Tuesday 10th July 2018 ko 19.45
AYLESBURY FC 3 (Ware 26 Coyle 75 Touceda 87)
OXFORD UNITED U18 0
If you’re in Aylesbury and you’re a football fan then I think you feel drawn to Buckingham Road. Aylesbury United played here from the mid- ’80’s until a rent dispute saw them depart to a nomadic life, they’re currently sharing Chesham United. But 12 years later the ground is more-or-less in situ, albeit in a state where it awaits demolition, the club having ruled out even moving back, and the developers seemingly just waiting for the mod.
It’s a sad end for a ground that famously hosted the England team in 1988 and where new Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli despatched a ball-boy to the nearby newsagent for a packet of cigarettes in 1998 before they played Ducks in the Italian’s first game as player-manager.
The upshot of it all is that Aylesbury FC are now the only senior team in the town, playing on the western edge of the town, near Aylesbury Vale Parkway station. But let’s avoid any doubt as to who is who. Aylesbury United play in Chesham, Aylesbury FC play in Aylesbury.
Aylesbury FC started life in the 1930’s near to King Cross, London as the works team of optical firm Negretti and Zambra. The football club moved with the company to the Stocklake district of Aylesbury in 1949, and changed their name to Stocklake when Negretti and Zambra sold the ground to the local council and stopped funding to the club. Everything changed once again in 2000, the club merged with Belgrave FC, and moved to Belgrave’s ground at Haywood Way becoming Haywood United in the process
In 2005 the club became Aylesbury Vale, and my first visit to Haywood Way saw Aylesbury Vale play Aylesbury United…. Perhaps you can see the reason for my confusion! The two clubs don’t have identity crises, but I certainly did! Aylesbury Vale became Aylesbury FC in 2009, a year before they won promotion to the Southern League.
Many years later much has changed, but fish and chips at the nearby Codfather chippy hasn’t but parking up near the ground it became obvious that for the now Southern League members just about everything has changed! The ground I’d visited was a ramshackle affair, barely up to the the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midland League that the club inhabited.
Now the ground fulfills Southern League standards easily but hasn’t lost the home-spun charm the old stadium always had. I loved the fact on a hot day the club decided to stock ice lollies, larger clubs don’t think on their feet like that! The intrigue came in the form of Oxford United’s Under 18’s and credit to both clubs for making it crystal clear that was the side that would be travelling here.
The visitors included 16 year-old wonderkid Fabio Lopes, but as beautifully as the shaggy-haired teenager passed and o moved he couldn’t do enough to force his will on the game and Aylesbury were old and wily enough to pick off the young upstarts as they tired.
It was a highly enjoyable evening out and I expect there was enough in the fixture to satisfy both clubs’ management too. The sun finally set as I pondered another encounter with the fishes at The Codfather.