40th Anniversary

Book Tickets For Our 40th Anniversary Dinner on Saturday the 24th of September


WINNERS IN HOLLAND

hollandThanks to Simon Spoor for this great picture from the past. It’s the Woburn Lions team that won the very first tournament, in Bocholtz in Southern Holland. The boys in the squad were aged U12 at the time.
In the picture are (back row) Steve Litchfield, Mark Whittle, Mark Russell, Simon Spoor (front row) Kevin Bates, the keepers name ??  and Nigel Pattison.

MORE FROM ‘THE TANNER COLLECTION’

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BELGIUM, 1988

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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT BEAR ?

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EXTRACTS FROM 1991 END OF SEASON NEWSLETTER

It may be 2016, but the triumphs, near misses, disappointments, successes….. and yes, even excuses (or should I say mitigating circumstances) are all still very much the same !

The most important thing, today and then, is that we all work together as a team to deliver our true potential whilst having loads of fun along the way.

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 IT ALL HAPPENED IN 1992

1992 Under 16s

 

Leeds United are 1st Division Champions, Luton Town become founder members of the new Premier League (but still drop out of the top flight after 10 years), Liverpool win the FA Cup, and it’s a pretty good year for Woburn Lions U16s.


BELGIUM BOUND

Scan0015April 1992  saw the Lions competing very successfully in a tournament in Belgium. Plenty of happy memories as the pictures show:-

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THE TANNER COLLECTION…part one

Scan0007With so much material to include, some vintage tournament material to start with. The Lionesses and Lions Tournaments are not far away now. If you’re an ex-player, coach, volunteer or parent, why not come along to Woburn Village Playing Fields on 25th/26th June (Lionesses) or 2nd/3rd July (Lions) and enjoy how your tournaments have grown to be two of the biggest and best in the region.

Scan0010Here’s a team from the 1990’s that would have taken part in plenty of Woburn tournaments. Anyone want to put names to faces ?

1991 Secretarys reportAnd some things just don’t change !  A lot of voluntary work behind the scenes….. but always very much worth it.

 


WOBURN TO AUSTRIA…. via  NORWICH CITY

Many thanks to Simon Spoor for sending in this unusual looking picture.

image_previewIt includes a lad that played for Woburn Lions representing Norwich City in a tournament in Austria, hence the snow!

The boy is Frazer Owen, he’s the one at the end, standing next to the ‘keeper. Frazer played for the Lions plus he helped Simon with the last team he managed up until 1992. Simon recalls Frazer as a very talented player who very nearly achieved a pro contract.

 

 


Many thanks to Brian Tanner for all the great pictures and memorabilia he has supplied us with. Over the next few months we will include plenty of that material on the website.

IMG_0020Brian got involved with the Club initially assisting Dennis Miller & then Paul Mowat with his highly successful team. By the early 1990’s Brian was managing his own successful team, serving the Club in many ways including as Chairman after Bill Beasley for 3 years from 1992 and before Bernard Wright took the reins.

LIONS 90'S BADGEDuring his tenure the Club continued to flourish, with some important decisions taken on allowing football to be played on the whole of Woburn Village Playing Fields and the formal establishment of the large pitch at Aspley Common.

Indeed Brian went on to start his own Football Club… AFC Brickhill (now Aslpey Guise).


WHERE ARE YOU NOW ?

It’s always a pleasure to meet up with former Lions and Lionesses. This is particularly true of a player whose Lions’ career spanned two centuries….. well he started in the 20th and finished in the 21st Century.  His Dad managed the team, and he’s kindly sent us these pictures:-

Under 9's, Crawley Road in 1998.

Under 9’s, Crawley Road in 1998. Before pre season games vs Ampthill Town. Backrow left to right – Olly Miller, Nick Skolsky, Dean Catlow, Martin, Jonny Snook, Ollie Huxtable, Tom Cain Front row left to write – James Slough, Jack Weston, Lewis Murray, Calvin Moore, Chris Parish, Lewis Clarke.

 

Half Time Team Talk by Manager, Andy Skolsky vs Ampthill Town in 1998.

Half Time Team Talk by Manager, Andy Skolsky vs Ampthill Town in 1998.

2003 U14 League Cup Winners vs Newport Pagnell (5-3):- Captain Nick Skolsky (hat trick) plus goals from Lewis Clarke and Liam Wright. Managed by Rob Cain and Adrian Clarke.

