History Of Cove F C

Cove 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 ‘Chick’ 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.   

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.  He accepted the challenge of building a new team capable of retaining their position in the Premier Division. 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 Dave’s resignation at Christmas, new manager Paul Duncan 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.   

In the summer of 2016 Cove desperately needed a change; both in personnel responsible for the club overall and football strategy going forward.  It also needed a huge amount of work to the clubhouse and grounds.  The whole place needed an overhaul.  Those responsible for the last 15 years had let it go and driven it into the ground.  Cove FC had to survive.  The result was several resignations from the old committee and new ideas and aspirations from many in the Youth setup and new Chairman Salvatore Diprima saw the start of a new era.  The club structure has changed and focus was on building a new senior side ably supported by new Under 18 and Reserve sides.  The future is to have a thriving family club including all 23 plus youth teams and parents, walking football and local sponsors.  In the meantime the football management efforts of Paul Duncan and Salv Diprima were not good enough and Cove avoided relegation from CCFL due to another club leaving.  A must needed reprieve but by now Paul Duncan had left and Salv took the Manager role.     

This 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.  Management was been passed to his assistant Josh Taylor for the remainder of the season.  Salvatore immediately resigned as Chairman and left the club.  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.  The 2018-19 season was a huge challenge as we rebuild from the last 3 years of chaos ruling and decision making from the last committee.  Unfortunately Cove were never far from the bottom three and although a series of positive results came around Christmas the squad of players was not constant enough and too many changes brought negative results.  A poor discipline record coupled with injuries meant the last few matches were a shambles.  Cove were rock bottom at the end of the season and faced relegation to step 7.   

The committee were very surprised to receive the resignation from Josh in May even though he had our full backing.  At the same time, the club 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 but the job of selecting a new manager was still outstanding so adverts were placed on social media.  From the many applicants received four were selected for interview.  The competition was very close with the standard of candidate was very high but eventually Joe Lawler who was managing Overton FC very successfully was appointed.  The club is very pleased to have Joe on board and we look forward to 2019-20 season.   

A special mention to Ron Brown, who in 1990 received an F.A. 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 until just recently remained in the job. Sadly Ron passed away in 2009 after 70 years’ service including 20 years as Club President.   

Awards by Hampshire FA: Frank Kenton and Graham Brown - 25 years’ service.

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