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 spiraling 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.
2014-2015 was yet another very successful year 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.
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 the resignation of Dave 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 was faced with 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. 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. The club structure has changed and focus is on building a new senior side ably supported by new Under 18 and Under 21 football sides. The future is to have a thriving family club including all 20 plus youth teams and parents, walking football and local sponsors. This 2016-17 season has been very difficult so far but improvements are everywhere as Salvatore builds a new team and club. The journey will be a long one to return to previous successes but we are determined to get there.
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.
So we have seen a lot and been through a lot over the years and with a new executive committee and some new committee members, we are eagerly moving forward, with new and exciting developments to the clubhouse and the surrounding grounds, we are very excited for the times ahead, while not loosing sight of the clubs long and proud history, something that is on show within the clubhouse, new developments to the Club kitchen and changing rooms, as well as the executive boardroom and clubhouse. We look forward to seeing you there, sharing in the new success of the club.