Cheshunt Sports and Leisure LTD. Company registration: 07532736, VAT Number: 117532823.
Good Evening and welcome to Cheshunt Stadium. We would particularly like to welcome the players, officials and supporters of Hemel Hempstead Town who, as chance would have it are making their first visit to Theobalds Lane since we met in the Herts County Cup two years ago. That was at the semi final stage with Hemel coming away with a 1-0 win. However it was our last home game before the first lockdown and the last football we would see for several months. Unfortunately Hemel’s final was never actually played.
Enjoy the game
Please note Cheshunt FC operates a No Dogs policy. (except Assistance Dogs)
You are responsible for your own children on the site, unless they are participating in an organised event at the site with qualified staff.
Welcome everyone to Theobalds Lane for tonight’s Herts Senior Cup match. Tonight I extend my welcome to Dave Boggins and the directors and officials of Hemel Hempstead Town FC.
At the time of writing it’s transfer deadline day, which brings with it the excitement and anticipation of who your club will sign along with the eye watering numbers involved. And it’s the numbers involved that always catch my eye, my primary question being how a club can sustain the fees and wages?! The truth is, according to a recent report, many top flight clubs can’t.
At our level of the game the politics are the same, there’s just a lot less zero’s at the end of the numbers! My focus is, and always has been, on the long term sustainability of the club. All profits are reinvested back into the club, with some money set aside for the playing budget. It’s a policy that has helped transform the club over the last few years, coupled with some success along the way and hopefully a lot more to come.
We are always looking to strengthen off the field too. One new signing I’m pleased to report on this front is Paul Forsey, who joins our committee. Paul is a great addition who will serve the club well over the coming years.
If you would like to volunteer for the club please let me or any of the club representatives know.
Firstly I’d like to welcome everyone who has travelled down from Hemel and also our match officials and hope they enjoy the game and the ambers hospitality.
It’s been a tough 2 weeks. That’s what football does!! 1 defeat in 19 smash St Albans to progress into the last 16 of the trophy and you think you’ve cracked it.
Truly shocking performances against Haringey, Horsham and Bowers saw us go from hero to zero.
We’ve dropped down the league but Saturdays performance at Carshalton was encouraging and gave room to be optimistic about getting on another run in the back end of the season.
We were the better side on Saturday but as is often the case things don’t go for you when you’re in the kind of run we’re in.
Tonight gives the opportunity to use our first team squad to its full extent, The squad is strong and for the first time this season everyone is available which also gives room for optimism in the run in.
The chance of a semi final is the goal tonight. I hope it’s an entertaining game. It’s sure to be tough but the boys will be up for it.
Enjoy the game
CHESHUNT 4-1 WOOTON BLUE CROSS
FA Vase Preliminary Round Replay
Tuesday 11th October 1988
Tonight we look back 33 years to another midweek cup tie when we met United Counties league side Wooton Blue Cross in an FA Vase preliminary round replay at a cold and wet Cheshunt Stadium.
The previous Saturday in Bedfordshire had seen Paul Davis put us into the lead only for the home side to equalise and send the game into extra time. They then took the lead and it was only thanks to a Micky Johns goal late in the second period of extra time that the Ambers were able to force the replay.
After 32 minutes Wooton’s Roland Smith put the ball past Ian Rogers with a superb 25-yard strike to take the lead. It wasn’t until the second half that Andy Cook, then enjoying his second spell at Theobalds Lane, levelled the score after firing in an Andy Prutton cross.
The tie again went into extra time and, three minutes into the second period, Cook struck again when, according to the Cheshunt & Waltham Telegraph, a ‘speculative 30-yard effort flew off the wet turf under the keeper’. (For a more detailed version of how that goal went in, find Andy Cook in the bar at half time). A minute later Tony Benjamin set up Johns for a clinical finish from the edge of the penalty area. In the dying seconds of the game Johns hit a ‘long range screamer’ to make the scoreline a flattering 4-1 win for the Ambers.
Barton Rovers were then dispatched 2-0 in the 1st round, followed by Stansted (1-0) in the second before the Ambers went out to Bury Town 1-3 just before Christmas. By then Manager Phil Maybury had brought Dave Robotham back to the heart of the defence after an unsuccessful move to Hendon but even his presence was not enough to force Cheshunt into a position of being genuine promotion contenders, eventually finishing sixth. It was a frustrating time at the Club, with the pressure on the Manager and players to return to the Isthmian league being a constant mantra in the press and programmes at the time. Looking at some other sides in the London Spartan league at the time (Crown & Manor, Southgate Olympic, Southwark Borough – now all defunct) it was not surprising that there was a mood at Club that we shouldn’t be playing the likes of these sides, though a few other Club’s probably felt the same way (Edgware Town – now sadly also folded – and Northwood.
Phil Maybury would have one more crack at promotion the following season, with Cheshunt finishing fourth, before calling it a day.
A treat for all the budding Stattos out there, provided you gloss over the fact the Ambers havent actually won this trophy yet despite making the final nine times!
