Kings Langley F.C.

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Kings Langley
160px
Full name Kings Langley Football Club
Nickname(s) Kings
Founded 1886
Ground Gaywood Park
Kings Langley
Ground Capacity 1,000
Chairman Derry Edgar
Manager Paul Hughes and Ritchie Hanlon
League Southern Football League
Division One Central
2014–15 Spartan South Midlands League
Premier Division, 1st (promoted)

Kings Langley F.C. is a football club based in Kings Langley, near Hemel Hempstead, England. After spending the majority of their history in the Herts County League, they joined the Spartan South Midlands League in 2001, and are currently members of the Southern League Division One Central following a second consecutive promotion in 2015.

History

Kings Langley Football Club is one of the oldest in the county, having been formed in 1886, with the village doctor, Frederick Fisher as its first Chairman. Founder members of the West Herts League in the 1891–92 season, Kings Langley also won the St. Mary’s Cup in front of 3,500 people at the Watford Recreation Ground in the same season, retaining it the next year and losing the final on a replay the following year. Early pitches were at Groomes Meadow, Blackwell Meadow and Kings Langley Common and although it has been stated that the Club did not move to Home Park until 1913, the pitch was certainly hosting a 1998–99 match against Hemel Hempstead Town in front of 300 spectators.

After slipping down the divisions, Kings Langley’s first league honour came in 1911–12, winning the Division 3 title, followed by the Division 2 Championship in 1919–20. The following two seasons saw an uncomfortable time in the Herts County League, before returning to the West Herts Division 1 in 1922–23. A similar drop down the divisions led to the Club folding in February 1930, only to be reformed four months later, with a Division 2 Championship and Webster Cup triumph at the end of the first season. The return to the top flight lasted only two seasons, but two years later Kings Langley topped Division 2 for their fourth divisional title.

1934 saw a new pavilion built on Home Park and this was opened by the future F.I.F.A. president, Sir Stanley Rous, who kept a close interest with his local club. The Herts County League was then reformed, but Langley took the radical step of joining the Southern Olympian League, taking the second and first division titles in successive years and spending two seasons in the Premier until the outbreak of war.

A 1939 application to play in the F A Cup was accepted in the post of 1945, leaving Kings Langley to raise a side in four weeks! Amazingly, the Preliminary round was negotiated before losing in the first Qualifying round. Missing the first season, Kings were back in the Herts County League, gaining promotion from Division Two in 1946–47. In the five seasons that followed, the First Division title was won twice, runners up spot achieved twice and the St. Mary’s Cup won after a 58-year gap. Kings Langley regularly competed in the F A Amateur Cup and in September 1949 entertained the famous amateurs of Corinthian Casuals. Although losing 1–3, the match provided plenty of local interest with over 500 watching the game.

Three successful seasons in the Parthenon League followed, but travelling expenses were high, so it was back to the Herts County League in 1955–56 for a tenure that would last for the next 45 years. Gradual improvement led to back to back Premier League titles in 1965–66 and 1966–67, plus a Herts Charity Shield triumph (66–67) and the Aubrey Cup in 1967–68. This was probably the ‘golden period in the club’s history and although the 1971–72 season saw the St. Mary’s Cup won again, relegation followed a year later. Three seasons in Division One culminated with promotion as champions, the forerunner of two seasons up, two seasons down, before another promotion was overshadowed by the loss of Home Park to redevelopment in 1980. A nomadic existence followed, playing at Oxhey, Rolls Royce and Buncefield Lane and finally the Leavesden hospital ground, until the first weekend of March 1997 saw a dream finally realised as Kings Langley’s senior and junior teams took up the residence of their new ground at Hempstead Road under the banner of the Associated Football Clubs of Kings Langley.

The reformation of Kings Langley Youth Football Club in 1989 after a 19-year absence was to play its part, as both junior and senior supporters combined to launch a project of obtaining the Hempstead Road land, laying two pitches and building a pavilion. Sponsors included the National Lottery, Herts. F A, Dacorum Borough Council, Kings Langley Parish Council and the club’s great benefactor, Graham Gaywood, who died soon after the dream was realised. The ground is named Gaywood Park as a tribute to someone who made it all possible.

