Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Season Preview Part I - Arlesey, Banbury and Barwell

In these few articles I thought I'd do a quick overview of the other teams that Totton will be competing with in the upcoming Evo-Stik Southern Premier League season. In Part One we take a gander at Arlesey Town, Banbury United and Barwell.

Arlesey Town

A Brief History: Arlesey Town were formed in 1891 by a group of locals. In 1982 they joined the United Counties Football League, and 2 years later won the Premier Division. The 1990s were a successful period in Arlesey's history. In 1991 the club moved to the South Midlands League, finishing 3rd in their first season. The next season saw a 6th place finish and a Premier Division Cup triumph. The Blues won the league 2 seasons running between 1994 and 1996.The 94/95 season also saw Arlesey Town beat Oxford City 2-1 at Wembley to lift the FA Challenge Vase. The club won the Ryman League Third Division in 2000/01, scoring a league record 138 goals. The Blues also gained the record of being the first club to finish with a 100+ goal difference in the league's 96 year history. In the 2010/11 season the club won the Southern League Division One Central by 1 point from local rivals Hitchin Town, and promotion to the Southern League Premier Division for the 2011/12 season.

Ground: Arlesey play at the oddly named aRMadillo Stadium. Although this name appears to be a club sponsor and not a reference to the local Bedfordshire fauna. The ground has a capacity of 2,920, including a covered all-seater stand, and the site also has a training pitch.

Nickname: The Blues. Self-explanatory. But I'll explain anyway. The club plays in blue, and the badge is blue as well. Elementary.

Notable Former Players: Portsmouth and former Premier League striker with Stoke City and Reading, Dave Kitson, and in-demand Peterborough United hit man Craig Mackail-Smith, both played for Arlesey in the early 2000's.

Banbury United

A Brief History: Banbury started out life as Spencer Villa in 1931. In 1934 the club changed it's name to Banbury Spencer. The club turned professional after the war and finished as league runners-up in 1947/48, as well as reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 2-1 to Colchester United. In 1965 the club changed hands, being bought by a group of local businessmen. With the new ownership came a new name, the name the club go by to this day, Banbury United. In 1966 the club was elected to the Southern League. From the late 1970's the club's fortunes began to decline. Debts mounted, ground ownership was given up to help with debts, and on the field the club rapidly dropped, culminating in relegation in 1990 for the first time in their history. It was 10 years before the club were promoted back to the Southern League. In 2005 the club won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division after coming from behind in extra time against Sutton Coldfield Town to win 2-1. Banbury have remained in the Premier Division ever since.

Ground: Banbury play at the Spencer Stadium. The name presumably comes from the club's original name of Spencer Villa FC. The club have played here since 1934, 3 years after it was formed. The ground has a capacity of 2,000, with a 250 seater stand on one side and slightly towards one end. The club have applied for permission to build a new stadium.

Nickname: The Puritans. There is a picture of a stereotypical Puritan on the club crest. I imagine there is a connection.

Notable Former Players: Howard Forinton. Played in the Football League with Birmingham City, Plymouth Argyle, Peterborough United and Torquay United. Looking at his Wikipedia page, he appears to have got about a bit.


A Brief History: Barwell were formed at the start of the 1992–93 season as the result of a merger between Hinckley of the Midland Football Combination and Barwell Athletic, who had previously played in the Leicestershire Senior League. The new club initially played in the Midland Football Combination before becoming a founder member of the Midland Football Alliance in 1994. In 2006 Barwell won the Midland Football Alliance League Cup beating Leamington 3–1. In the 2009/10 season the club reached the semi finals of the FA Vase, losing to eventual winners Whitley Bay. 2010 saw them promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One South as champions of the Midland Football Alliance. They followed this by winning the 2010–11 Division One South and gaining promotion, following which they were transferred to the Southern League Premier Division.

Ground: Barwell play at Kirkby Road. It has a capacity of 2,500, including a 256 seater cantilever stand. The area also includes a cricket pitch and bowling facilities. Barwell have played at Kirkby Road since the club was founded in 1992. At the time, most of the seats were taken from the old main stand at Leicester City's Filbert Street ground when The Foxes built the new Carling Stand.

Nickname: The Kirkby Roaders. Again, this one seems pretty obvious. The team play at Kirkby Road, so naturally they call themselves, rather unoriginally, after the ground itself. It even says 'The Kirkby Roaders' on the club crest. Maybe it's all just a massive coincidence.

Notable Former Players: Not much to say here. Lee Colkin, I suppose. Former Northampton Town, Leyton Orient, Morecambe and Burton Albion defender. Spent more than half of his career in non-league football. Nothing to write home about anyway.


So there we go. 3 down, urm.....18 to go! I think. My maths was never brilliant. Tomorrow we'll have a look at Totton's closest rivals for this season, Bashley, as well as Bedford Town and Brackley, who are both much further away. As is the case with most of the teams in the league this season. Cosmic.

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