Henley Town Awards - 31 May
The Eric Bailey Memorial Cup for the person judged to have contributed most to Henley Town Football Club in the past year has been won by Andy Bryan. This is the fourth time the honour has gone to Bryan.
The following awards have been announced in connection with Henley Town Reserves: Players’ Player of the Year, Kavanly Bamba; Manager’s Player, Jamie Rawlinson; Most Improved Player, Jamie Rawlinson and Ciprian Pintilie (joint); Top Scorer, Danny Blatchford; Clubman, Craig Sinclair; Goal of the Season, Olaniyi Olalere.
Come & Join Us - 25 April
At the recent EGM, Henley Town Football Club stalwart, Jack Hollidge was elected to co-ordinate the group of people who showed interest in filling vacant administrative positions so the club can continue to function next season.
Progress has been made and some jobs have been taken but the important positions of Club Secretary and Club Treasurer still need to be filled as soon as possible. The club also needs volunteers to come along on match days to help out.
The Football Club has been part of Henley life for 141 years so if you can give a few hours each week to help keep the club afloat please contact Jack Hollidge on 07766 108 698 or Geoff Biggs on 07710 795 190
All Is Not Lost At Henley - 17 April
More than a dozen people have expressed an interest in helping run the Henley Town Football Club next season.
They include a former non-league footballer and the secretary of a youth football league. Four members of the management committee are looking to resign at the end of the season and unless replacements are found the club will fold. An extraordinary meeting was held on Wednesday 11 April at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle ground and those interested in offering their services were invited to attend.
Club secretary Geoffrey Biggs welcomed visitors and said he was surprised to see so many new faces. He said: "Over the past number of years we have struggled to make ends meet. The crowds are reducing every year and this is the struggle we face — to raise enough money to keep the club going. It is also about volunteers and there are four of us who have put in over 100 years service to this club and it is getting more and more difficult to find the momentum and drive to keep a club like this alive."
Biggs revealed that club chairman Jamie Butler had handed in his resignation last week due to "work pressures". He said that the club is looking to withdraw from the Hellenic League to avoid paying a fine for not fielding a team next season. Biggs said: "The rules state that if we want to withdraw we had to do it by March 31 or we will be fined £1,000 for the first team and £250 for the reserve team. We have spoken to the league and they have said they are prepared to wait and see for the results of tonight's meeting."
Henley Town has already been relegated into Division 1 East for next season because the club has been unable to build a new stand to meet ground improvements to stay in the Premier Division. Robert Dean, father of club captain Chris, said that the former chairman had told him that the stand had already been organised.
Committee member Tony Kingston, who is looking to step down after 30 years, replied: "The club was told by the town council and town clerk that planning permission wasn't needed but South Oxfordshire District Council said that because it is a fixed stand, it was needed." He said that if they had submitted a planning application a decision would have been made after the league deadline.
Jack Hollidge, who had previously run a children's football school at the club and helped raised £120,000 to buy the clubhouse, suggested forming a project team to give the club direction. He said: "We need a project team to take the club forward and a business plan so we know how much money it takes to run the club and how much we need to fund-raise. We have got some of the best floodlights in the area so we could have a youth team here. We have got the facilities, we have got a pitch and if you get it right, it will earn you money. This is a football club that can be run in many different ways it doesn't need three teams, it only needs one a men's team. I don't think there would be a problem in raising money if you get the right team together."
Steve Bell, the secretary of the Berkshire Youth Development League, said he could supply youth players to play at Henley. He said: "Going back three seasons ago, we used to hold our cup finals here over a weekend and we used to get an abundance of people here but we had an opportunity to move it to Aldermaston and we have over 300 teams from U7s to U16s. We felt that we could be an opportunity for our league to come in possibly with some finance and certainly the experience that we have with younger age groups to form a youth team here at the ground because we know it works."
Mark Cooper, who was a non-league footballer for 16 years and played for AFC Wimbledon and Hendon, said he has "fantastic passion" for the game and could consider getting involved with the Lilywhites if he could understand better how the club was run and its finances. He said introducing a youth team was a great idea, adding: "The football at schoolboy level in this town is phenomenal. Getting the pitch right is also important."
Mike Trendall, who has been at the club for 41 years, estimated that it would cost £13,000 to run a team in the Hellenic league next season. He said that the club owed £6,000 [minus VAT] for the barriers surrounding the pitch, £5,250 to Henley Town Council from a loan and £3,500 to committee members in donations. Although he could say that the club had £2,800 in the bank, he couldn't confirm how much profit the club has made in the last financial year.
Businessman Chris Morgan, from Henley, said: "I am interested [to help] because it is a local club but somebody needs to do up a plan because no one will ever take this on without a balance sheet."
The club agreed to circulate to all interested parties a copy of the club's accounts with a view to holding another meeting to discuss if they are willing to join the club's committee.
Anyone interested in joining the management committee should contact Geoffrey Biggs on either 07710 795 190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The club's match this Saturday in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League will be their last at that level, at any rate for the time being. It will also give them their longest journey of the season as they visit Slimbridge for a 3 p.m. kick-off. Henley cannot finish lower than the 17th position they occupy at present and could go much higher if they win and results elsewhere go their way. But all the evidence suggests that victory is unlikely. Slimbridge stand fifth and could still finish fourth. They have won all seven previous meetings between the clubs, including a 2-1 win at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle in September, when only an inspired display by Shaun Coker kept the score within bounds. Besides this, Henley's form has dropped in their last two games, as they have sustained successive defeats for the first time since November.
The Reserves, who have now been given the points from the fixture that Newbury recently failed to fulfil, also wind up their programme, with two league matches. On Saturday they entertain Binfield Reserves, who have already won the championship of Division 2 (East). The kick-off is at 3 p.m. Wednesday of next week then sees the Reserves travel to Chalfont Wasps Reserves for a 6.30 p.m. kick-off.
Easter Task - 4 April
Henley Town have two home fixtures the next 7 days in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic Football League.
These being games postponed on successive Saturdays during February's snow and frost. On Saturday the visitors are Abingdon Town, who have won their last three matches and stood five places above the Lilywhites. The Abbots beat Henley 4-0 at Culham Road earlier in the season. The game kicks off at 3 p.m.
On Tuesday at 7.45 p.m., Henley play an early return match with Cheltenham Saracens. It will be a daunting task for the Town so soon after last weekend's reverse, though they could still finish above Saracens in the table, and that should give them every incentive to recapture their previous form.
The reserves also have two league matches. On Saturday they travel to Letcombe Reserves, before entertaining Newbury Reserves on Easter Monday. The kick-off time for both games is 3 p.m. Just prior to the transfer deadline, Alex Allen, who had recently been playing in local football, but whose Hellenic League registration remained with the Lilywhites, was transferred to Reading Town.
Take Over Talks At Henley - 31 March
Henley Town could be taken over after the club confirmed it will be relegated at the end of the season.
The Henley Standard reports that club Chairman Jamie Butler (pictured right) is in talks with AFC Henley over merging the two clubs to end its debt crisis. The Lilywhites owe more than £15,000 in unpaid bills, which include loans made by club officials to keep it afloat. Despite sitting 11 points clear of the drop zone, the Lilywhites will be kicked out of the league because they cannot afford to meet league regulations.