Cheshunt in the Herts Senior Cup
|1946-1947||R1||Bishops Stortford||A||4-2||Gleave 2, Broadway, Freeman.|
|R2||Rickmansworth Town||A||3-1||Gleave 2, Pointing.|
|Replay||A||6-5||Gleave 4, Jones 2.|
|R3||St Albans City||A||2-5||??|
|1947-1948||R1||Welwyn Garden City||H||3-1||Gleave 3.|
|R2||Hemel Hempstead||H||3-1||Sapsford 2, Carter.|
|Replay||H||5-1||Carter 2, Ault, Harper, Sapsford.|
|R4||Bishops Stortford||A||2-1||Ault 2.|
|SF||St Albans City||A||2-6||Carter,Sapsford.|
|1948-1949||R3||De Havilland||H||3-1||Ault, Jones, Sapsford.|
|SF||Hitchin Town||A||4-1||Ainsworth, Cowie, Sapsford, Spiller.|
|SF||Bishops Stortford||A||2-1||Ferguson 2.|
|1950-1951||?||St Albans City||H||1-3||Walker.|
|1952-1953||R1||Baldock Town||A||3-0||Bishop 2, Whymark.|
|R2||Leavesden||A||3-0||Whittaker 2, Wickett.|
|1953-1954||?||Bishops Stortford||A||4-5||Devlin, Jones, Scott, Sparks.|
|1954-1955||R2||Tottenham Hotspur A||H||6-1||Evans 3, Howard 2, Jones.|
|1956-1957||R2||Baldock Town||H||2-0||Saunders, Wright.|
|R3||Hitchin Town||A||2-4||Brace, Gacki.|
|1957-1958||R1||Baldock Town||A||2-3||Attridge, Ferguson.|
|1958-1959||R1||Rickmansworth Town||H||3-1||House, Leach, White.|
|1961-1962||R2||Stevenage Town||A||2-1||Deamer, Porter.|
|R3||St Albans City||A||2-4||Popple, Taylor.|
|1962-1963||R2||Royston Town||A||8-0||D’Arcy 4, Hill 2, Roebuck 2.|
|R3||Letchworth Town||H||2-1||Daysh 2.|
|R4||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||1-0||RF Hill.|
|SF||Hertford Town||H||2-3||Allen, Roebuck.|
|1963-1964||R2||Hatfield Town||A||4-1||Baker 3, Hill.|
|R3||Letchworth Town||H||2-1||Roebuck, Yell.|
|1965-1966||R3||Baldock Town||A||2-1||Kitchener, Skeggs.|
|R4||Letchworth Town||H||2-1||Gray, Kitchener.|
|SF||Hemel Hempstead Town||A||2-3||Gray, Scales.|
|1968-1969||R3||Harpenden Town||A||3-0||Sedgwick 3.|
|R4||Hitchin Town||A||2-1||Davidson, Sedgwick.|
|SF||Hertford Town||H||2-0||Davidson, Gigg.|
|Final||St Albans City||N||2-3||Sedgwick 2.|
|1969-1970||R4||Letchworth Town||H||2-1||Gigg 2.|
|SF||Bishops Stortford||H||2-0||Davidson 2.|
|1970-1971||R3||St Albans City||A||1-3||Sedgwick.|
|1971-1972||?||Tring Town||H||4-0||Pudney, Sedgwick, R Sedgwick, og.|
|?||Bishops Stortford||A||3-1||Twigg 2, Pudney.|
|1973-1974||R2||Letchworth Town||A||2-1||Farmer, Poole.|
|R3||Leggatts Way OB||H||0-0|
|Replay||A||3-1||Poole 2, Cerasoli.|
|SF||Ware||A||3-1||Kiff 2, Moles.|
|1974-1975||R2||Leggatts Way OB||H||2-0||Kiff, Poole.|
|1975-1976||?||Tring Town||A||2-5||Kiff, Reeves.|
|1976-1977||R1||Hatfield Town||H||4-0||Berryman, Cooper, Dillon, Walton.|
|R2||Ware||A||3-1||Cray, Kiff, McKenzie.|
|R3||St Albans City||H||3-1||Reeves 2, Kiff.|
|1979-1980||R1||Harpenden Town||H||2-1||Cook, Saban.|
|1980-1981||R2||Royston Town||H||3-1||Gayle 2, Eason.|
|R3||Hertford Town||H||2-0||Eason, Reeves.|
|1981-1982||R1||Harpenden Town||A||4-0||Hardy 2, Cook, Gayle.|
|R2||Pirton Athletic||H||7-3||Winston 2,Cook,Gayle,Naylor. O’Donahue,Poole.|
|1982-1983||?||Highfield||H||5-3||Gooding 2, Cook, Read, R Sedgwick.|
|1983-1984||R1||Highfield||H||4-1||Buckley, Debnam, Hawkes, Winston.|
|1984-1985||R1||Berkhamsted Town||H||3-1||Cook, Debnam, Neville.|
|1985-1986||R1||Stevenage Borough||H||2-4||Holt, Lister.|
|R2||Stevenage Borough||H||4-3||Francois, Johnson, Johnston, Salmon.|
|R3||Berkhamsted Town||H||3-1||Campbell, Dunwell, Francois.|
|SF||St Albans City||A||2-8||Campbell, Hammatt.|
|1999-2000||R2||Ware||H||3-0||Adams, Kouloumanou, Soteriou.|
|R3||Tring Town||H||2-0||Forwell, Wilkie.|
|SF||Baldock Town||A||2-3||Gregorio, Greg Gregorio.|
|R3||Potters Bar Town||H||2-0||Parry, Wales.|
|SF||Stevenage Borough||H||4-2||Beattie 2, Archer,og.|
|2003-2004||R2||Sawbridgeworth Town||H||6-2||Archer 2, Aransibia, Cox, Harris, Watters|
|2004-2005||R1||Hoddesdon Town||A||6-0||Aransibia 3, Obeng 2, White|
|R2||Bishops Stortford||A||2-0||Highton, Ledger|
|R3||Potters Bar Town||A||1-0||Haastrup|
|SF||St Albans City||A||0-1|
|2008-2009||R2||Hitchin Town||H||3-2||Dobson, Roberts, G Taylor|
|R3||Ware||H||3-0||Ramshaw, Akers, og|
|SF||Oxhey Jets||H||2-1||Akers, Harrison|
|2009-2010||R2||Sawbridgeworth Town||A||2-1||Harrison, Meikle|
|R3||Royston Town||A||3-2||Thomson, Harrison|
|SF||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||2-2||Forbes, Light (won 2-1 pens)|
|2010-2011||R2||Bishops Stortford||H||2-1||Ashie, McDonald|
|R3||Hertford Town||H||2-1||Cox, Gordon|
|2011-2012||R1||Ware||H||4-1||Ashwood, Hutchinson, McDonald|
|R2||Hatfield Town||H||6-3||Hutchinson 2, Ashwood, McDonald, Ruff, Smith|
|R3||Leverstock Green||A||6-3||Bricknell 2, Ashwood, Hutchinson, Bowes, Roles|
|SF||Oxhey Jets||A||2-2||Ashwood, Bricknell (lost 3-4 pens)|
|2012-2013||R1||Hertford Town||A||4-0||Deane, Mitchell, Richards, og|
|2013-2014||R1||London Lions||H||5-0||Holmes 2, Marshall, Cooper, Riza|
|2014-2015||R1||St Albans City||A||3-5||Bolle 2, Megicks|
|2015-2016||R1||Royston Town||H||3-1||Bolle, Hallett, Coley|
|R2||Stevenage Borough||H||2-1||Marshall, Hallett|