2003 U14 League Cup Winners vs Newport Pagnell (5-3):-
Captain Nick Skolsky (hat trick) plus goals from Lewis Clarke and Liam Wright.
Managed by Rob Cain and Adrian Clarke.

Thanks to Nick Skolsky for sending in these great pictures. Also a big thank you for all the help he is now giving the Club in his role managing the PowerLeague in Milton Keynes.

If you played in Nicks’ team, or indeed any Lions or Lionesses teams of the past, we’d love to hear your stories, see your pictures and find out more. Email:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


ANOTHER ONE FOR THE ARCHIVES !

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Thanks again to Simon Spoor (Club founder) for digging this picture out from 1977. STUART McCREIGHT (the one on the end) and ANNE SPOOR (or Sabin as she was back then) are pictured on the first tour the Club took to Valkenburg in Holland. He can’t recall the the name of the lad in the middle……. anyone know ?

If you have any old pictures from the Lions/Lionesses of the past, please send them in:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


 

IN OR OUT OF EUROPE ?

With a referendum looming, much debate and hot air about where the UK’s future lies !

In the past, Woburn Lions have been very much INTO EUROPE.

Wlions Belgium[1]

The adjacent press cutting details a tour to Belgium…… and there were return matches later in England.  Thanks to Nick Alderson for supplying this gem. Does anyone remember anything about the trip ?

European football was not uncommon for the Lions of old. Another picture shows the opening ceremony of a tournament in Denmark and one from France. Are you in these pictures…. tell us what you remember.  Apart from Florida, were there any other tours ?

Following the Lions to Paris

Following the Lions to Paris

 

 

 

 

Lining up in France

Lining up in France


 

 

 

 

 

 




Woburn Super Sixes

Both the Lions & Lionesses tournaments have grown to become hugely significant events for not only our Club but also all those teams that come from far and wide to take part.  Now in its’ 33rd year, pictured above is the tournament programme cover from the 5th Tournament, together with a press cutting detailing the following years’ event. Is Belgium the furthest distance a competing team has come to play in the tournament ? Probably hard to beat…. unless you know different ?


First Lions badge

Let’s get our facts right !

One of the really useful things about researching the Club’s history is that it gives so many people the chance to ‘put the record straight’ on so many aspects of an eventful forty years. Having said that, we all know football is about opinions, and we have plenty of those. Which was the most successful team in the Club’s history ? Who’s the Club’s most famous player ? Who has been the Club’s longest servant ?

Several basic questions that still need an answers relate to the changing face of the Club’s logo.

In 1976 Woburn Lions made use of a ‘rampant red lion’ similar to that used by the Duke of Bedford.  The one featured above is a representation (but is it accurate ?) Please let us know. We don’t know how long it was used for , but Simon Spoor (founder) tells us that a number were printed off on a roll of fabric, and then individually cut off and sewn on by his girlfriend (now wife). Undoubtedly involvement and time spent with the Lions helped cement a long relationship !  We also don’t know if there have been any other Club badges in between.

If you can fill in the gaps, please get in touch. robert.hill62@btinternet.com


First kit – CORRECTION !

Lions' first shirt

Lions’ first shirt

We have now been reliably informed that the Club’s first kit WAS NOT Partick Thistle’s red yellow & black number…. a relief for those of us with a strange aversion to that combination !

In fact the first kit was a vintage Wales national kit as shown.  We’ve no pictures of the team in that (yet) or indeed an old shirt (must be one out there).

5-a-side tournament held @ Stantonbury Campus around1977/78. Under 10’s or 11’s. BACK ROW – Simon Spoor , Mark Whittle, Russell Placket, Andy Stocker, Paul Read. FRONT ROW - Thom Crabb, Dave Stocker, Nick Alderson.

We also understand that the yellow Leeds away shirt (above) was also in use very early on.

For the record, Partick Thistle’s stripes appeared in the late 80’s !

If you still have any old Woburn Lions /Lionesses shirts, the Club would really like to hear from you:- email robert.hill62@btinternet.com


Memories are coming in !

Woburn Lions Florida 1

The Club’s heritage is a vital part of its’ future, & the Lions’ tour of Florida must surely be one of the most memorable trips any of our teams have ever made.  Follow this link for a taster of what they got up to:- ’89 Lions tour video


 

 1991 League Champions

Thanks to all those who have been sending in their photos and memories from the past. We’re beginning to put together quite a collection !  But we still need more, particularly from the Lionesses.