Following promotion into the Hellenic Premier Division last season, the club needed to double the amount of seating at the Triangle Ground by March this year. It has been unable to find the £13,000 needed to install two new stands for spectators.
Butler says he will step down at the end of the season and has been holding talks with AFC chairman Dieter Hinke (pictured left). He said: “We have had a meeting to discuss whether we can amalgamate the two clubs but the only way I think we can do that is to let the club go bankrupt so it can start a fresh with no debt. It would probably be the best thing for the club. Henley doesn’t warrant a men’s football team, it doesn’t warrant a good football team. One of our highest gates was about 48 people and for what it costs for referees, we were losing £100 a week. Had we had gates of £100 a week, which every other club in the league gets, it would have been fine.”
A charity match between an ex-Henley Town side against a Spurs Legends XI was called off last week because the club could not afford the £2,000 fee required by the White Hart Lane outfit. Butler had received two emails asking about tickets. He said: “The town doesn’t want to get involved, that’s the bottom line. Without the support of the town, what is the point? Would anyone really be disappointed if the club wasn’t here next year? We would be disappointed but the town doesn’t want a football club.”
Butler became chairman last October and says the role has been like a “poisoned chalice”, adding: “I have had enough of drinking from that cup.” The club owes Henley Town Council rent for the ground, former club chairman Barrie Baxter for the barriers that surround the pitch and club members for individual loans.
Butler said that the club’s problems had “escalated” over the last six years which has included theft, repairs needed to the club house and cancelled games due to bad weather. He said the clubs merging would be a “great thing” for the town, adding: “It will enable the kids, when they reach 16, rather than them saying “thanks very much” they have then got something else to step into.”
Hinke, who is also a town councillor, says the Football Association already look on Henley Town and AFC Henley as one club and that it “makes sense” to combine. He said: “We formed the Henley Partnership four to five years ago, which included Henley Town, AFC and also the YMCA as an associated member. We are looked upon as one club which represent football in Henley which also offers football to girls and those who are disabled. When the partnership was set up, one of the aims was that the boys and adult club should merge at some stage and it makes sense to have one football club for Henley which offers football to all ages.”
AFC Henley currently has 16 teams while Henley Town have four. Hinke said: “Over the last few years they have found it difficult because of the low crowds to continue on a sound financial footing. I think it would be a good time to seriously consider a merger proposal and we have been holding talks and I think it would be good for everyone.”
He was unsure whether Henley Town would have to change its name and said the tradition of the club was important. It is in its 141st year and is the oldest club in Oxfordshire. Hinke said: “Henley Town is an important part of Henley life and we haven’t got to the stage yet where we can see how we can merge the finances. We are aware they have debts but I haven’t seen the full extent of it. The first meeting was an around the table discussion. There may be a way that we can have an annual repayment of the debts but that’s if creditors are willing, but that’s a bit further down the line.”
He personally feels he would like to see the merger happen and before the start of next season. Hinke said: “We want to put the club on a firm financial footing, we ought to be like the Henley rugby, cricket and hockey clubs. At the moment a lot of players at Henley are not from the town so after they play, they go home and so they have no spectators because they live a long way away. If players come from the boys then their parents come down and watch them and we can improve the club’s social aspect.”
First team manager David Tuttle has already announced he will be leaving at the end of the season because the Lilywhites are failing to match his ambitions.
The former Tottenham Hotspur defender says that he and his players are committed to the team for the remaining six fixtures this season. Tuttle says he has not received an offer to join another club but confirmed his assistant Chris Way and the rest of the backroom staff would also be leaving.
First Encounter This Season - 26 March
Though the season is drawing towards a close, Henley Town’s game next Saturday against Cheltenham Saracens will be the clubs’ first meeting of the campaign in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League.
The venue is Cheltenham’s Petersfield Park, and the kick-off time is 3 p.m. The scheduled game at Henley in February had to be postponed because of adverse ground conditions, and the rearranged game has now been fixed for April 10 – just ten days after the first encounter.
These clubs have much in common. Both were promoted at the start of the season and told they would need to improve their facilities if they were to retain their premier status, which they are struggling to achieve. As it is never 100 percent certain before the season has ended exactly how many vacancies there will be in the top division and who will be attempting to fill them, it would be foolish of either club to concede defeat at this stage either on or off the pitch. On the playing side, the position is an intriguing one, Henley standing two places above Saracens with four more points from one more game. The Cheltenham team went up from Division 1 (West), despite having finished only third, and, in view of the gap in standards between the two divisions, a club promoted from third place can be proud to have achieved such a respectable position.
According to the comments on one website, Petersfield Park is a less satisfactory venue than the Invesco Perpetual Triangle, but this is something Henley’s players and supporters have not yet been able to test, the only previous meetings between the sides at the first-team level occurring ten years ago, when Saracens were sharing the ground of Harrow Hill F.C. This was in the first year after the Town’s previous promotion to the Premier Division, when they won 5-0 at home before drawing 2-2 in Gloucestershire, with Saracens being relegated at the end of the season.
The Lilywhites will be embarking upon their last five games without three of the players who have featured in the squad for much of the season. Following the recent transfer of Paolo Cicero to Flackwell Heath, Martin Bradshaw moved to Bracknell Town last week and went straight into their team against Henley. Bradshaw looked a young winger of some promise in his time at the Triangle but never quite managed to hold down a regular place in the starting line-up. Matt Jacobs played his last game for the Town on Saturday as he is returning to his native Scotland. A utility player, who could fill many positions, often even during one match, Jacobs will be missed for his wholehearted contributions.
Henley Town Reserves have two league fixtures this week. Tomorrow, they entertain Milton United Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m., before travelling on Tuesday to Flackwell Heath Reserves for a 7,45 p.m. kick-off.
On Sunday, a Henley Town Veterans team take on Mortimer Veterans on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle. Mortimer won the Umbro National Veterans Cup four years ago. The kick-off is at 2 p.m. Although the game is seen as a fund-raising venture, admission will be only £3, with concessions at £2.
Last Seasons Promoted Sides Meet - 22 March
On Saturday, Henley Town entertain Holyport in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 3 p.m.
After Reading Town, Holyport are Henley’s nearest league opponents, and the rivalry between the sides was augmented last season when ‘Port’ won Division 1 (East) with Henley second. Holyport also stand three places above the Lilywhites in the table at present, but the Town beat them 2-1 at Summerleaze Village in October, despite crossing over in arrears.
Since the sides first met in the 2006-07 season, they have proved evenly matched, but Holyport should be buoyed by last week’s 3-1 win over Thame United, achieved without either of their regular strikers. Tomorrow’s game was scheduled to take place on 14 January but was a victim of the weather.
Henley Town Reserves have no game at the weekend but have a league fixture, at home to Penn and Tylers Green Reserves, on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45 p.m. The Sunday team also have a home league match, their visitors being Purple Turtle for a 10.30 a.m. kick-off.
On Wednesday of last week, Henley Town again entertained Mortimer in a fixture arranged largely to give games to players on the fringe of the first-team squad. The result was 4-4. Former Henley stalwart Stuart Gosby was in goal for the visitors.