However, the new home did not bring an immediate turnabout in results and despite winning the Rickmansworth Charity Cup, Langley were involved in relegation battles for the next two seasons. Form improved and as the first season of a new century ended, a top four finish was achieved. This was followed by the heartbreak of losing the title race on goal difference in 2000–01 and the decision was taken that the time was right to apply for a higher level of football. Promotion was accepted to the Spartan South Midlands League at Division One level and while the club held its own with three mid table finishes, the continuing upgrading of ground requirements by the League at this level saw relegation to Division Two in 2003–04.

The first season in the lower tier was disappointing and Steve Heath was appointed manager for the next campaign. A sixth place was followed by the runners up spot the next season, but ground standards were still an issue and promotion was denied. 2007–08 saw magnificent treble success of League, Division 2 Cup and the retention of the Herts Intermediate Cup This included a club record run of 47 consecutive matches unbeaten in all competitions between 15–09–07 and 15–10–08. Promotion was granted on the basis of floodlights being in operation by late March 2009, but the slow turning wheels of the Local Planning system meant that this deadline was missed by a matter of weeks. Although seating improvements had been made in anticipation of Premier status, this was not considered and the club remained in Division One. The hard work of Andy Mackness and Derry Edgar means that the facilities should now accord with current standards for Step 5 in the pyramid, but by the start of the 2009–10 season, Steve Heath had moved on. He was succeeded by the experienced Paul Hobbs, who took a new young side to an encouraging 7th placed finish, as well as the semi finals of the Herts F A Senior Centenary Cup and quarter finals of the Challenge Trophy and Division One Cup. 2010–11 saw his emerging side further improve to third place and narrowly miss promotion, as the Club celebrated its 125th anniversary.

In 2011–12 the Club took fourth place in Division 1 and won the Herts Senior Centenary Trophy for the first time, as well as being Herts Charity Shield & Division One Cup runners up. Paul Hobbs retired at the end of the season and Ritchie Hanlon & Paul Hughes were appointed Joint Managers. In 2012–13 the Club finished sixth in Division 1, but were Winners of the League Division 1 Cup In 2013–14 the Club achieved promotion to the Premier Division by finishing runners-up. They also won the Division One Cup for the second year running. The Youth section continues to flourish and now boasts some seventeen teams ranging from mixed gender teams as young as six up to under-18 level, together with a Ladies Football team.

The club has now been granted FA Charter status and looks to further improve its facilities as well as to progress up the football pyramid. In the 2013–14 season, Kings Langley finished as runners up to champions Sun Postal Sports in Division One, earning promotion for the first time ever to the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division.

Kings Langley won the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division at the first attempt in 2015, earning back to back league promotions following their 2nd placed finish in Division One in 2014, sealing promotion to Step 8 for the first time in the club's history. Kings Langley will play in the Southern League Division One Central following their promotion in 2015.

Honours

  • Hertfordshire F A SENIOR CENTENARY TROPHY
    • Winners 2011–12
  • Hertfordshire F A CHARITY SHIELD
    • Winners 1966–67
  • Hertfordshire F A INTERMEDIATE CUP
    • Winners 2006–07
    • Winners 2007–08
  • Hertfordshire County League
    • Champions 1949–50
    • Champions 1951–52
    • Champions 1965–66
    • Champions 1966–67
    • Division One Champions 1975–76
  • West Herts League
    • Division Two Champions 1919–20
    • Division Two Champions 1930–31
    • Division Two Champions 1934–35
    • Division Three Champions 1911–12
  • Southern Olympian League
    • Division One Champions 1936–37
  • St MARY'S CUP
    • Winners 1891–92
    • Winners 1892–93
    • Winners 1950–51
    • Winners 1971–72
  • AUBREY CUP
    • Winners 1967–68
  • APSLEY SENIOR CUP
    • Winners 1952–53
    • Winners 1960–61
    • Winners 1976–77
  • WEBSTER CUP
    • Winners 1930–31
  • RICKMANSWORTH CHARITY CUP
    • Winners 1997–98
  • WATFORD HOSPITAL CHARITY SHIELD
    • Winners 1934–35
  • CHILTERN VILLAGES CUP
    • Winners 1986–87
    • Winners 1988–89

Records

  • FA Vase
    • Second Qualifying Round 2011–12

References

  1. Kings Langley at the Football Club History Database

External links

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