|2016-2017||R2||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||1-1||Kendall (won 5-4 on pens)|
|R3||Leverstock Green||H||4-2||Hallett 3, Smyth|
|2017-2018||R1||Hertford Town||A||2-2||Cheema, Brennan (lost 2-4 on pens)|
|2018-2019||R1||Kings Langley||A||2-1||Hughes, Adamson|
|R2||Hadley||A||2-2||Sanusi, Re (won 4-2 on pens)|
|2019-2020||R2||Colney Heath||A||3-1||Beckles-Richards, Re, Moss|
|R3||London Colney||A||2-0||Beckles-Richards 2|
|SF||Hemel Hempstead Town||H||0-1|
|2021-2022||R1||Colney Heath||H||3-1||Newton 2, Beckles-Richards|
|R3||Hemel Hempstead Town||H|
The Tudors” – 1885-2021 – by Marc Wilmore
The history of Hemel Hempstead Town FC is a complex past, with mergers between local clubs and numerous name
changes before finally settling as the club as it is known today.
Of the clubs that merged over the years to form the club as we know it today, the history of Apsley FC goes furthest back. Formed in 1885 as Apsley End FC, the club was based at Salmon Meadow and played in a claret and blue strip. The first record of competitive football was in 1889, when the club entered the Herts Senior Cup. Apsley End were then one of the founding member clubs of the West Herts Football Association and entered their first league competition in 1891/92, before changing the name to just Apsley FC two years later. Apsley won the Division One championship in 1894/95, the first honour in the clubs history. Around this time, many clubs competed in more than one league at a time; small numbers of competing clubs meant that entering more than one competition would allow the clubs to play more regularly. Apsley also competed in the Wolverton League and the Herts County League, entering the latter as a founding member club in 1898/99. Apsley were one of the more successful local teams competing in the Herts County League either side of the fist World War, winning three league championships along with many other high league finishes. In 1922, Apsley left the Herts County League to join the Spartan League.
Apsley: 1908/1909 Hertfordshire County Cup Winners
Apsley competed in the Spartan League for 30 years, during this time the club moved home twice, first to Gee’s Meadow in Bourne End for one season, before moving to the new Wood Lane Ground, more commonly known as Crabtree Lane where the club remained until 1972. Whilst in the Spartan League, Apsley claimed three runners up spots in the lower divisions, there was a Division One championship place in 1933/34, but the club failed to make an impression in the Premier Division and were soon relegated. Apsley were one of 29 clubs who rejoined the Spartan League in the season immediately following the second World War, the club showed a great improvement in form and consistency at this time but again only had a couple of runners up spots to show for it. The clubs name changed to Hemel Hempstead Town, it had been some time now since the club had actually been based in Apsley, and following promotion to the Spartan Premier League for the 1951/52 season, the club left to join the Delphian League.
Hemel didn’t set the Delphian League alight, finishing in the bottom two of the division on five occasions during eleven seasons. The clubs best finish in the Delphian League was as runners up in 1961/62, this success was unable to be built upon as the following season continuous poor weather caused the Delphian League to be abandoned after Hemel had played twelve games. An emergency competition was organised giving Hemel a further eight fixtures, however the Delphian League disbanded once the season finished in 1963 and the clubs formed Division Two of the Athenian League. In January of 1962 the attendance record at Crabtree Lane was set when 3,500 spectators paid to watch the first time the club had played in the First Round Proper of the Amateur Cup, Hemel lost 1-3 to Tooting & Mitcham after missing two penalties.
In their opening season in the Athenian League, Hemel finished fifth in Division Two and were subsequently promoted to Division One due to restructuring. In 1964-65 Hemel finished as runners up in Division One, winning promotion to the Premier Division. Hemel only lasted three seasons in the Premier with a best finish of ninth in 1966 before two consecutive relegations saw Hemel start the 1969/70 season in Division Two, a level which Hemel remained for nearly 30 years! 1962 and 1966 saw Hemel reach the final of the Herts Senior Cup but Hitchin Town then St Albans City kept the trophy from Hemel’s grasp. In 1967 Hemel reached the final of the Herts Charity Cup for the first time, losing 0-1 to St Albans City. During this period Hemel also reached the final of the Herts Charity Shield five times, although only won in 1964. In the summer of 1972, Hemel Hempstead Town merged with Hemel Hempstead United, the new club took the simple name of Hemel Hempstead and made United’s Vauxhall Road ground as its home.