Target Close - 15 March
When Henley Town were promoted at the start of the season, manager Dave Tuttle, who has announced his intention to move on at the end of the campaign, said that his target would be to avoid the relegation zone. That target is now close to being achieved.
Following last week’s rest, the Lilywhites play two home league matches in the week ahead, and both games would appear to give them a good chance of further improving their position. However, form has been erratic this season this season in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, and nothing can be taken for granted.
On Saturday Ascot United are the visitors for a 3 p.m. kick-off. After last weekend’s games, Ascot stood four places above Henley in the table. Their last two league fixtures have brought them a 6-1 win over Fairford followed by a 4-0 win over Kidlington, in which all the goals were scored in the second half. Yet though Ascot beat the Town 3-2 at the Racecourse Ground on the last day of 2011, Henley played for 87 minutes with only ten men after Chris Ovenden had been sent off yet were not far from gaining a point, so both teams have reason for optimism prior to the return match.
On the same afternoon at 3 p.m., the reserve teams of Henley and Ascot meet in a league fixture on the Berkshire club’s ground.
Tuesday’s game is against Bracknell Town, kicking off at 7.45 p.m. Bracknell stand at the foot of the table as they have done for most of the season, but, with the arrival of many new players, they have shown improved form of late. They remain highly unpredictable. In their two games last week, both at home, they beat the strong Thame United side 2-0 only to go on to lose 3-0 to the lower ranked Holyport. Henley beat the Robins 2-0 at Larges Lane in December on the only occasion the clubs have previously met at first team level. The return match should have been played in February but was one of the casualties of the weather.
It was announced at the weekend that Holyport Reserves are withdrawing from Division 2 (East) of the Hellenic League. As they were exactly halfway up the table and had only five more games to play, this was a considerable surprise. If their record is deleted, as seems probable, it will be a blow for Henley Reserves, who recently beat them 4-0.
Recuperation Time - 9 March
Having just played six times within a period of 22 days, Henley Town’s first team have the chance to recuperate this week as they have no game at all, either at the weekend or in midweek.
Six of their remaining eight fixtures are at home, and their next match is on Saturday week, March 17, when they receive a visit from Ascot United.
By contrast, the Reserves, who have recently shown improvement after an often difficult season, have two league matches this week. They are both at home, and admission is, of course, free for these games. Saturday’s visitors are Rayners Lane Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m., while Tuesday’s opponents are Finchampstead Reserves, for a 7.45 p.m. kick-off.
Paolo Cicero (pictured) has been transferred by Henley to Flackwell Heath, for whom he appeared in the starting line-up on Saturday at Abingdon Town. A skilful player, Cicero will certainly be missed, but he has a poor disciplinary record, and, with a four-match suspension coming up, would have missed half the Town’s remaining games in any event.
Tuttle's Reasons - 6 March
Henley Town manager David Tuttle gives his reasons for his intention to resign at the end of the season after two years in charge.
The former Tottenham Hotspur defender says the Lilywhites are failing to match his ambitions. In a telephone call to the Henley Standard on Monday of last week, Tuttle said that he and his players remain committed to keeping the team in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division. Tuttle says he has not received an offer to join another club but confirmed his assistant Chris Way and the rest of the backroom staff would also be leaving the Invesco Perpetual Triangle Ground.
The 40-year-old said: “Personally the club isn’t going in the same direction that we want to take the club in.
There are some very good players here and if I get another job offer then hopefully they can come with me. Over the two years, if we had added a few more, we would be pushing for a top six, that’s how well they have come on this year.”
Tuttle, who was sent off from the dugout during his side’s 2-0 win over Witney Town last Tuesday night, says he wants to pick up at least 11 more points from the remaining 10 games to avoid relegation.
He said: “I have told the players what I am doing and they are still 100 per cent behind the club and we all want to remain positive. We want to make sure that we do stay up because we don’t want to start going downhill after all that we have achieved. It is disappointing after what we have achieved over the last two years but we have equipped a good team and the players have come on and they are fighting to try and get out of the position that they are in. We have been putting in some very good games and we need to get it right over the next 10 games so if a new manager does come in and a stand does go up, it will be in a good position.”
Tuttle, who played 13 times for Spurs in his 12-year playing career, joined Henley Town after an ill-fated stint at Bracknell Town which ended in their relegation to the Premier Division, finishing bottom. He also had spells as a player at Peterborough United, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Charlton Athletic, Barnsley, Millwall and Wycombe Wanders. He brought with him a wealth of experience having cut his managerial teeth at Millwall and then Swindon Town as caretaker boss.
Tuttle says he has enjoyed being at Henley and nurturing the club’s players and admits the players performed above expectations. He said: “There are some very good players who could easily be playing at some of the bigger teams in the league. I have enjoyed all of it. I think it was a good achievement getting promoted in our first season and what people don’t realise is we did that with no players. We started it all off by having open training sessions. The boys have taken on board everything that we have told them, they have all worked hard and they deserve all the credit over the last two years.” Last year the club announced it needed to put up a new stand to avoid being kicked out of the division for not having the necessary infrastructure.
Tuttle has spoken out previously about the club’s lack of support it has received from the Henley public and alludes to problems getting investment into the club as a factor behind his decision to leave. He said: “Everyone appreciates that this is a rowing and rugby town and it is very hard to get investment into the football club. We will do it until the end of the season and hopefully someone will come in and kick on with it.”
Anyone interested in joining the club or making a donation, should contact Geoff Biggs at email@example.com
Matches Ahead - 29 February
Henley Town again have two matches in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League in the week ahead, starting on Saturday when they receive a visit from Wantage Town, kick-off 3 p.m.
Though in no serious danger of relegation, Wantage, after winning the league last season, must be disappointed at their comparatively lowly position now. They are still a good enough side to have beaten Henley 3-1 at Alfredian Park in October, and, though narrowly beaten at Flackwell Heath last Saturday, they gave as good an account of themselves as they had done all season. Wantage have won all their last seven encounters with the Lilywhites, so even one point for the Town would represent an improvement.
Tuesday will see Henley and Reading Town make a second attempt to play their league fixture on the latter's ground. When they previously met in October, the game had to be called off after 65 minutes because of fog. With the score at the time 1-1, the Lilywhites looked so be on course for a slightly unexpected point and so regretted the premature end to the game rather more than their opponents. Standing ninth in the table, the Scours Lane side excelled themselves last Saturday with a 5-1 win away to higher-placed Binfield. With most of the Reading Town side having been on Henley's books at some time or other, local bragging rights are certainly at stake.
Henley Town Reserves also play both on Saturday and on Tuesday. The weekend game is away to Holyport Reserves in the league, kick-off 3 p.m., before the team travel to Shrivenham Reserves in midweek for a second round tie in the Hellenic President's Reserve Cup, kick-off 7.45 p.m.
Tuttle To Leave Henley? - 28 February
The Henley Standard reports that the Henley Town manager Dave Tuttle will resign at the end of the season.
In a piece not qualified or substantiated by the club, the media portal reports: "The former Tottenham Hotspur defender says the Lilywhites are failing to match his ambitions. In a telephone call to the Standard today (Monday) Tuttle said that he and his players remain committed to keeping the team in the Uhlsport Hellenic Premier Division. Tuttle says he has not received an offer to join another club but confirmed his assistant Chris Way and the rest of the backroom staff would also be leaving."
