You may remember that in May we held the Berkshire Virtual County FA Cup on Twitter. One of the major positives to come out of it was connecting with a number of clubs we’d not done so with before, particularly in the East Berks Football League (EBFL).
Among those clubs we got to know a little better were 2019/20 champions Old Windsor who at the time of the competitions curtailment, were top of the league with 10 wins from 10 games.
We spoke to Gary Wade about the clubs biggest moments, its history, the long wait for a Fielden Cup win and having a former Reading FC man on the club’s books.
What is the ambition for the club? E.G. move up the pyramid? Provide a service for the community?
The Football Club is an FA Charter Standard club which plays an integral part of Old Windsor village life. The aim of the club is to give the local community a chance to either play for or support us and bring pleasure to the local community. As well as two Saturday men teams there is also a successful youth section called Old Windsor Tigers which offers children of all abilities between the age of 5 and 18 the chance to play football. The current membership of Old Windsor FC and Old Windsor Tigers is pushing 300 members which makes them one of the largest, if not the largest sporting club in Old Windsor.
Who are the big characters and volunteers at your club? Who makes the club tick?
Gary Wade – Club chairman, former player and has been involved with running the club for the last 30 years. Without his hard work, this club would not be where we are today.
Russell Taylor – First team manager for August 2019, previous season assistant manager. A former player for the Sunday team.
Loz Chetwynd – Reserve team player-manager, been a player at the club for the last 10 years.
Luke Wade – Helps run both teams as well as playing. Longest-serving current player with over 13 years representing the team.
Lee Short – Club captain and Instagram expert. Plays a big part in our social media posts
What is the big moment in the club’s history?
Old Windsor Football formed as a village team in 1898, since then the club colours have been distinctive red and black stripes. It is not clear when Old Windsor first started playing League football or if they were a founder member of the Slough and District League in 1912, but they were competing in the League by 1920. One of the most successful times in the club’s history was immediately after the second world war, when the team won the first division as well as twice being runners up in the Slough Town cup, as well as being runners up in the Ascot and Fielden Cup in 1947/48 and 1948/49. Between the ’50s and 80’s the club ran a first and reserve team in the Slough and District League.
Then in 1988 the Football Club amalgamated with the Working Men’s Club and switched to the East Berks League on a Saturday and Thames Valley League on Sunday’s. In their second season 89/90 and 90/91 the team went on a 2 year unbeaten League run winning division 4 and 3 in successive seasons as well as the Presidents cup. This was followed 2 seasons later with promotion to the top division where they competed for 16 seasons.
Since 2007 the Saturday section has had 2 teams, the first team having back to back relegation in seasons 2008/09 and 2009/10 to Division two but bouncing back to win Division 2 at the first attempt in 2012/13. In the 2014/15 season, the team gained promotion back to the Premier Division finishing runners up in Division One.
After consolidating and becoming a well-respected Premier Division team the long wait for the title ended in the 2019/20 season with the team winning every league game they played, which we see as the greatest achievement in the clubs history.
The Reserve team started in Division 4, winning Division 4 in 2012/13 and unfortunately relegation followed 2013/14 back to Division 3. After a few years of not having a reserve side we had the numbers to come back in 2019/20 season which saw the side go unbeaten in division two, later being awarded the trophy on a points per game calculation.
The cup competitions have seen the club get to three Fielden Cup finals 2005/6, 2006/07 and 2011/12, unfortunately ending runners up for all three. We also made the Maidenhead & Norfolkian Cup final in 2018/19 where the club ended up being awarded the trophy with the opposition fielding an ineligible player in the final.
Old Windsor FC has run a Sunday team for 25 years from 1985 which had unrivalled success in the local area. It all started in 1985/6 when the team first started and came runners up in Division 5 of the Thames Valley League. The team then progressed to the premier division in 1993 by coming runners up in Division 1 1992/3. The first team since then won the Premier Division in 97/98, 09/10 and 10 /11, runners up in 98/99 as well as having cup successes. League Cup winners 2010 /11 in the 3rd League Cup final they reached the others being 96/97, 07/08. Other cup successes for our Sunday teams include winning the Roy Lester Trophy 2011/12 and 2012/13, League Trophy 2011/12 and the Bob Smith 2013/14. Also, the teams were runners up in the Bob Smith Cup 2011/12, the Roy Lester Cup in 2010/11 and 2011/12 as well as the League Cup in 2013/14.
The reserves teams have also won League Titles Division 4 in 98/99, 2009/10, Division 3 in 10/11, Division 1 2011 /12 and runners up 2012/13. The highlight of this era was when the first team beat the Reserves in an all Old Windsor Final in 2011/12.
Who would you say has been your best ever player and why?
We are going to do this slightly different and go through our players of the decade starting from the 50s.
50’s is Jimmy Critcher who was one of the greatest goalscorers our club has produced. We don’t have the stats, but we’re informed it was a shock if he didn’t come off the pitch bagging at least two.
60’s Kevin Cleary many of the older generation will say this is the greatest player to play for Old Windsor, two great feet and the opposition couldn’t get near him.
70’s Malcolm Swain after finishing at Reading FC Malcolm played for many years at Old Windsor. From those that have played with him have said he would pick a pass from anywhere on the pitch. A famous quote from an opposition player was “”your so good I’m surprised you didn’t take the corner and head it in.
80’s Barry Clarke great club man who stills come to watch till this day. Loved a big tackle and you certainly wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him.
90’s is a joint award, Paul Blanchard who was an outstanding CB. Won everything in the air and was very quick for his height, also very good on the ball for a defender. Gary Wade a rapid striker, if he got past you as a defender he was away. If we had all the records he is likely the top goalscorer the club has ever had, and also likely the record appearance maker.
00’s Arron Laflin played for the clubs Sunday side and captained them to an unprecedented amount of success. A brilliant leader who loved a battle. At times dragged the team from the jaws of defeat to victory.
10’s Luke Wade playing Saturday’s and Sunday’s won various player of the year awards in the early to middle part of the decade. Helped guide the Saturday team from division two to the premier division scoring many goals from midfield.
20’s (only the one season) Can’t pick between the boys in this squad. I would say by far the best squad that the club has ever had at its disposal. If the squad stays together the next ten years I have no idea who would take the player of the decade award.
Overall Star Man (from the players I’ve seen): Malcolm Swain
Links and social media
Club name: Old Windsor Football Club Contact Email: [email protected]
Club website: www.oldwindsorfc.co.uk
Who sponsors the club?: The Old Windsor Club – www.oldwindsorclub.uk
Does your club have a youth/junior section?: Yes, Old Windsor Tigers – www.owtfc.org
Club kit colours (home and away): Red and Black stripes
Ground and address: Old Windsor Recreation Ground, Saint Luke’s Road, Old Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 2QX.
Is there an entry fee to game and what are the prices?: Free.
Are refreshments available at the ground? If so what is available?: Refreshments in clubhouse both before and after the game, hot and cold drinks.
Does the ground have any of the following? (Tick any that apply): Toilets, Car Park, Bar, Disabled access.