Woburn Lions U13 champions 1991

Feature picture from the past is of the highly successful 1991 Under 13 team who were crowned League Champions.  Pictured in familiar surroundings (not much has changed), there still seems to be plenty of that famous Woburn mud around.  Also a small addition standing in the doorway…. any idea who he/she is ?  I wonder if they went on to play for the Lions or Lionesses ?

Answers and any more ‘items of historical interest’ or Lions/Lionesses trivia :- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


In the beginning

Woburn Lions’ first home ground was at Timber Lane in Woburn.

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Pictued as it is today, the gently sloping site rolls down in the direction of St Marys Church.  Currently meadow land, the site is currently the subject of a planning application to build 10 dwellings (see below).

Timber Lane Dev

Anyone with any pictures of football at Timber Lane, please get in touch:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


Lido swim helped kick-start club

Back in 1976, the founders of our Club were faced with many challenges. Funds were needed to secure the use of the old Timber Lane playing field in Woburn for home matches, whilst the boys also needed some kit.  Subs were paid on a weekly basis, soadditional funds had to be found and a sponsored swim at Woburn Lido was one of a number of creative fundraising ventures.

Sponsored swim at Woburn Lido 1991.

Sponsored swim at Woburn Lido 1991.

Pictured above is a similar event ahead of the 1991 trip to Florida, but does anyone have any pictures of the original event ?

Rental on Timber Lane was paid, and a kit was purchased…….. but not the claret & blue we now know.

Future installment to include details of that first match in that first kit with links ‘North of the border’.


 

Lions 78-83

Thom Crabbe recently got back in touch with the Club. Having spent some 20 years in London, he moved back to the area 7 years ago and now lives in Aspley Guise.  Thom played for the Lions from about 1978 – 82/3 including a couple of years as captain. These are some of his memories, together with pics and further memories from Nick Alderson (his son & daughters all playing for Lions and Lionesses teams today).

“We played initially in the MK league usually coming runner up to Water Eaton – bit tougher than us! I remember beating Saffron Cubs 17-0 once. We then played in the Chiltern League mainly against teams in Luton and round about. That league was stronger and we were more mid table. St Joseph’s, an Irish Club team, were dominant and included a young Kingsley Black -later Luton, Forest and NI international – he was excellent”.
RADI ANTIC & KINGSLEY BLACK
We won a couple of five a side tournaments. I remember winning an evening competition organised by Luton Town where their first time players were guest coahes for the night. We had Radi Antic who was really enthusiastic. After us he went on to manage Barcalona many years later. He also scored the goal that kept Luton in the old first division and prompted David Pleat’s famous skipping routine.”

“The team was run and coached by Simon Spoor, training at Aspley Guise Common and indoors at Lord Grey School in Bletchley. He had a little Fiat 126 which lads crammed into and we used to have a flask of coffee at half time. We played home games first at Fulbrook Middle School, then at Timber Lane in Woburn now an overgrown field and the old changing room still there, it was a bit of a slopey and heavy pitch. End of season awards at Aspley Village Hall”.

“We did tours to Belgium…. exciting as we played under floodlights and under age drinking! Also a team of German lads came over to play us”.

Late 70's at Fulbrook Middle School. Lions in yellow exchanging pennants with a team from Belgium.

Late 70’s at Fulbrook Middle School. Lions in yellow exchanging pennants with a team from Belgium.

Nick Alderson also recalls playing the Belgiums both away and then at home, 11-a-side. “It was pretty unique for any team to have their own coach” (wheeled variety in the background).

5-a-side tournament held @ Stantonbury Campus around1977/78. Under 10’s or 11’s. BACK ROW – Simon Spoor , Mark Whittle, Russell Placket, Andy Stocker, Paul Read. FRONT ROW - Thom Crabb, Dave Stocker, Nick Alderson.

5-a-side tournament held @ Stantonbury Campus around1977/78. Under 10’s or 11’s.
BACK ROW – Simon Spoor , Mark Whittle, Russell Placket, Andy Stocker, Paul Read.
FRONT ROW – Thom Crabb, Dave Stocker, Nick Alderson.