Concentrating On Division Status - 20 February
Now out of cup competitions, Henley Town can now give their undivided attention to their 12 remaining league games. However, whilst their first target must be to avoid relegation, exactly what they need to do to achieve this objective is not simple.
For a start, the issue is not resolved on the field alone. Henley have to make sure their facilities are up to Premier Division requirements for next season, but so do the other teams in their division and any sides applying for promotion. Last season, two clubs were relegated because their grounds were deemed inadequate. The number of teams passing to or from the Southern League can also have a knock-on effect.
Assuming that matters are decided entirely on the field of play, Henley must avoid the last four positions. As Witney are ten points behind the Lilywhites and Bracknell 14 points, only Fairford would seem to have a realistic chance of passing them, and even they are seven points behind, though with a game in hand. Even here the question is complicated, however, because, whilst most people think it certain that only three clubs will go down as Bicester withdrew before the start of the season, this has never been definitely confirmed, and so the Town should be going all out to pass another team or two to guard against accidents, with Kidlington looking the most vulnerable of the sides above them.
This week, Henley have two chances to improve their league standing. On Saturday they travel to Thame United, kick-off 3 p.m. After last Saturday's games, the Red Kites, stood ten places above Henley in the table, while only ten days ago they beat them in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup. On the other hand, the Town were well below strength for that game and still went down only to a goal scored deep in stoppage time. Bearing in mind that the sides also drew at the Triangle earlier this season, a point for Henley does not seem out of the question.
Witney Town visit the Triangle on the following Tuesday, kick-off 7.45 p.m., and this is another game of mixed omens. The only previous meeting between the sides brought Henley a 3-2 win at the Marriot Stadium back in September, while Witney are marooned in the league's penultimate position. Again, the equation may be less simple than at first appears, however, for the Lilywhites gained their victory only through an 89th minute penalty kick, while they still retain that mysterious habit of achieving more away than at home.
Henley Town Reserves have no game on Saturday but are away in the league on Monday at Binfield Reserves, kick-off 7.45 p.m. The Town have acquired a number of players on transfers from other Hellenic League clubs this season, and, though some of the men coming in have achieved little prominence either in the first team or the reserves, it is always an encouraging sign for a club when players want to move to it. Last week, they acquired Matthew Hassall and a goalkeeper, Craig Bowman, from Finchampstead. Both appeared for Finch Reserves versus Henley Reserves earlier in the season.
Weather Consolation - 17 February
Whilst not being happy at the mutilation of the fixture list, Henley have the small consolation of knowing that they are no worse afflicted than any of their opponents.
This Saturday, the Town hope to make a start in playing off some of their postponed games when they visit Shrivenham for a 3pm kick-off. This league fixture was a casualty of the weather well before the recent general problem began, for the Shrivenham pitch was waterlogged when the match should have been played on 13 December. Both teams have shown improved form of late, with Shrivenham now sitting exactly in the middle of the table. They have won all their five previous games with the Lilywhites, including a 1-0 victory at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle on the opening day of the present season.
Saturday should be a memorable day for Henley Reserves, weather permitting, for they are due to play a weekend home match for the first time in 15 weeks. Incredibly, this statistic has nothing to do with the weather: it is the only time in the whole period that such a game has been scheduled. Their opponents will be Cricklade Town Reserves from Division 2 (West), and the game will be in the first round of the Hellenic President's Reserve Cup. This competition, inaugurated last season, is now being played on a different basis, with entry being confined to those teams knocked out in the first round of the Chairman's Reserve Cup in a similar way to what happens with first teams in the Challenge Cup and Supplementary Cup.
The reserves will also be in action again on Tuesday, when they entertain Letcombe Reserves in the league, kick-off 7.45 p.m.
Lillywhites Entertain The Abbot's - 9 February
This Saturday, the Town entertain Abingdon Town in a league fixture, kick-off 3 p.m. Abingdon are in the top half of the table and eight places above Henley, but they have had a rather unpredictable season. They looked a good side when they scored twice in each half on the Culham Road ground in September, without provoking any reply from the Lilywhites, who gave one of their least convincing performances of the campaign. At worst, the Town should be able to give them a stiffer test this time round. As chance would have it, Abingdon's last outing was away to Thame United, where they lost 2-0, and this is a journey that Henley must also make on Tuesday. The game is a 4th round tie in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, kick-off 7.30 p.m. This represents the quarter-final stage of the venerable competition, and it is nine years since the Town last got so far. On that occasion, they beat North Leigh on a penalty shoot-out to reach the semi-finals. Since the abolition of replays and the exemption of the county's four leading clubs to the quarter-final phase, the early rounds of the Senior Cup do not provoke quite as much interest as they used to, so much so that Henley did not even charge admission for their second round tie this season. But the later rounds remain a big event for clubs at Henley's level. Last year, for instance, Kidlington, another Hellenic Premier club, went on to reach the final and played Oxford United before a four-figure crowd.
Thame, too, are a club from Henley's own division, and the sides met in a league fixture at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle early in the current season. After a goalless first half, Matt Jacobs put the Town in front, but Alex McDonald, who was later transferred to Henley, made the final score 1-1. Thame now stand 8th in the table. Just over a year ago, they moved into the prestigious ASM Stadium, which has also helped give them some of the best gates in the League. Curiously, although Thame have won more games than they have lost against Henley over the years, in the Senior Cup the boot has been very much on the other foot. The Town have won ten of these meetings and lost only four, with one game abandoned. Two remarkable features are that not once has extra time or a replay been necessary, while the latest of the 15 previous times the sides were drawn together was long ago as 1955. United, at home, won 7-2 on that occasion.
Lillywhites On Main Road - 2 February
After last week's excursion into the byways of the Hellenic Supplementary Cup, Henley Town return to the main road this week with league fixtures on Saturday at 3 p.m. and on Tuesday at 7.45 p.m.
Both games are at home, and first Cheltenham Saracens and then Bracknell Town will be the visitors.
Both visiting sides are in the lower reaches of the league table, and so each match could have an important bearing on the fight against relegation. Henley look far less likely to go down now than they did two months back, but Kidlington went past them at the weekend by beating Witney while Henley's attention was focused on their cup-tie. Saracens stand two places above the Lilywhites, having taken one more point from one more game, whilst also having a slightly superior goal difference. The extra point accrued from their trip to Ascot last Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The meeting will be only the third ever between the clubs. Both previous matches came in the 2001-02 season, following Henley's third promotion to the Hellenic Premier Division. They beat Cheltenham 5-0 at home and drew the return match 2-2 on Saracens' temporary home ground at Harrow Hill. Cheltenham, a multi-sports club, were promoted again at the end of last season and have coped very well in the higher grade considering that they went up from only third position in Division 1 (West).
Although Bracknell are marooned at the foot of the table, Henley face them just as they seem to be improving. They recently drew at Cheltenham and followed this with a 4-1 home victory over Fairford Town. The upturn in their fortunes has been inspired by the arrival of Mick Woodham as assistant manager, bringing several new players in his wake. The only previous first-team meeting between the clubs saw the Town win 2-0 at Larges Lane on December 10.