With ground moves, mergers and (almost all of) the name changes out of the way, the club as we know it was born. Hemel remained in the Athenian League for a further six seasons, during that time it was only the last two seasons Hemel shone with two consecutive fourth place finishes. In the FA Cup during this period, Hemel failed to get past the First Qualifying Round. In 1976 Hemel again reached the final of the Herts Charity Cup, this time losing 0-4 to Hitchin Town. Six Herts Charity Shield finals beckoned over the forthcoming years, but The Tudors were only victorious in 1977 and 1984. In 1977, Hemel left the Athenian League to join the rapidly expanding Isthmian League, who boasted to be the south of England’s premier football league.
Hemel joined the Isthmian League in Division Two, and this was a level the club struggled to progress from. Mid-table mediocrity was the norm for many years and numerous restructuring failed to kick start The Tudors – shuffling to the Isthmian League Division Two North in 1984, then back to just Division Two again in 1991. Hemel managed to finish in the top half of the table just seven times in twenty five years, with the best efforts during this time being three finishes in fourth place – in 1976, 1977 and 1993. 1993 was the closest Hemel had been to promotion, missing out by two points to local rivals Berkhamsted Town who clinched third place and the last promotion spot. Only the previous season Hemel had fought bravely against Barnet in the Herts County Senior Cup final, losing 4-1, although the score line doesn’t sound generous towards Hemel, it was superior fitness and three late goals and which clinched it for the Football League Division Four side. It was downhill from there, in November 1992 Hemel’s Vauxhall Road ground was rocked by fire, the destroyed clubhouse and changing rooms were replaced by temporary structures, which remained for over five years. 1996/97 saw The Tudors concede 125 goals, score only 34 (an average of less than one goal per game!) and finish rock bottom, relegation to the Isthmian Division Three loomed. This was only the fifth time in 112 years the club had suffered relegation.
The last ten years has been very eventful for Hemel with various ground improvements, 2 league championships, a play-off final win, two automatic promotions, promotion through restructuring, and a relegation, not to mention seven changes of manager. The first tasks of the new Committee which gained control of the club in 1997 were to change the name back to Hemel Hempstead Town FC, then to install successful Leverstock Green manager and ex-Hemel captain Mick Vipond as manager. The result was a quick promotion with Hemel winning the Division Three championship at the first attempt, conceding only 28 goals that season and scoring 86, quite a turnaround from the previous season. This was the first league championship the club had won since 1934. After a stuttering start to Division Two, Hemel parted company with Vipond in December 1998 and ex-Watford star and 1985 FA Cup finalist Neil Price was appointed as manager. Price guided the Tudors to 4th place and bettered this the following season when Hemel won the Division Two championship, only to be denied promotion due to insufficient ground grading. In this championship season Hemel conceded just 27 goals in 42 league games, the best defensive record in the clubs history. Hemel followed this up with a 6th place finish and in the summer of 2001 Price was replaced at the helm by former Barnet goalkeeper Gary Phillips. By this time various ground improvements had led to a “B” grading for Vauxhall Road which made the club eligible for promotion. Hemel failed to find their feet in the 2001/2002 season and following the resignation of Phillips after a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Chertsey, ex-Hemel player Tony Kelly was appointed as manager. Following another 6th place finish, restructuring saw Hemel leave the Isthmian after nearly 30 years of competing in that league and for the first time Hemel started a season in the Southern League, competing in the Premier division.
It was never going to be easy settling in the new league but Hemel struggled, with Kelly being replaced by ex-Arseley manager Nicky Ironton in November. Just 3 wins in 12 games saw Hemel slide in to the relegation zone and Ironton was replaced by Hemel’s 3rd manager of the season Byron Walton, who inherited a side 10 points from safety with 12 games to go. A short unbeaten run was not enough and Hemel were relegated to the Southern Western Division. Hemel began to slip in 2005/2006 and Walton was replaced by ex-Hemel player and former Chesham and Berkhamsted manager Steve Bateman. A nail biting end to the season saw Hemel beat Brackley Town in the play-off final to secure promotion back to the Southern Premier Division at the first attempt. Last season, 2006/2007, saw Hemel achieve a play-off position which could have seen the club promoted to the Conference South. However, the play-off semi-final away to Team Bath resulted in defeat. The Tudors had to settle for finishing the season with four cup final appearances, the Errea Cup, Herts Senior Cup, Herts Charity Cup, and the St Mary’s Cup. Victorious in one of those competitions, the St Mary’s Cup were brought home to Vauxhall Road in a 3-2 win over local rivals Berkhamsted Town.
In 2008/09, Hemel started brightly and by Christmas the club was in a play-off position having just beaten league leaders Farnborough. Former star striker Anthony Thomas returned to Vauxhall Road and things were looking good for the Tudors. However, a poor start to the New Year led to the sacking of Steve Bateman on the 16th February, the eve of the clubs appearance in the final of the Herts Charity Cup. The next day, Hemel beat Ware 2-1 to lift their first silverware of the season and former Celtic and Southend midfielder Paul Byrne was appointed as Bateman’s successor. A good start under Byrne was followed by inconsistent form; however Hemel fought their way in to the play-offs, with Thomas again finishing as the clubs top scorer as he overtook Hugh Boycott-Brown as the clubs all-time leading goal scorer. The Tudors lost the play-off semi-final on penalties at Farnborough. By the start of the 2009/10 season, Byrne had been replaced at the helm by Dennis Green, but the club was not on good form and he was replaced in October the season by Gary Philips, who was himself replaced in March by Dean Brennan. Hemel still ended up in a relegation position but were spared going down by the requirement of restructuring. Hemel finished the season with a St Mary’s Cup final win over Oxhey Jets.