“Mainstays of the team were Steve Lichfield, Paul Read, Nigel Pattison, Nick Circuit, Andy and David Stocker (twins- one in goal one striker!) Mark Whittle, Jonny Corbett ( who I think played for Aylesbury later). Quite a lot of lads actually from Woburn and think we had three teams at that time”.

Thanks to Thom & Nick for sharing their memories.  If you have any memorabilia, pics, stories etc, or can just help fill in the gaps….. please get in touch:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


40 YEARS OF AWAY DAY TRAVEL

Like most football clubs, methods of getting to matches have been varied to say the least!

In the early days it was not uncommon for up to 7 players to cram into Simon Spoors’ Fiat 127 !  “Lucky it had a sun roof so they could stand up” recalled Simon.

Fiat 127

7 players in a 127……. ‘quite remarkable’.

Not sure if this was strictly part of Pat’s run, & no sign of a black & white cat from this shot of Paul Mowat’s team in the 80’s.

Woburn Lions... a very 'Special Delivery'.

Woburn Lions… a very ‘Special Delivery’.

However, some away day travel has been more upmarket. Certainly the Virgin Jumbo that took the boys to Florida in ’89 was pretty impressive.Virgin 747Even in the early days, coaches (with wheels) did feature in Woburn Lions matches.  “Not for us lot to travel in…. it was hard enough to get kit for everyone” commented Nick Alderson (70’s player and current parent).  “But a touring Belgium side turned up in one at Fulbrook School to play us…. very unusual in those days.”

Is that a Bedford YMT/Plaxton 53 seater ?

Is that a Bedford YMT/Plaxton 53 seater ?

More recently it has become a regular away day for several of our teams on a double decker coach for the Hatters Cup in Luton.

I’m sure there must be loads of other travel tales…. and maybe even some pics ?  If you have any, please get in touch:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


 

Off to a winning start.

ack in 1976, Woburn Lions had attempted to enter the then Beds Youth League. However, with a 2 year age range of players (10-12 years), the application was rejected.  The newly created Milton Keynes Youth League was far more flexible, and so the first competitive match the Woburn Lions were involved in was away at Great Horwood in that league.  By all accounts, the boys gave an excellent account of themselves winning 11-2 !  The score could well have been even more impressive had the opposition manager not decided his team had had enough of the conditions (nothing to do with the goals conceded then) and decided to call an end to proceedings.  That first season Woburn Lions finished a highly credible 4th.  Also starting out that season in the same league was Water Eaton…. marking the beginning of many encounters and rivalry between 2 successful clubs.

…… and that first kit ?

The first Woburn Lions shirts.... as re-used in 1987/8 by Paul Mowat's team.

The first Woburn Lions shirts…. as re-used in 1987/8 by Paul Mowat’s team.

 Not the customary claret & blue we are all so familiar with.  Instead a touch of ‘rhubarb & custard’ as worn by Partick Thistle !

Does anyone have pictures of that first match/kit, or even a shirt ?  Please get in touch:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com


 

‘Probably the most successful Lions team’

Success, they say, is relative.  Certainly Simon Spoor’s emails remind us that ‘Money can’t buy happiness…but it sure makes misery easier to live with’!  From the perspective of our Football Club, we try to see our mission as delivering an enjoyable footballing experience to as many youngsters as possible, for as long as is possible, and in so doing help them to achieve their full footballing potential. Success is measured in life skills, friendships, team work and giving back to our community.

But there’s no getting away from it, winning certainly helps to make all those other things happen.  So it’s important to celebrate, and we’ve been reliably informed that one Lions team that has probably done that more than any other is Paul Mowat’s team of the 80’s and 90’s (unless anyone else knows differently).

Paul still lives in Woburn Sands, and we are indebted to him for all the pictures and press cuttings he has made available to us.  His team went on to win just about everything that was going, however the pictures really do tell the stories.  For all our current and future players, coaches, volunteers & parents, undoubtedly inspiration for all of us:-

1985.. a team is born.

1985.. a team is born.

Looking the part

Looking the part

Tournament successes

Tournament successes

and again

and again

Silverware building up

Silverware building up

Success in France

Success in France

Florida tour

Florida tour

and even more

and even more

Some haul !

Some haul !

If you were in Paul’s team, we’d really love to here from you. What were your memories of what must have been a wonderful time ?

Email:- robert.hill62@btinternet.com