Henley Town Reserves also have a league fixture on Saturday, travelling to meet Binfield Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m. Jermaine Gumbs, who came on as substitute in Henley's last league match and played the whole of Saturday's cup-tie, adds to the short list of full internationals who have assisted the club. In 2008, he appeared as a striker for the small island of Anguilla in two World Cup qualifying games.
Cup Weekend For Henley - 23 January
This Saturday Henley Town entertain Malmesbury Victoria in the second round of the Hellenic League Supplementary Cup, kick-off 3pm.
If Sir Alex Ferguson looks on the Europa Cup as a punishment for early departure from the Champions League, Hellenic clubs see the Supplementary Cup in much the same light, for all clubs knocked out in the first round of the League Challenge Cup are automatically entered for the less prestigious Supplementary Cup.
However, sometimes a match is thrown up that is not entirely without interest, as is the case now with two teams who have never met before. In addition, it is a match that the Lilywhites will be fancied to win, and, should they do so, that will already put them in the third round as they were fortunate enough to draw a bye at the first stage of the competition.
Malmesbury currently stand 14th out of 17 teams in Division 1 (West), though they have done well in recent weeks, being undefeated in their last three starts. In these games, however, they have scored only once and conceded no goals at all, so, after Henley's goalless draw last week, supporters of both teams must hope that another 0-0 is not on the cards.
There should be some fellow feeling between the two clubs, for Victoria have suffered even more than Henley in recent seasons from flooded and waterlogged pitches.
Henley Town Reserves again have two league matches this week. On Saturday they visit Chinnor Reserves, kick-off 2pm, and then on Tuesday they entertain Holyport Reserves, kick-off 7.45pm.
Postponed Despite Effort - 17 January
Henley Town’s home fixture against Holyport had to be postponed last Saturday because of a frozen pitch. Every effort was made to get the match played, but referee Adam Bayliss had no option but to call play off at 1.30 p.m.
Not for the first time, the trouble arose from the part of the pitch in front of the clubhouse that remains in the shade. But, in contrast with what has happened in past seasons, this was the first time the Invesco Perpetual Triangle had been ruled unplayable during the present campaign, while the first team had already suffered a postponement and an abandonment away and the reserves had also had an away game called off.
As a result of the matches that did go ahead, Wantage strode past Henley and Kidlington in the table, sending the Lilywhites down to 17th position, although this was always likely to happen eventually as Wantage had so many games in hand.
A Henley Town XI did appear at home earlier in the week in a friendly against Mortimer. None of the men who started in the previous Saturday’s league game lined up for Henley, who took the opportunity to give games to the large number of players who have sat patiently on the bench in recent weeks. Tranell Richardson put the Town in front in the first minute, but they had to wait until another 79 minutes had elapsed before Ryan Coker added a second goal. Mortimer reduced their arrears just before full-time to make the final score 2-1.
This Saturday the Town entertain Wokingham and Emmbrook in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 3 p.m. When the sides met at Bracknell (where Wokingham have a ground-sharing arrangement) in October, the home team finished 2-1 winners – with goalkeeper Dave Lyons Henley’s only scorer! That was the first time the Satsumas had beaten Henley in eight attempts.
Largely because of good cup runs but also postponements, Wokingham have been behind with their fixtures for much of the season and now seem less likely to achieve a top-half finish than they did a couple of months back. Nevertheless, they have gained two more points than the Town despite having played three games fewer. By a curious coincidence, the Sunday teams of the two clubs also clash in a league fixture at the Triangle this weekend.
Henley Town Reserves hope to make up for lost time with two league games this week. The weekend sees them travel to Milton United Reserves, kick-off 3 p.m., before a home match on Tuesday when Finchampstead Reserves are the visitors, kick-off 7.45 p.m.
Looking further ahead, the Oxfordshire Senior Cup fourth round tie in which Henley visit Thame United has been arranged for Tuesday 14 February.
No Place LIke Home - 9 January
Henley Town embark on a run of six successive home football fixtures this coming weekend.
They start with Holyport in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 3 p.m. Ground advantage may turn out to be a misnomer as far as Henley are concerned, for, while they have won three cup ties before their own supporters, seven of their eight league victories to date have been gained on their travels. Nevertheless, the Town should be in fine fettle for this game in view of their much improved recent form. They also beat Holyport 2-1 at Summerleaze Village on 25 October, but that heralded a disastrous run for the Lilywhites, with only one win in their next eight league and cup matches. They have followed this, however, by winning five games out of their next six, and, had they not had a player sent off in only the third minute at Ascot, their recent record could look better still.
Holyport, too, have had lengthy runs of good and bad results at different times during the campaign. Last season, they not only finished one place above Henley at the top of Division 1 (East) but also won both the both the principal Hellenic cup competitions. At times, they have been able to reproduce that form at the higher level, but, like many before them, they have found that doing so consistently twice a week in the more demanding Premier Division needs a lot of adjustment.
The first competitive meeting between Henley and Holyport came only in 2006-07, but they have met in every season since and could not have been better matched. Their 12 previous meetings have seen each club win four times, with three games drawn and one abandoned. It should all add up to an absorbing contest this weekend.
Henley Town Reserves, who have had a very disjointed season, have no game this week
Trip To The Moles - 3 January 2012
Having beaten the team standing fourth in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League on Monday, Henley Town meet the fifth-placed side on Saturday when they are away to Binfield, kick-off 3 p.m.
The sides first clashed in the 1948-49 season and have now met 32 times in all, with the majority of games coming either in the Chiltonian League Premier Division or Division 1 (East) of the Hellenic Football League. Binfield won that division in 2009, when they gained two comfortable victories over the Lilywhites by 4-1 and 4-0. Since then, they have done well at the higher level, finishing as runners-up last season, and they have won the last three games of their current campaign. Despite coming from quite a small community, Binfield are also one of the best supported teams in the league.
Overall, the Moles have had the better of their games with Henley, winning 17 and drawing four of them, compared with the Town's eleven victories.
Henley Town Reserves, who have not played since December 10, are also away this Saturday, visiting local rivals Reading Town Reserves in the league, for a 3 p.m. kick-off.
n the fourth round (quarter-finals) of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, the Town have been drawn away to Thame United, from the same division of their own league. The date for the game has yet to be agreed.
On The Up - 28 December
No longer in the bottom four positions, even though three of the sides below them have played fewer games, Henley Town seek to build on their recent good work with games on Saturday and Monday in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, each kicking off at 3pm.
On Saturday, the Town visit Ascot United, who are comfortably placed in the middle reaches of the table, despite a shock 2-1 defeat away to bottom side Bracknell on Tuesday. This is Ascot's third season at the highest level they have reached in their history. Having finished 15th and then 12th in the Premier Division, they are currently 13th. Their five previous meetings with Henley, four league games and one cup-tie, all came within the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. The Lilywhites won one and drew two of these games.
Town will hope for a larger than average crowd at Monday's Bank Holiday game, when Flackwell Heath visit the Invesco Perpetual Triangle. Flackwell currently stand in fourth position, with matches in hand over two of the teams above them. The league championship almost certainly rests between them, Oxford City Nomads, Ardley and Shortwood. The Heathens looked an accomplished and entertaining side when beating Henley 2-0 at Wilks Park on August Bank Holiday, but they, too, received a Christmas setback, losing 1-0 at home to Holyport.