During the summer of 2010, Hitchin manager Colin Payne was appointed the new Tudors manager in time for the 2010/11 season which saw the Tudors celebrate their 125 years in existence. The season started well but inconsistent form saw Hemel finish 15th in the league. Payne led the team in to the 2011/12 however with Hemel firmly attached to a relegation position he was replaced in October by former Salisbury manager Tommy Widdrington. Despite the team not enjoying much better form under Widdrington, there was at least a slow progress so it was a great disappointment to the club when he left his position after just four months to take up a job at Eastbourne. Mark Eaton and Alan Biley formed a partnership to manage the Tudors however their best efforts could not pull the club to safety and relegation loomed after finishing 19th.
Reprieved from relegation, Hemel appointed Dean Brennan for his second spell as manager for the 2012/13 season. Brennan brought in a lot of new faces in to the squad and after a flying start to the season Hemel found themselves top of the league table, where they spent a total of 19 games before a dip in form saw eventual champions Leamington take over. Hemel finished the table in a club record fourth place and made it to the play-offs, facing third place Chesham United in the semi-final. Hemel won 0-2 at Chesham and set up a home tie against Gosport Borough in the final. 2254 eager fans packed in to Vauxhall Road to watch the game that was to decide Hemel’s fate; Gosport went 2-0 up in the first half but Hemel fought right to the end and scored 2 late goals to draw level. After a goal-less extra-time, Hemel lost on penalties. Hemel did gain some silverware though, winning the Herts Senior Cup for the first time since 1926, beating Potter Bar in the final. Hemel’s last honour this season was the Sir Stanley Rous Memorial Trophy, awarded by the Herts FA to the club or individual that has brought the most prestige to Hertfordshire.
2013/14 was a fantastic season for Hemel. The Tudors got off to a flying start, despite losing the opening league game at Hitchin, Hemel went on to win ten consecutive games and went on to spend the majority of the season well clear at the top of the Southern League Premier Division league table. Hemel were also in the draw for the FA Cup First Round proper for the first time since 1938 after drawing 3-3 with Conference South high fliers Sutton United, but unfortunately lost the replay. With just the league to concentrate on, Hemel went on to break records with striker Ben Mackey scoring a club record 43 goals in all competitions and ‘keeper Laurie Walker keeping the most clean sheets by a single goalie in Hemel’s history. The Tudors had the Southern League’s highest average attendances and Vauxhall Road entertained nearly two thousand fans against both St Albans City and Chesham United. It was at home to Chesham on Easter Monday that Hemel lifted the Southern League Premier Division winners shield, having secured the championship away to Hungerford two days previously.
It was the start of a whole new era for Hemel Hempstead Town FC in August 2014, the clubs first season in the second tier of the English non-league game. The Tudors first ever game in the Conference South was an away win at Basingstoke Town, however stuttering form during the seasons early stages led to numerous changes of playing personnel, with some of the previous seasons championship winning side leaving Vauxhall Road to make way for some more experienced players and some young professionals loaned from some of the area’s leading clubs. Hemel’s form improved as the season developed and the club was still capable of reaching the play-off’s within a few weeks of the season ending. A respectable 9th place finish was accompanied by cup final wins in the Herts Senior Cup and the St Mary’s Cup, while club record runs were achieved in the FA Cup (first round, losing away to League Two Bury) and FA Trophy (third round, losing at home to National League Torquay United). In 2015/16, inconsistent form and many injuries saw The Tudors exit all the cups early on and at one stage there was a threat of a relegation scrap – however fantastic late season form saw another record finish, sixth in the table, with defeat at home to Whitehawk on the final game of the season seeing our visitors secure the final play-off spot over us. During the season, the management team of Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard became the longest serving Manager(s) at Hemel for thirty years.
The 2016/17 season was a significant one at Vauxhall Road, as it was the twentieth season Chairman Dave Boggins led the club as Chairman. On the pitch, the momentum gained in recent seasons slowed down, with inconsistent form during the opening stages of the season making a push for promotion highly unlikely by the halfway stage. There were also quick exits from the major cup competitions. However, the return of former captain Jordan Parkes and the recruitment of some key players via loan signings led Hemel on a mid-season charge up the table, at one stage being the division’s form sides as the play-off’s became an achievable target. The change in fortunes didn’t last though, and as form dipped in the latter stages, The Tudors season resulted in a 12th place finish – lower than expected but not unreasonable for a club still establishing itself at this level of the game.
The Tudors bounced back in 2017/18, in a season which saw the National League South increase play-off positions to the second to seventh placed sides in the final league table. With the prospect of a play-off position much more achievable, a competitive season saw many clubs fancying their chances at promotion. Despite some inconsistent form, a more settled Hemel squad than previous seasons did well enough to spend much of the season in the play-off’s and even in the latter stages of the campaign automatic promotion was still with sights. Eventually, a new club record finish of fifth place in the National League South secured a home play-off “elimination” tie (effectively a “quarter-final) against Braintree, who beat Hemel on penalties on their way to winning the play-offs. The Tudors reached the final of the Herts Senior Cup this season but conceded the final against Hitchin Town, due to Hemel staffs concerns about the safety of their players on the playing surface of the neutral venue. This season also saw landmark appearances for Tudors players Jordan Parkes and Kyle Connolly who each reached 200 appearances for Hemel, whilst the management team of Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard took charge of their 300th game.
