlight Cup and the Berks and Bucks Intermediate Cup.   Unfortunately they lost both, 2-0 to Hoddesdon Town and 1-0 to Stocklake Sports and Social respectively. The Youth team also had success winning the Under 18 Elsevier Oxford Inter Counties Youth League and also reaching the Final of the Berks and Bucks A Youth Cup, Unfortunately they lost 6-2 to Abingdon Town.   Season 1997/98 saw the break up of that successful management team when both Jim Gunn and Steve Cole left the club.  

Steve Hurd continued as first team manger along with Zane Flanaghan in the following season but was unable to repeat the success of the previous year.   The end of the 1998/9 season saw the departure of Hurd and Flanaghan and the club made the difficult decision of dropping out of the top-flight and returning to SML Division 2 for financial reasons.   Gordon Howard Jnr and Kieron O'Callaghan maintained the club in a top 6 position for the following couple of seasons with Don Watts doing likewise for the reserves.

Pete Riches took over first team control for the 2001/2 season.   However, this was short-lived as due to a run of poor results he   was sacked halfway through the season with the club languishing in the bottom three of Division 2.   This led to the return of Steve Cole as first team manager and he managed to stabilise the team and they eventually finished in midtable.   The 2002/3 season must go down as one of the clubs most successful to date.   The SML Division 2 Championship was won in convincing fashion, with over a hundred goals being scored in the process.   This was followed by bringing the Berks and Bucks Intermediate Cup to Stratford Fields for the first time in the clubs history after beating Highmoor Ibis 3-0 in the final.   They were also finalist in the League Cup.   The Reserves also had a successful season.   Run by Kieron O'Callaghan, Steve Peddar and Bryn Butler they finished third in the league, going 16 games without losing and also won the Reserves League Cup in the most dramatic circumstances.   Already 2-0 down from the away leg against London Colney, they found themselves 3-0 behind at half time after conceding an early goal.   The second half led to an amazing fight back with the Reserves finally running out 4-3 winners in one of the most dramatic cup ties to be played at Stratford Fields.  

At then end of the season Keith Walker left for Hayward United with Steve Cole bringing in Micky Lemon as head coach to help the team develop in their first season back in SML Division 1.

Even with the step up a division the first team continued to be successful in 2003/4.   If it wasn't for a mid-season slump promotion to the premier would have been theirs but this was narrowly missed out by 2 points finishing 5 th .   However, success in the cups continued with The Ath becoming one of the very few sides to defend the Berks and Bucks Intermediate cup beating Wraysbury in the final 3-2.   Again they also reached the League cup final as well.   Due to work commitments Steve Cole stepped down as first team manager to become director of football at Stratford Fields.   Neal Kidwell took over the reins.   Success also spread throughout the club.   The reserves, again led by Kieron O'Callaghan, Steve Peddar and Bryn Butler, won the SML reserve division 2 title dropping just 2 points in the whole season.   They finished the season as the only unbeaten side in the area, a feat not likely to be repeated.   The youth team also won the Allied Counties North Division under the management of Andy O'Dell.   With a strong set of players throughout the club The Ath will be looking to put a strong challenge this year to return back to the premier division.