Monday, the draw for the quarter-finals of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup will take place, at 5.30pm. This will be broadcast live on Radio Oxford. The teams going into the hat are: Oxford United (Football League), Oxford City and Banbury United (both Southern Premier), North Leigh (Southern 1 [South & West]), Henley Town, Thame United and Ardley United (all Hellenic Premier) and Headington Amateurs (Hellenic 1 [West]).
Hopes For Kidlington Game - 21 December
With Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday, Henley Town's only game in the coming week is on Tuesday's bank holiday, when they visit Kidlington in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League, kick-off 3 p.m.
As Kidlington stand six places above Henley in the table, it might be thought that they would enter the match as clear favourites, but this is a tricky result to forecast for a number of reasons. First, Kidlington's form in the current campaign has been highly unpredictable, several severe reverses being mixed in with some creditable performances. They have, in fact, conceded more goals than the Town.
Secondly, whilst Henley have yet to win a home league match all season, they have done much better away, where they have taken maximum points on five occasions. Thirdly, both teams have beaten the other recently by the odd goal in league and cup fixtures on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle.
Henley's first ever visit to Kidlington, in the 1952-53 season, was a disaster that still looks bad in the record books, for they were beaten 12-0 in the Oxfordshire Charity Cup, a score against them that has been surpassed only twice in first team competitive matches in the Lilywhites' long history. Usually, matches between the clubs have been much closer, and, in 1963-64, when Henley finished first and Kiddy second in the Hellenic League Division 1, the sides drew four times in all competitions, the league game at Kidlington being an exciting affair that saw the teams share eight goals.
Henley Town Reserves' game at Binfield last Saturday was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. The reserves team do not play during the next two weeks, though the senior side will be in action again on both December 31 and January 2.
Equanimity In Degrees - 12 December
Struggling in the league this season despite their encouraging win at the weekend, against Premier Division basement team Bracknell Town. Henley Town can turn their attention to Saturday's Oxfordshire Senior Cup match at Bletchingdon with a surprising degree of equanimity.
Victory in this third round tie would take the Lilywhites into the quarter-finals for the first time in nine years, and for once they will be starting a game as favourites. Bletchingdon, standing 12th out of 14 sides in the Premier Division of the Oxfordshire Senior League, have improved in recent weeks and have games in hand over most of the teams above them, but they are the lowest ranked side still remaining in the competition.
The only previous meeting between the two first teams was also in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, in 1994-95, when the Town gained a 4-1 home victory but at the cost of a broken leg for central defender Neil Hollis. Prior to that, in 1974-75 and again ten years later when Henley football was at a low ebb, the Town's senior side twice knocked Bletchingdon Reserves out of the county intermediate cup. Supporters travelling to the match should note that Bletchingdon is confusingly also known as Bletchington, with both spellings being allowed. As the home club have no floodlights, the kick-off time is 1.30 p.m.
Also on Saturday, the reserves visit Binfield Reserves in the league, kick-off 3 p.m.
Bottom Teams Meet For The First Time - 4 December
Having taken only one point from their last six completed league fixtures, Henley Town are now in a much more worrying position than was the case at the start of November.
They could have no better chance of ending this unhappy run than they do this coming Saturday, 10th, when they visit Bracknell Town, the only team below them in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Premier Division table, for a 3 p.m. kick-off.
Dave Tuttle, the Henley manager, has a further incentive to gain a victory, for he was in charge at Bracknell the season before last when they were relegated to the Hellenic League. While Bracknell have had a few mammoth defeats in the present campaign, their form is sufficiently unpredictable for them to have beaten Highworth at home and Holyport away.
Considering that the Wednesday teams of the two clubs first met 111 years ago and that the youth and ladies' sides have also met often, it is odd that the two first teams have never previously clashed except in friendlies. It is also remarkable, in view of the high levels at which they have competed since, that Bracknell's first team were playing only in Division 2 of the Reading and District League in 1957-58, alongside Henley Reserves. Henley were then crushed 10-3 at home, when this writer's abbreviated report, which managed to include the times at which all 13 goals were scored, was said to resemble a railway timetable. But the difference in standard between Henley's two senior sides then was phenomenal, and, with the first team's fixtures ended, five were included in the reserve team for the return match, which the Town won 6-1 with such style that home supporters refused to believe that the whole senior eleven had not turned out.
Next Tuesday, the Town have another away league game when they visit Shrivenham for a 7.45 p.m. kick-off. Though they have a superior record to Bracknell, Shrivenham are another side who have little realistic chance of finishing in the top half of the table, despite their impressive victory at Wokingham last Saturday. The season opened with Shrivvy winning 1-0 on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle. Henley supporters judged this reverse charitably in the Lilywhites' first outing after promotion, but it should have been remembered that Shrivenham avoided relegation last season only because two higher clubs were demoted because of inadequate facilities.
The Bracknell and Shrivenham games are the first two in a series of five away matches for the first team, while the reserves are in the middle of a run of eight away fixtures. Apart from this week's Sunday team match, there is not a single game scheduled for the Triangle before the new year, and Town supporters will be starved of football unless they travel away.
The reserves travel to Kidlington Old Boys in the third round of the Oxfordshire Intermediate Cup on Saturday, kick-off 1.30 p.m.
Vital Fixture This Weekend - 28 November
Henley Town face another vital league football fixture Saturday when they entertain Kidlington, kick-off 3 p.m.
The Lilywhites were decidedly unlucky last week, when they could easily have taken four points but had to be satisfied with only one. Although the referee was perfectly correct to abandon the midweek game when he did as the fog thickened at Scours Lane, Henley had matched their opponents throughout and looked well on their way to gaining a hard-earned away draw against the team standing seventh in the table when the game reached its premature conclusion. Fortune then deserted the Town on Saturday when they deserved more than a draw for their efforts against Fairford.
The fact remains that these results have hit Henley hard. After a run of very difficult fixtures, the Fairford match heralded in a succession of games against less well placed teams, and victory at the start of these would have given the Town's confidence a strong boost. As it is, they remain in a hazardous position as far as relegation is concerned, and they desperately need to beat Kidlington if they are to advance towards firmer ground.
Though Kidlington stand six places above Henley in the table, a win should certainly be within the home side's capabilities, for it is less than three weeks since they despatched Kiddy from the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, when Paolo Cicero's goal was the only strike of the game on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle. This does not mean that the game will be an easy one, for Kidlington came within seconds of taking a point at Ardley on Saturday before going down to a 2-1 stoppage-time defeat at a venue where Henley had lost 5-1 a week earlier.
Also on Saturday, the reserves visit Newbury Reserves in a league fixture, kicking off at 3 p.m. This will be the fourth in a run of eight successive away games for the reserves unless there are any changes to the schedule. Their opponents have a 100 per cent. record.
The draw for the third round of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup has been kind to Henley. They visit Bletchingdon on December 17th and seemingly have a good chance of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in nine years.
Henley Town have concluded the transfer of Rhys Cunningham, a young midfield player from Bracknell Town.