The 2018/19 season proved to be by far the most disappointing during our time in the National League south. The season started well but by mid-September the management team of Dean Brennan and Stuart Maynard had moved on to the Glen Tamplin revolution at Billericay Town. This turned out to be a fairly short stay as they were then sacked after 3 months. Post Dean and Stuart, players Jordan Parkes and Darren Ward took the team temporarily whilst the club looked for a new permanent manager. In their shot spell at the helm they oversaw victories in the Emirates FA Cup over Bowers & Pitsea and Ramsgate before going out to Oxford City in a 4th Round Replay. At the beginning of November Joe Deeney was appointed to the position of manager, Joe was formerly assistant manager at NLS rivals Oxford City. Joe started very well with three League victories in November, winning away at Bath City, East Thurrock and at home to Gloucester City. In the Buildbase Trophy he masterminded a victory over Lewes in a 3rd Round Qualifying Replay. Probably the best performance and victory during this tenure was a home victory (2-1) over National League side Eastleigh in the 1st round of the Buildbase FA Trophy. Unfortunately there were very few memorable points during the remainder of the season as it petered out with the Tudors finishing a very disappointing 16th at the end of the season. This was the worst finishing position in the League since being promoted to National League South in 2014.
The summer of 2019 saw one of the biggest overhauls at Vauxhall Road for some time, with Concord Rovers manager Sammy Moore departing our NLS rivals to join us at Hemel. Moore set about rebuilding the squad, releasing almost all of the previous squad and assembling a group of experienced players in an attempt to turn around the club’s dip in form. Hemel got off to a flying start and by October were placed second in the league and enjoying the type of form you’d expect from promotion candidates. However, lengthy spells without a win followed; The Tudors remained “thereabouts” in the league thanks to the good string of results earlier in the season but the club was often placed at the bottom end of the current form table from November through to March, then the season was brought to a premature end by the global coronavirus pandemic. By this time, Hemel were placed 11th in the league table having played 34 games, six points below the play-off positions and nine points above relegation. One could only speculate how the season may have finished, but three wins and four clean sheets in the last five league games Hemel played had instilled some optimism at Vauxhall Road. The Tudors had also reached the final’s of both the Herts Senior Cup and the Herts Charity Cup, albeit these competitions were also ended before completion. However, during the summer of 2020, Tudors Chairman Dave Boggins made the decision not to renew Moore’s contract. At this stage, plans for the 2020/21 season remain “up in the air” while the FA and respective leagues consider how best to move forward from the pandemic and The Tudors will seek to appoint a new gaffer nearer the return of competitive football.
Manager Craig Edwards
Reece Beckles Richards
Hemel Hempstead Town FC
Manager Mark Jones
Gus Scott Morriss
Dominic Morgan Griffiths
Jacob Gardiner Smith
Football is the most popular sport worldwide, and there are so many children who do not have the same opportunities to safely play the game that they are so passionate about.
In the UK, children are often buying new pairs of football boots every season, as they so quickly outgrow their old pairs. This means that their used football boots are often left in near-perfect condition.
Our goal is to give these football boots a second chance and to bring joy to children who don’t have the same opportunity.
Cheshunt FC teams are collecting boots for this very worthwhile charity, please check your cupboards for any boots you may be able to bring along to the club and donate.
Non-League football German style by Stuart Fuller
It’s 5pm on a beautiful Wednesday evening in early August and the FC Kaiserslautern team bus is slowly manoeuvring itself down a lane not really wide enough of a Smart car in the heart of Saarland, South-West Germany. Die Roten Tuefel, or the Red Devils, may have arrived in style but a few hours later they will leave with their forked tails between their legs. Whilst the team who took the 3G surface in Wiesbach may not have been the Red Devils first XI, this was a competitive game and one that would still embarrass the management of one of Germany’s founding members of the Bundesliga.
Shaun Harvey and the management of the EFL must look longingly at Germany (and Spain) and see how the top flight teams are allowed to enter their reserve sides into the competitive league structure. Of course there are rules around who they can and cannot field, as well as a rule that means they can never be in the same division, but it is accepted here in a way that I doubt it could never be back in England.
FC Kaiserslautern’s reserve side play in the fifth tier of German football, the Oberliga. Those of you with O-Level German will know that ‘Ober’ in German means ‘upper’, so Oberliga literally means ‘the top league’ or as we would call it The Premier League (well, until the marketing men took their millions for coming up with EPL). Confused? Yep, me too.
Werder Bremen had the highest placed reserve team, last season playing in the Bundesliga III but relegation back in May meant they will be in the Regionalliga along with the stiffs from 18 other Bundesliga I and II clubs. Step down one more level and you will find a host of others including Kaisersluatern II, now playing in the Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar along with clubs such as BFV Hassia Bingen, TSV Schott Mainz and today’s hosts, Hertha Wiesbach.
One way to look at the similarities between the respective step 5 leagues in the English and German footballing pyramids is average attendances. The Conference Premier/National League in England has some clubs who have certainly had better days such as Leyton Orient, Chesterfield and Wrexham but their core support hasn’t disappeared as they’ve headed down the pyramid. Last season the National League had an average attendance of 2,048 with three clubs (the aforementioned Leyton Orient and Wrexham, plus promoted Tranmere Rovers) averaging over 4,000. Compare that to the Oberliga, which had an average of just 289, with only two clubs out of the 14 leagues with average attendances over 1,000 (FC 08 Homburg and SC Borussia 04 Fulda in case you wanted to know).
