Football

The History of Buckingham Athletic FC

The Beginning

Buckingham Athletic Football Club (The Swans) was formed in 1933 as Buckingham Juniors, but it was 1936 before a ground was acquired and the Club entered the Brackley & District League.

In 1939 the name changed to Buckingham Athletic as they moved to the North Bucks League but it took another 21 years before they won their first trophy lifting the North Bucks Shield in 1960/61 and were runners-up in the North Bucks League 61/62.
After 3 years of playing in the North Bucks League the club applied to the Hellenic League and were accepted and moved into the Hellenic League Division 1. In their first season, 65/66, they finished a creditable mid-table position but also won the Berks & Bucks FA Junior Cup.

In 68/69 the Swans were promoted to the Hellenic Premier Division after finishing as Division 1 Runners-up.
The club had a successful year in 69/70 as the youth team won the Eli Memorial Shield and the Reserves were promoted finishing Runners-up in the Hellenic Reserve Division 2 and to cap off the season the first team won the Buckingham Senior Cup for the first time.

The 70's through to 80s

In 78/79, after a steady decline of fortunes the Club returned to the North Bucks League and it wasn’t until the mid-eighties that further success was achieved.
This was the start of a successful period for the club, Jerry Coughlan took over as manager and in 83/84 they beat Leighton Old Boys 2-1 to win the NBL Premier Division Shield and the following season, 84/85, they won the NBL Premier Division without losing a game, a tremendous achievement.
At this time the club applied to move to the South Midlands League, and were subsequently placed in Division 1 which was won at the first attempt losing only 3 games throughout the season.

The strength of the side was evident as 6 players were selected to represent the Berks & Bucks representative squad, a great honour for the club.
However success came too quickly and the ground facilities were not ready for promotion to the Premier Division so they had to remain in Division 1.
Micky Anthistle took over and in 88/99 The Swans finish second to Welwyn Garden City on goal difference but once again a last minute hold up on planning permission for the stand stalled the promotion.

The busy 90s

The 90/91 season saw the First Team crowned as SML Division One Champions and completing the double by winning the O’Brien Trophy. This together with all three sides playing through to the quarter-finals stages of the county cup competitions it was an exciting season.

With the stand and railings now in place, promotion to the Premier Division was granted and in 1993 the club took a huge move forward by having floodlights installed. However, despite lots of progress on the facilities the teams failed to make any impact in the league and in 94/95 the Reserves were relegated from the SML Reserves Division One. The next 10 years the club saw a real turn in fortune and despite many changes in management trophies were consistently won through the period with major success coming in the County Cups.

The Jim Gunn period lasted 2 seasons initially taking the helm with Eddie Bryne, Steve Hurd as his assistants. Steve Cole was appointed Reserve team Manager and Gordon Howard Jnr youth team manager. His first season, 95/96 the 1st team reach the Stantonbury Charity Cup Final while the Reserves bounced back and won the Reserve Division Two. The youth team were runners-Up in the U17 Elsevier Oxford Inter Counties Youth League.

The following season, 96/97, Jim Gunn steered the Club to 5th in the SML Premier Division winning three cup competitions along the way. The team retained the Stantonbury Charity Cup, beat Welwyn Garden City in the SML Challenge Trophy and Hoddesdon in the SML Floodlight Cup.

The Reserves won the Division One title and there were appearances in the Reserve Challenge Trophy Final and semi-finals of both the SML Floodlight Cup and Berks & Bucks Junior Cup. The Youth Team also got into the act as they won the Elsevier Oxford Inter Counties Youth League and also reached the final of the Berks & Bucks Youth Cup but had to settle for runners-up.

In season 97/98 unfortunately saw both Jim Gunn and Eddie Byrne leave the club which brought about a tough period of time for the club and they had to make the difficult decision to drop out of the top flight and dropped down to Division 2 for financial reasons.

Stability in the Noughties

Six years went by with little success but with Steve Cole and Keith Walker bringing a level of stability in 02/03 there was a turn in fortune winning the SML Division 2 in convincing fashion, with over 100 goals scored. Success also came in the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup as the club won the trophy for the first time in its history. A cup double was almost achieved as they finished runners up in the League Cup.

The Reserves also did well as they finished 3rd in their league but won the Reserves Challenge Cup.
With Keith Walker stepping down, Steve Cole brought in Micky Lemon as Head Coach to help the first team face their first season back in Division 1, 03/04.
The 1st team finished midway in the league but once again had good success in the cups as they retained the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup and almost done a cup double but lost to Langford in the Division One cup.

Andy O’Dell and Brian Sparkes took over as youth team managers and won the Allied Counties League and were promoted to the Premier League.
But stability once again was lost as Steve Cole and Micky Lemon stepped down at the end of the season and Neal Kidwell took the reins and in his first season, 04/05, finished runners-up in Division 1 but missed out on promotion due to a misunderstandings in ground grading.
However, the biggest achievement was for the club to reach the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup final for the 3rd year in succession but unfortunately could not bring the trophy home.

The youth team reached the final of the Berks & Bucks Youth Cup but also had to settle for runners-up.
Since 2005/06 a huge amount of work has taken place to upgrade the clubhouse and football facilities but the amount of success on the field has been sparse.
Managers have come and gone over the last 10 years Andy O’Dell, Colin Callingham, Paul Bowley and Jim Gunn have all tried to bring stability to the club but unfortunately it has only been mid table finishes at best.

Developing the club

However, the 2010-11 season did give the club some silverware with the reserve team winning the Berks & Bucks Junior Cup Final. The Final was played at Binfield FC’s ground against Iver FC from the Berkshire League and, in the end, one goal settled it, a header from Lewis Higgs. They also managed a creditable fourth finish in the League so it was a very good season for Andy O’Dell’s team.

In 2012-13 Saw Damien Wiffin take over as manager and finish 11th, Matt Ogle took the reserves to 6th in the league. The following season the 1st team reached the final of the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup for the first time in nearly 40 years but were beaten by Banbury in a close game.

2014-15 despite a disappointing league campaign Athletic once again reached the final of the Buckingham Senior Charity Cup but went one better by winning the trophy for the first time since 1972, beating Brackley and Banbury along the way beating Olney Town 6-2 in the final.