Route From The Mire - 24 November
Henley Town have a vitally important match on Saturday when they entertain Fairford Town in the Uhlsport Hellenic Football League Premier Division, kick-off 3 p.m, both teams being deep in the relegation quagmire.
Henley visited Fairford in their second league match of the season and won 3-1, then remained above the Gloucestershire club in the table for a long while and seemed likely to stay there. All that has changed in recent weeks, however, whereas Fairford have won three of their last six games and count Oxford City Nomads among their victims, the Town have lost their last four completed league fixtures and slid down to the penultimate position in the table, with only Bracknell beneath them and more matches played than the teams directly above them. While it was obvious even last season that the Lilywhites would have a rough ride in the top division unless they were able to strengthen their side, such is the fighting spirit that Dave Tuttle has instilled in his men that until recently they looked a good bet to avoid relegation. They have had a cruelly difficult run of fixtures, however, all those four successive defeats being against teams standing in the first four positions in the table.
Tuesday night's abandoned game would have concluded the first half of the Town's league programme, and there will be a lot of work to do in the second part of the campaign if they are to survive. As long as morale is maintained, however, they could well achieve their goal, for they have played 13 games so far against the top 11 sides in the table and only six against those in the bottom ten. Another point at issue is how many teams will be relegated this season. As Bicester Town withdrew before the start, there is a vacancy in the Premier Division, and only three sides should be relegated. Logic does not always prevail at football, however, so the Town would be unwise to take this for granted.
The reserves also have a league fixture Saturday, visiting Penn and Tylers Green Reserves for a 2.15 p.m. kick-off.
Seeking Win - 17 November
In a precarious position following three successive league defeats, Henley Town face two away matches this week in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic Football League.
On Saturday they travel to Ardley United for a 3 p.m. kick-off only a week after losing to the same opponents at home. Although that result, which was Ardley seventh successive league victory, took United to 2nd place in the table and Henley down to 18th, the Lilywhites did make their opponents fight every inch of the way last week. They also have a far better away than home record, which may add to their hopes, though that could be a freak statistic that will iron itself out when more games have been played. When Henley last visited north-east Oxfordshire's leading club six years ago, the Ardley ground was being redeveloped, and it resembled a muddy building site, but they should see a huge improvement now all the work has come to fruition.
Tuesday sees the Town on the road again, but only to make the short journey to Reading Town, kick-off 7.45 p.m. Since the sides drew on the Invesco Perpetual Triangle at the start of September, the Scours Lane club have steadily climbed the table, and they were still as high as 7th on Saturday night despite losing 2-1 at home to Wokingham. They will certainly enter the match as favourites, though they are another side who, like Henley, find it easier to pick up points when playing away. The Reading side's line-ups often look like a Henley Town Old Boys team, so the match is a real local derby, but such games can be tense affairs, and the clubs' last two meetings have been disappointing spectacles.
The reserves face another cup-tie on Saturday, visiting Finchampstead Reserves, kick-off 1.30 p.m. The game is in the 2nd round of the Reading Junior Cup, in which Henley drew a bye in the first stage.
140th Anniversary Celebration Match - 7 November
Both Henley Town and Reading Football Clubs were formed in 1871 and on Sunday 13th November 2011 a team of Former Henley Town Stars meet the Royals Legends at the Invesco Perepetual Triangle ground, in Mill Lane Henley-on-Thames kick off 2.00pm to celebrate the clubs 140th birthday.
The neighbouring clubs were formed during the great explosion of association football along the Thames Valley in the 1870’s. Reading have progressed through the League system over the years to reach the heady heights of the Barclays Premier Division in 2006. Henley Town Football Club is the oldest recognised club in membership of the Oxfordshire Football Association and first entered the FA Cup in the 1879-80 season but they have stayed in the non-league system throughout there long history.
Henley Town Football Club have mostly lived a up down existence throughout it’s lifetime playing in the Reading Temperance and Reading & District League’s in its formative years before moving up to the Spartan League in the 1931-32 season. After the Second World War Henley dropped down to the Great Western Combination and back to the Reading & District League. A bold decision to join the Hellenic League in 1957-58 quickly was quickly rewarded in an upsurge in fortunes by winning two major cups and championships.
Just as the club was about to celebrate its centenary it was struck by a series of major disasters culminating in the loss of the Reading Road ground it had occupied for 70 years. Despite only running a Youth team on a regular basis during this period the club played 3 centenary matches on a borrowed pitch one of which was against an FA eleven. Although the club fielded a regular team again from 1973 the facilities were not up to the required standard to allow them to climb the non-league pyramid ladder until the club moved to the Triangle ground. The clubhouse was built in 1995, a little latter floodlighting was installed and a 52 seater stand was erected which enabled the club to start moving forward again. Now the Club has moved up to the Hellenic League Premier Division the facilities must be upgraded again, the seating accommodation must be increased to at least 100 and standing covered accommodation for 100 erected by the 31st March 2012.
The Former Henley Town Stars squad:
Stuart Gosby, Paul Hawkins, John Wylie. Paul Trendall, Mark Summerwill, Paul Ilsley, Adam Markwell, Gary Kingston, Peter Bryan, Paul Wylie. Clyde Masson, Luke Harris, Mick Kenyon, Olly Maskell, Justin Yorke, James Hollidge, Robbie Wright, Martin Morrin, Andy McIntosh and Guest player Dave Tuttle the current Town Manager who formerly played for Tottenham Hotspurs.
Henley Town’s Mascot for the day is William Butler.
The Team will be managed by to previous managers Albie Stevenson and Andy Bryan. Physiotherapist Neil Archbold may be the busiest man of the afternoon looking after the old limbs.
The Royals Legends squad will be: Charlie Stallard, Mick Gooding, Ady Williams Martyn Williams, Barry Hunter, Simon Osborne, Michael Gilkes, Keith Scott, Andy Gray, Mark Holzman, Matthew Stowell, Ross Harrison, Darren Brett, Jordan Norris, Graham Kemp, Phil Wilkins, Radio Berkshire’s Tim Dellor and Evening Post reporter Jonny Fordham. Team Manager George Friel
The Legends Mascots for the day are Jack and Harry Ashfield
The officials for the match are: Referee Chris Boyles (Woodley), Craig Boyles (Woodley) and Steve McMahan (Caversham) 4th Official Geoffrey Biggs (Caversham)
Besides celebrating the 140th Anniversary the match will also raise funds for The Duchess of Kent House (the Royal Legends preferred charity) and the Henley Town Football Club ground development fund. Please come along and support this worthy cause. The match kicks off at 2.00pm but the clubhouse and bar will be open from around 12-30pm. Admission for the match is Adults £5, Concessions £3 Children under 16 accompanied by an adult free.
Before the kick off of the main match young players from AFC Henley will have a penalty shoot out competition.
If you are unable to attend the match but would like to donate please send your cheque to Michael Trendall, 20 Clements Road, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2HJ and made payable to the ‘Friends of Henley Town FC’
Henley Town Football Club are most grateful to Graham Harris of the ‘Out to Lunch Catering Company’ of 23 Queen Victoria Street Reading for supplying and sponsoring the after match buffet
Lillywhites Weekend Actiion - 25 August
In the midst of a run that sees them play twice in each of the first six weeks of the competitive season, Henley Town again appear both at home and away in the Premier Division of the Uhlsport Hellenic League in the week ahead.