Facilities at this level are probably on a par with England’s Step 5 or 6. Hertha Wiesbach’s ProWin Stadion was situated in a small valley, with steep hills rising behind the club house and the main stand – perfect on a hot, summer’s night but treacherous I would imagine come the winter. Their 3G pitch provides a facility for the local community, whilst the club- house was advertising a number of events over the coming weeks. Oh, and being Germany, you could have a beer whilst standing on the hill watching the game, trusted that you wouldn’t start a Mexican Wave or some Icelandic Clap.
On the pitch it is a different matter – the Step 5 teams here in Germany certainly looked technically as good as our National League, if not better. The home side blew the famous
visitors aside, scoring three second-half goals as Kaiserslautern wilted in the sunshine (and bizarrely only arrived with two on the bench). The win, lifted the home side to top of the table, with a 100% record after three league games and no goals conceded.
There can be few better ways to spend a hot Summer’s evening than watching football, beer and sausage in hand and Wiesbach delivered on every level. I wasn’t the only one who left with a spring in my step, with the knowledge that David had sort of got one over on Goliath, albeit Goliath’s little brother, Bob.
Thankfully the 6.30pm kick-off meant that as I headed south-wards towards my hotel for the night, I drove right past (OK, so there was a 2.5km detour) the Sportplatz Papiermühle (or Paper Mill Sportsfield), where the second half between SPV Dillingen and SV Engers 07, also in the Oberliga Rheinland-Pfalz/Saar was just kicking off. The ground wasn’t too dissimilar to the ProWin Stadion, with one low-level clubhouse with standing in front. A similar demographic of fan was watching this one, albeit with contrasting fortunes to the first match as unbeaten Engers ran out 4-0 winners.
Not a bad evening all being told. Just like there’s some real gems in and around the Non- League scene in England, seek and you shall find beauty in the most unlikely of places in Germany too.
DON’T BLAME THE REF…
I remember years ago reading and article by Ken Aston who was the head honcho of the refereeing world back in the sixties. He felt that television scrutiny was already becoming too intrusive and that his compatriots were finding themselves too readily subject to criticism and trial by TV pundit. Aston argued that this was unfair as they were making split second decisions and doing their best without any opportunity to review decisions.
Fast forward to 2021 when referees are even more scrutinised but now at least do have the opportunity at the top level of the game to review decisions via the use of VAR.
Has it improved the game? In some respects, I’d have to say yes.
I sincerely do believe that the standard of refereeing is better than it’s ever been throughout the history of the game, and at the top level its ability to make the correct decision is vastly improved from yesteryear.
That said however ‘strange’ decisions still exist at every level of the game and there are unfortunately too many examples of incompetent refereeing.
When watching games for Cheshunt I am often impressed by referees and over most games I don’t think they get too high a percentage wrong, but I still see some decisions that leave me speechless, and I do wonder what can be done to improve that.
One area I see as poor at every level is the lack of cohesion and teamwork amongst the official’s team. Referees seem to be too isolated; they take on the position of the leader of the official’s team, they become distanced from their own team and appear uncommunicative.
At our lower league level, we have three officials, but rarely do I see excellent examples of them working optimally as a team.
Ref’s are giving fouls, making bookings, deciding on sending offs, keeping time and generally holding the fabric of the game together and although the assistants on the line do seem to monitor time it generally feels very disjointed and arbitrary as to how much their role will be optimally effective, and that adds to the inability of the three to act as a team.
In the last few weeks I’ve seen two strange pieces of refereeing first-hand. In the Cheshunt home game against Bognor there was an unnecessary long delay following the ref’s decision to book a player for leaving the field too slowly. I wasn’t about to argue with that as Cheshunt needed every second to try and rescue the game, however when suddenly the referee decided that he’d already booked the same player and issued a second red I was confused. I couldn’t remember him being booked previously so I assumed he must have said something or continued to be too slow and that consequently he’d got a red.
It took seven minutes for the referee to be persuaded that he’d confused a previous booking for a Cheshunt player with the booking of the dawdling Bognor player. Even then he didnt change his mind until post match, Bognor had to play out the last ten minutes with ten men. Tempers were frayed, tensions escalated and confusion reigned. Three physio visits, one for a head injury, six substitutions & the seven minute madness resulted in just six minutes of injury time? My reflection is why wasn’t either assistant quickly communicating with the referee that he needed to quickly change that decision. A more coherent and coordinated approach to decision making would have greatly helped matters. Surely they too had noted the bookings & substitutions, both teams bench & media had.
I was recently at The Emirates when the Crystal Palace player aimed a powerful kick at Arsenal’s forward Saka, making no attempt to play the ball. Referee Mike Dean was yards from it and missed it, his linesman and fourth official offered no advice, and VAR couldn’t ensure the decision was reviewed. A complete team meltdown with the whole process, making the officials look incompetent, and certainly impacting on the confidence that the spectators may have in the process of ensuring the game was governed fairly.
In my view it reinforced that we still have communication issues with officials and that underpinning this is a continued elitist attitude from the refereeing profession; an impression I would suggest they genuinely want to disassociate themselves with.
As players develop, they have to learn to learn from mistakes, to improve their understanding of the game and develop their play. Referee’s obviously do the same, but I still consider that refereeing sees it’s role as too separate, and almost aloof from the playing side of the game.
