Larkfield Football Club
Larkfield Football Club
Established 1976

The FORMATION OF LARKFIELD 'BOYS' FOOTBALL CLUB

 

The Club was formed in 1976. For a year or so before that, a number of boys from Larkfield area were playing as under-9's in friendly matches for The `Ditton Minors Football Club'. At that time, `Ditton Minors' were a well established Club, one of only a few catering for boys in the wider area. However, there was such a huge demand from just the Ditton area itself that pressure to expand its activities to cater primarily for Ditton residents became overwhelming.

Thus it was agreed that the Larkfield contingent would break away from Ditton and form their own Club to cater for the boys from the Larkfield area. Talks were held with Ken Mills, (the then Headmaster), of Brookfield Junior School in Larkfield, about the prospects of using the school facilities as an initial base for the newly formed 'Larkfield Boys Football Club'. As some of the players were pupils at the school, the establishment of the Boys Football Club was seen as a useful adjunct to the school's own activities and so agreement about the use of the school pitch and changing facilities was possible.

With the help of a grant from Tonbridge and Mailing Council's `Grants to Sports Clubs Fund', along with considerable 'self-help' from parents, the Club managed to acquire footballs, kits, equipment, etc and convince the 'Snodland and District Primary League' that the Club was viable and should be admitted into membership of the League.

As a result, an Under-10 team was entered into that League for the season 1977/78. It is worth recalling that, at that time, the Snodland League (now no more), was one of the largest and most competitive in the County and had a reputation for developing good standards of play and, importantly, sportsmanship.

Early on-field successes were mixed but the fact that a team was now playing regularly at weekends at Brookfield School attracted considerable local interest, with the result that demand to expand the Club grew rapidly. So, efforts to meet the demand in terms of pitches, managers, coaches, referees, etc. resulted in establishing additional teams playing at East Mailing Recreation Ground, Larkfield Recreation & ground and, eventually, West Malling Airfield. The teams catered for ranged from Under-9s playing friendly matches to Under-16s. Managers included Bob Gibbons, Mike Payne, Alf Blandford, John Missen, John Sayers, Mick Vinten, Peter Hopgood, Sid Goodwin, Derek Lettington, Brian Kennard and Paul Hand. John Russell was our first 'official' referee but although Stan Tingey and Peter Hopgood both qualified as referees, some reliance was placed on local officials including Brian Martin, Brian Parris and Herbie Tester.

As the Club developed, so too did the standard of play and a number of teams achieved honours in both League and Cup Competitions, over all age ranges. A number of players were selected to play for the `Snodland League

Representative' teams during the years of that League's existence. However the format of the League, (playing in 2-year age blocks), meant that teams were not always evenly and fairly matched and so a gradual 'drift' into membership of other leagues began to take place. The `Maidstone and District Primary League' began to cater for Under lls, Under 13s, Under 15s, etc, and thus some membership of that league made it possible to 'rotate' with the Snodland League format of divisions for Under 12s, Under 14s, Under 16s, etc.

As the Club grew, the increasing financial implications needed to be addressed. One or two additional 'start-up' grants were obtained but the majority of funding came from match-fees, penalty competitions, jumble sales and, for a time, a 100-Club. With the constant support of parents, committee members, friends and the boys themselves, a firm financial base was established to provide the Club with a secure future and the rest, as they say, is history .........

Presentation evenings were held annually, firstly in Larkfield Village Hall and, when the Club grew to 7 teams, Ditton Community Centre. Presentations included Player of the Year for each age group selected by the managers; Players Player of the Year, voted for by the boys themselves; Cup and League trophies and medals; and Loyalty Medals for those boys who had stayed with the Club throughout the range of ages catered for. Club officials during the early years included Peter Hopgood as our first Secretary, who handed over to Ron MacAvon; Mike Payne, our Treasurer; Mick Vinten became Chairman after Bob Gibbons was elected Club President to acknowledge all he had done in establishing and developing the Club over its formative years.

In 1993/94 Adam Capper joined the club, Andy Weir was Club secretary & team manager. Bob Jones was chairman and Roy Crouch was treasurer, all three were long standing loyal servants of the then Larkfield Boys FC. At this time the club had ten teams and had been fielding under 8 league teams for two seasons, the first of which was run by John Gill (92/93) who then became Vice-Chairman.

At the end of the 1994/95 season Andy Weir left the club to take his side into the Kent League under the banner of APM, Ian Greenland U18Juniors Manager who had been with the club a few years then took over as Secretary along with his wife Carol acting as assistant secretary, soon after that Carol then took on the role of Club Treasurer from Roy Crouch when he left the club.

The end of 1995 saw Bob Jones deciding to move on and John Gill then became Chairman, and Adam Capper Vice-Chairman. In 1998 John left the club and Adam became chairman, a position he still held six years later, (2004)

In 1998 Larkfield FC expanded to 15 youth teams and one Men's team.

Sadly in November 1999 Ian Greenland passed away and Janice Johnson took over as secretary, Ken palmer was Vice-chairman, Nick Ferrer was made President and  Lynne Brookwell became Kit Manager.

In 1999/2000 for the first time in the Clubs history, Sue & Mo Sloane started a Youth team for Special Needs Children, and the next season a Girls team was formed and Managed by Ashley Hasler/Paul Johnson.

Larkfield Football Club (once Larkfield Boys), celebrated its Silver Jubilee, (25 yrs) in 2001, with 15 teams.

The Club grew from 10 to 20 plus teams featuring Larkfield Boy's, Larkfield Juniors, Larkfield Youth, Larkfield Girls, Larkfield Under 7,s fun school and our very special Larkfield Special Needs team still run by Sue & Mo Sloane.

In 2013 , after not having girls football at the club for many years , Larkfield Ladies became official , being opened by Tracey Crouch , local MP and Sports Minister since then has grown year on year with a pathway from 5 year olds through to Ladies.

Now up to date - at the time of this website going live Sep 2017, the club has recently celebrated the 40th anniversary in 2016 we are now an FA Charter Standard Community Club with currently 26 teams including a variety of Men , Vets , Ladies , Boys and Girls and Little Larks & Little Ladies , our Club Development Sections and the future looks bright for teams growing and keeping the history of the club alive....