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What’s going on at Ascot United?

It’s been very quiet at Ascot United so far this summer.

The break up of their history making squad has seen captain Dave Hancock leave for Bracknell Town along with top scorer Joe Grant, midfielder Lee Boon and goalkeeper Chris Grace while midfielder Ross Seldon has chosen to join Binfield.

Hancock and Grace are both returning to a former club, with Grace in particular returning to the ground where his senior non-league career started.

Ascot United captain Dave Hancock lifts the Floodlit Cup. Photo: Mark Pugh.

Ascot United captain Dave Hancock lifts the 2015/16 Floodlit Cup. Photo: Mark Pugh.

We’ve used the image above a few times, but it’s the culmination of the last few years work by managers Jeff Lamb and Paul McGrotty that included two visits to the quarter finals of the FA Vase in the last four seasons – a feat not achieved by any club in East Berkshire, the previous best being Bracknell Town’s run to the fifth round in 1982/83.

The club were also part of the first FA Cup match broadcast over facebook in 2011 when they were beaten 2-1 by Wembley in the Extra Preliminary Round

A modern club with a successful recent history

The Yellamen as they are known, boast one of the largest youth setups in the country and have over 750 registered players according to ascotunited.net. The senior men’s setup has gone from strength to strength since their promotion to the Hellenic League in 2007.

The men’s side had only joined the senior division of the Reading Football League (now Thames Valley Premier League) in 2001, and by 2009 they reached the highest level to date with promotion to the Hellenic Premier League.

Lee Boon scores a late winner for Ascot United over Binfield - 11th April 2016. Photo: Colin Byers.

Lee Boon scores a late winner for Ascot United over Binfield – 11th April 2016. Photo: Colin Byers.

In the last four years the club have never finished outside the top 10, with two third placed finishes and a fourth place last time out.

So why the ‘exodus’?

Former captain Hancock posted the following on his twitter page:

We have seen messages posted on the unofficial Hellenic League fans forum that the club lacks the ambition to move up to step four of the football pyramid, but we prefer the argument put forward by ‘Lowther Lip’ on the board: Ascot don’t lack ambition. They have come from nowhere in about a decade. New clubhouse, stand, lights, the lot. Their facility is brilliant but it would never be good enough for Step 4. Also the fan base is not big enough to support that level of football. They have simply reached the zenith of their potential because of their ambition not because they lack it.

You can read the full thread here.

It’s also well worth remembering the volunteer aspect of our non-league clubs. People need holidays and that just because Ascot have been quiet in terms of announcing players, it doesn’t mean that work is not taking place on that front.

United have though made a signing since we first put finger to keyboard on this article, you can read who hear, and we will continue to update the ‘player signings’ page with the latest news.

We have contacted Ascot United for comment.

Update: Ascot have announced a string of signings for the new season. Details here.

Main image: The Ascot United squad celebrate winning the Floodlit Cup by Mark Pugh.

What do you think of Ascot’s chances this season? Will they be able to build on the success of recent seasons? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tom Canning

Tom is the co-editor of FootballinBracknell. He has played at the lowest possible level of football. In real life Tom works for Trinity Mirror.

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  1. […] The goalkeeper joins a club undergoing a major rebuilding phase after a large proportion of the record breaking Ascot side left for pastures new over the summer. […]

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