On Saturday they entertain Highworth Town, kick-off 3 p.m. The match promises to be a compelling one. Henley found the Worthians to be well-matched opponents during their previous stay in the Premier Division, when they met them in all five seasons, each team winning four times with two games drawn. Even in the disastrous campaign of 2005-06, which ended with the Lilywhites trapped at the foot of the table, they beat Highworth 2-1 at the Invesco Perpetual Triangle though they went on to lose 4-0 in Wiltshire. Last season, Highworth finished fourth, and, despite problems off the field that saw them fined for selling wrongly labelled drinks in their clubhouse, they have again started commendably. They won their two opening league fixtures, although they were well beaten by the strong Odd Down side from the Western League in Sunday's F.A. Cup tie.
On Monday's bank holiday, the Town travel to Flackwell Heath, again for a 3 p.m. kick-off. Over the years, Flackwell have been consistently able to produce stronger sides than one might have expected from a club based in a comparatively small community. Since they first met Henley in the 1952-53 season they have not only beaten the Lilywhites in the great majority of their games, but there was also a period in the 1970s when Henley's first team could only aspire to meet the Heathens' reserves. Old rivalries were resumed last season in two cup competitions. Henley fielded a shadow side in the first encounter when they went down 5-0 at home, going on to lose 2-0 away later when they turned out a much stronger team. Eighth last season, Flackwell beat Fairford 5-0 on the first day of the new term but lost 3-0 at fellow Hellenic leaguers Ardley in the F.A. Cup last weekend.
In total contrast to the position with the first team, Henley Town Reserves, in spite of their increased number of games, face a peculiarly attenuated start to the season. They have a blank date on Saturday, and, subject to any late changes, play only once in the first four weeks of the season.
Henley's Contrasting Opponents - 15 August
Henley Town again have two league fixtures in the next ten days. Their previous experience against their two opponents could not be more contrasting.
On Saturday they travel to Court Place Farm to meet Oxford City Nomads, whom they have never met previously, before on Tuesday entertaining Thame United, a team they have already played 52 times at first-team level. Oxford City Nomads emerged from the Oxford City and Quarry Nomads clubs, both of which Henley have met on plenty of occasions. Nomads made an appalling start last season but recovered so well that they were in little fear of relegation during the final months. They now have a new management team and began the fresh term in style, winning 4-2 at Cheltenham Saracens. The kick-off on Saturday is at 3 p.m.
Henley first met Thame 121 years ago and in total have beaten them 21 times. Thame have gained 26 victories, only four games have been drawn, and one was abandoned. United have habitually fielded a strong side over the years, and the Lilywhites have gained only one point from their last five meetings, at the end of which Thame were promoted to the Premier Division last year. They adapted well to the higher grade, finishing tenth last season, during which they moved to an impressive new stadium. They suffered a disappointing reverse on the opening day of the new campaign, however, going down 3-1 at home to the strong Highworth Town side. Tuesday's kick-off time is 7.45 p.m.
Henley Town Reserves begin their competitive fixtures on Saturday with a home league game against Reading Town Reserves at 3 p.m. Not only is this a local derby, but it is the more interesting as the visitors have only just reformed their reserve team this season.
Henley Town Preview - 8 August
After an interval of five years and three months, newly promoted Henley Town will embark upon a Premier Division fixture in the Uhlsport Hellenic League when they entertain Shrivenham at 3 p.m. on Saturday. This game will be followed by another league fixture on Tuesday, away to Fairford Town, kick-off 7.45 p.m.
This is the fourth time Henley has been promoted to the Hellenic Premier, and in the past they have always found the gap between the two divisions to be a very big one. In 1964, they went up as league winners, and, fuelled by adrenaline, won their first three games before drawing at professional Amersham Town, who had just lured away key player Tony Alexander. Yet, though only two sides were relegated in those days, Henley still went down at the end of the season.
n 1968, the Town won Division 1 without losing a match, while in 2001 they headed Division 1 (East) by a 20-point margin, but the transition to the higher grade was not an easy one on either occasion. However, some good judges last season felt that the disparity between the divisions might be closing. As evidence of this, they could point to the unprecedented achievement of Holyport in winning both principal league-cup competitions as a Division 1 side. The main difference as one climbs through football's levels, however, is seen not so much in skill as in dedication, organisation and strength in depth. It is the increase in the amount of matches and the amount of travelling that can take any team by surprise. The number of league fixtures alone that the Lilywhites will be called upon to play this year exceeds the total of all league, cup and friendly games they undertook last season.
Nevertheless, with 11 differences in the make-up of the Premier Division now compared with when the Town were last in it, their average length of trip will be far more humane than before. Slimbridge is now the longest journey, compared with Pegasus Juniors at Hereford, while Abingdon Town, Ascot United, Binfield, Bracknell Town, Flackwell Heath, Holyport, Oxford City Nomads, Thame United and Wokingham & Emmbrook are all excursions of no more than 25 miles, which should also help to boost the figures for home gates. There are also two surprises in the make-up of the division. Witney United have been wound up, but their place will be taken by Witney Town, resurrected after a ten-year absence. Very unusually, the new club will continue at the same level as the old one. Sadly, Bicester Town, one of Oxfordshire's oldest clubs, having been locked out of their ground by their landlords, have now folded, so that there will be only 21 participants.
Ironically, when Henley were promoted in 1964 and 1968, their first opponents were Bicester each time, the Foxhunters being beaten 3-1 and then 3-2 on the old Reading Road ground. The Town have always managed to raise their game for their first Premier Division fixture. In 2001, George Friel instigated a still memorable move that he finished himself with a late run from midfield to give the Lilywhites a 12th minute lead at Cirencester Academy, where they went on to win 3-2. If last year's form is anything to go by, the Fixture Secretary could hardly have given Henley a more kindly start to the season as both Shrivenham and Fairford would have been relegated had vacancies not occurred. That could be misleading, however, as Shrivvy have signed many new players and had an encouraging pre-season. They have met Henley only four times previously, winning on each occasion. Still, the most recent meeting, two years ago, a cup-tie on the Berkshire club's ground, saw the Lilywhites go down only after extra time and penalties. Henley met Fairford twice each season in their previous stint in the Premier Division, winning three and drawing two of these ten clashes. Their very last game at the top level was a 2-0 home defeat against these opponents.
It is hard to read many signs from the Town's long run of pre-season friendlies as these have all been against teams who play at higher or lower levels than they do, but it seems safe to forecast that one or two of the new faces seen will make Saturday's starting line-up. Certainly, Henley will be without three key members of the team that won promotion: goalkeeper Dave Lyons has moved to Didcot Town, defensive lynchpin Gary Smith is suspended for the first two fixtures and Seve Maybury, who scored seven goals in the last two games of the season, is suspended for four.
The long awaited divisional restructuring of the Hellenic League has finally taken place – but in a different form from that originally mooted. There will be five sections to the league in future instead of six. This means that Henley Reserves, in Division 2 (East), will have an increased league programme of 30 games this season.