Communications in any organisation are fundamental to success, if we get our messaging wrong, then we will have problems. In football the gap between the players and officials remains an area of concern in the development of the game and after decades of trying to cure this we are still a long way from resolution. Try watching a Rugby Union match this week end, and note the player/referee interaction.
I heard recently that at higher levels of the game in Germany refs are giving post-match interviews, and the impression is that it is being received positively. It’s hopefully providing a reflective approach and a learning opportunity, and one hopes in time it will establish a role at all levels.
So long as such moves are regarded respectfully as a piece of open time post-match it should help all sides to communicate and improve outcomes.
‘Its Good To Talk’
Matt Badcock writes
When I was a junior reporter starting out at The NLP, there was a Friday afternoon task I dreaded.
Through the long summer months, and with blank pages to fill, we used to have a weekly short on every club at Steps 1 and 2.
The idea was to fill it with the latest transfer, maybe a nice little quote from the manager about how his squad was shaping up or similar.
Without naming names, there were a few clubs you didn’t want on your list. Nothing against them, but there were a handful of teams where finding a fresh nib of news was not easy.
Club websites wouldn’t be updated since the last time you checked. The manager’s phone would have the dialling tone you hear when someone is on holiday…it was a thankless task and all part of the learning.
Of course, this was all before the days of twitter and a constant stream of updates.
Back then, people would nominate people for our Goal of the Season with a written description of the goal. If you were lucky, you’d get a hazy piece of footage to go from.
It’s amazing quite how much the media landscape has changed for Non-League clubs.
Now games are filmed by automated cameras and wonder goals – the National League teams aside with their weekend embargo – are there to see within 30 minutes of the final whistle.
Ollie Babington scored a screamer for Clevedon Town at the weekend that is being mentioned as a Puskas contender and has been seen worldwide.
It’s now commonplace to see Step 5 and 6 clubs using animated graphics when they score a goal, uploading interviews with managers and players, putting excellent highlights packages together, all on top of their other social media posts.
While the odd account will use their platform to hammer a referee over a perceived injustice, the majority are becoming more and more ‘professional’. No doubt it has an impact on getting more people through the gate. Being proactive can make a big difference.
Dorking Wanderers have an insider documentary that is on YouTube and has millions of views on TikTok. The club say it is noticeable people have attended their games, or purchased items from the club shop, on the back of it.
There is so much high-quality content to consume and is a credit to all those who do their bit for their local club. It certainly keeps us at The NLP on our toes and helps keep our team informed on what is happening across the country.
We could even bring back those news nibs this summer…
Both sides went into this match off the back of successive defeats, goals from Dan Bassett and Dan Bennett gave Carshalton Athletic the win 2-1 over Cheshunt at Colston Avenue on Saturday. Jamie Reynolds responding late in the game for Cheshunt with the goal of the match.
Pappoe’s replacement, Bennett, who had already nearly doubled the advantage after a solo break early in the second half, capably smothered by Preston Edwards in the Ambers goal, made no mistake with a second chance after 65 minutes. A poor clearance from Cheshunt was pounced upon & receiving the ball just inside the penalty area, he danced around creating a shooting opportunity to lift the ball past Edwards.
Three minutes later, Carshalton almost added a third when Bobby Price’s shot came back off a post. This spurred Cheshunt into action & they laid siege to the Carshalton goal for the final twenty minutes in wave after wave of attack, forcing corners & making the home crowd sweat a little on their two goal lead. However with player manager Adenyi on the pitch directing operations we suffered a stop start end with five visits to the pitch from the Carshalton physio as the home side sought to slow everything down & make the match a series of bit part scenes, rather than allow Cheshunt’s passing game to open up the defence. Corner after corner was forced but not terribly inspiring. Jamie Reynolds had sought to use his busy work rate to harass the home side into errors, and got his reward although only a consolation for the Ambers when a 1-2 wide right, gave the opportunity to drive across, creating an angle for a shot over Simon Thomas’ head with two minutes remaining for a consolation goal.
There was evidence of Cheshunt play from before Christmas in the second half & Craig Edwards team could count themselves unlucky not to have secured a draw, conceding when two errors allowed Carshalton to capitalise, they have the opportunity to get back to winning ways against Hemel tonight & Leatherhead on Saturday.
Carshalton Athletic: Thomas, Price, Hamilton-Downes, Read, Williams, Pappoe, Frimpong, Adeniyi, Bradford, Bassett, White. Substitutes: Bennett (for Pappoe 16’), Koroma (for Bradford 79’), Ebuzoeme (for Price 79’), Sankoh, Ajvazi.
Cheshunt: Edwards, Ekongo, Ojo, Jones, MacKenzie, Re, Boadi, Kassarate, Miles, Reynolds, Liburd. Substitutes: Newton (for Miles 62’), McLean (for Ojo 72’), Beckles-Richards (for Boadi 75’), Gardiner, Marsh.
Goals: Ca Bassett 14’, Ca Bennett 65, Ch Reynolds 88’.
“The Isthmian Football League & Cheshunt FC strongly support the FA statement that there should be a zero-tolerance approach against racism and all forms of discrimination. Accordingly, any form of discriminatory abuse whether it by reason of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion and belief, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, sex and sexual orientation or any other form of abuse will be reported to The Football Association for action by that Association.” (The FA 0800 085 0508 / Kick it Out 020 7253 0162).The Isthmian League and all Member Clubs in the League are committed to promoting equality by treating people fairly and with respect, by recognising that inequalities may exist, by taking steps to address them and providing access and opportunities for all members of the community.”