VELOCITY WESSEX FOOTBALL LEAGUE Div One
Cove FC HistoryCove Football Club was formed in 1897 by a group of local friends playing on a field behind their favourite Public House.
Later moving to a more central location, Cove Green became their home until 1973, when they moved to their present ground at the Oak Farm Stadium. Playing their football in The Surrey Leagues, Cove enjoyed success for many years, winning more than their fair share of silverware including the League Championship 3 years in succession and a double in that period.
In 1973, the club decided to upgrade and were accepted into the Hampshire Leagues, but had to leave 'The Green' for safety reasons and play at Oak Farm. The Division 4 Championship was won at the first attempt, and the Division 3 title followed 2 years later. After a couple of seasons, Cove finished Runners-Up in Division 2, but decided to withdraw from this league due to the time incurred travelling to away matches at Portsmouth or Southampton. This was before the M3 motorway was built and all roads were A and B types.
They returned to the more local Combined Counties League in 1980 and won the League Cup beating close neighbours and rivals Ash United. Since moving into their new home, many changes have taken place at Oak Farm with the installation of floodlights a concrete perimeter wall and stand in their quest to host senior non-league football. These achievements are the more remarkable with Farnborough Town (then Conference League) and Aldershot Town (then Football League) just a couple of miles down the road.
In 1990, Cove was given the opportunity to join the Vauxhall League (now Ryman League) after finishing third. New manager â€˜Chickâ€™ Botley assembled a squad strong enough to finish a respectable fourth in their first season. Two more successful seasons followed narrowly missing out on promotion, one being a final day defeat by the new Aldershot Town.
Due to the ever spiralling cost of football at this level, Cove were forced to withdraw from their league and after 3 unsuccessful attempts to join the Wessex League, had to revert back into The Combined Counties League, where they remained with little success. In 2009, the club appointed Koo Dumbuya as manager and a member of the Steve Beeks double winning team and well known around the area. Having played professional football for Aldershot and Brentford, the club decided his playing experience and knowledge could be invaluable and in his first season, Cove won the Southern Combination Cup with a 4-0 victory over Chessington and Hook.
In Season 2010-11, Cove won the Combined Counties League Cup with a
2-0 win over Bedfont, followed by a victory over Farnborough Town in the semi-final of the Aldershot Senior Cup before losing to Fleet Town in the final.
In 2011 manager Koo Dumbuya left the club after 4 years as player/manager to take up a post at Chertsey Town, leaving a big hole to fill as his knowledge of local football was immense.
Cove FC History continued...During season 2012-13 following some poor performances, the club employed an ex-player Anthony Millerick who brought instant success with the winning of the Aldershot Senior Cup and a 3-0 victory over Fleet Spurs, also finishing 3rd in the League, our highest position for many a year.
2013-2014 was another successful season finishing 5th after a run of 22 games, 19 wins and 1 defeat and 2 draws. Cove thrived in 2014-2015 as well sitting on top of the league for half the season, but unable to go for promotion due to the cost of ground improvements and travel, saw a considerable dip in form, leaving Cove with a fifth place finish and a mass exodus of management and players. With hindsight a poor decision by the committee at the time.
A complete change of personnel followed with the appointment of Dave Matthews as manager, following his success as a Youth Team coach. However, our young team of hopefuls were unable to compete at this level and after some poor results found ourselves at the foot of the table many points adrift of safety. Following Daveâ€™s resignation at Christmas, new manager Paul Duncan and assistant Salvatore Diprima set about trying to save our Premier status, but despite some improved performances the points difference right at the bottom was too much and hence we found ourselves relegated to the CCFL Division One. This is the first time in the clubs 120 year history that Cove had to face up to relegation.
Paul Duncan left so a decision to appoint Salvatore Diprima as manager soon followed. The 2017-18 season started well enough but by Christmas Salvatore has been unsuccessful trying to build a new team and improve our football standard. Cove FC had been in the bottom three for most of the season, therefore he was sacked as first team manager in February 2018. Temporary management was passed to his assistant Josh Taylor for the remainder of the season. Josh was appointed First Team Manager for 2018 -19 after his successful spell in charge for the last 12 games of 2017-18 and lifting Cove off the bottom of the league and ensuring we stayed in CCL div 1. ...
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Cove FC History continued...The 2018-19 season was a huge challenge. Unfortunately, Cove were never far from the bottom three; the squad of players was not constant enough and too many changes brought bad results. Cove were rock bottom at the end of the season and faced relegation to step 7.
Josh resigned in May 2019. At the same time, we received the bad news we had been relegated to step 7 and the Hampshire Premier league. An all-time low for those involved at the club. The job of finding a new manager began and Joe Lawler who was presently managing Overton FC very successfully was appointed. We also received the great news that we had been granted a reprieve by the FA for relegation. Successful appeals by a local club had left a space for CCL div 1 so Cove remained.
Joe’s first season was interrupted by the Covid 19 pandemic, but he had successfully managed the club to a mid-table position with several games left which could have improved based on the teams we had left to play, some of whom were struggling at the time. With the null and voided season of 2020—21 we continued to build while football was suspended. In October 2021 Joe unexpectedly resigned for an opportunity to manage Tadley Calleva FC who are presently step 5 and have ambitions to expand a few years ahead of ours. Joe struggled with the decision and was very remorseful, but we wished him all the best and I am pleased to say we remain in contact.
After a recruitment campaign which saw many candidates apply Chris Powell has accepted the position of First Team Manager. Chris has been at the club for 2 years coaching the ACYL U18 and SYL U16’s and when asked to help out in the interim he did not hesitate. He already has CCL experience and after successfully managing to field a team of quality players after many players under Joe left and his ability to manage winning ways in the first 4 or 5 games, it was decided he was the best person for the job and was offered the position.
Chris had a huge task for the remainder of the 2021-22 season; firstly, fulfilling fixtures and secondly building a squad which might challenge for a mid-table position and safety. With the ever-changing squad, injuries and lack of quality players available locally, Chris and his management team struggled for results but we survived the season and fulfilled every fixture. Although finishing 2nd from bottom our PPG statistics saved us from relegation and we remain in CCL1 for 2022-23.
A special mention to Ron Brown, who in 1990 received an FA Award for 50 years’ service to Cove FC, including 35 years as secretary. Ron retired in 1982 passing the reins to his son Graham who has himself reached the milestone of 35 years’ service to the club. Sadly Ron passed away in 2009 after 70 years’ service including 20 years as Club President.
Awards by Hampshire FA: Frank Kenton 25 years’ service and Graham Brown - 35 years’ service.
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VELOCITY WESSEX FOOTBALL LEAGUE Div One