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CLUB HISTORY

The club was formed at the start of the 1999/2000 season. Three parents, Chris Humphrey, Paul Keyte and Andy Western all had sons who had played together for another local team since they were 6 years old. They decided that they would like more involvement in the running of the side and they took the initiative by breaking away from the existing club and Albion Youth FC was formed.


The new season had not even started when the club was asked if it would consider taking a few 8 year olds under its wing. Understandably there were reservations and concerns as to whether this fledgling club could cope with this sudden expansion. Paul Keyte initially agreed to manage the team and the club instantly doubled in size. It soon became apparent that this "gamble" had enhanced the future prospects of the club with the introduction of another group of enthusiastic and caring parents.


The 1999/2000 season saw the U13's finish mid-table in the Royston Crow League, while winning an end of season 5-a-side tournament in Letchworth. The U9's entered the Stevenage Mini-Soccer League and fought their way to the final of the League Cup. The end of the season saw the club organise its own 5-a-side tournament, with 66 teams entered from all over Hertfordshire, with boys aged from 8 to 13. The tournament saw the competitive debut of the club's third team, this time at U12. The debut was a stunning success as they succeeded in winning the U12 age group.


The second season in 2000/2001 saw the club continue with three age groups but four teams, the U10's joined the U12's and U14's in the Royston Crow League, the U10's comprising 2 teams. The season was badly affected by the appalling weather conditions, the season having to be extended and mid -week games were required to ensure the completion of the fixture list. The U14's reached the quarter-finals of the East Anglia Cup and finished third in the league. The U12's also finished third in the league in their first season together, while both U10 teams finished in mid-table.


May 2001 also saw the club undertake it's first visit to the Camber Sands football tournament, organised by Malcolm Beake. In the words of club President, Chris Humphrey, "Those three days cemented the club together and the future now looks very bright indeed for Albion Youth FC." A total of 70 boys and their families went on the trip, with the U10's enjoying themselves, the U12's and U14's were beaten in the knock-out stages by Football League academies.


The 2001/2002 season saw the club's expansion continue, significantly including an arrangement with Ridgemond Park for use of pitches for training and matches. Teams were entered into the Stevenage Mini-Soccer League at U8 and 2 at U9, with U10, U11, U13 and 2 at U15 entered into the Royston Crow League. Again, the club didn't win many titles but succeeded in winning many friends, notably the U8's who won the Sporting Mark award in the SMSL. Once again a successful trip to Camber Sands was organised by Malcolm Beake and the clubs tournament was held for the third time at St Nicholas park, superbly organised by Paul Whittaker. The annual Christmas Disco at Ridgemond Park and the end of season awards presentation at Barclay School ensured that the social side of the club was not overlooked.


2002/2003 saw still further expansion of the club, with 2 teams at U7, 2 at U8 and 1 at U9 in the SMSL. In the Royston Crow 2 teams were run at U10 and 1 team each at U11, U12, U14 and U16. The U8's became the second team in the club's short history to win some silverware, winning the SMSL League Cup and losing only on penalties in the final of the Grix Cup 5 a side competition. The U14's were also a success story, reaching the semi-final of the Royston Crow League Cup. The social side of the club was not forgotten either, with a further successful trip, this time to Butlins at Bognor Regis, Christmas Disco and an inaugural Quiz Night. Perhaps the most significant event of the year though was the awarding of FA Charter Standard Club status, a result of a huge amount of effort by Brian Long. In achieving this Standard, Albion Youth became only the third club in Stevenage to do so.


133 children registered to play for the Club in its most successful year to date in 2003/4. Nine teams ran, from U7 to U17. Highlights of the year were a superb League and League Cup double by Ian McManus' U15 team as well as a League title for Malcolm Beake's U11's. July 2003 saw the Club's annual tournament at St Nicholas Park extended to 2 days and both days were blessed with glorious weather, helping the event to be both a sporting and financial success. Once again, the social side was not overlooked with a further trip to Butlins at Bognor Regis, a Christmas Disco and another Quiz Night. Player and coach recruitment exercises were held at Stevenage Day and in the Town Centre to ensure that the next wave of players continue to join Albion Youth.

The Club launched its Munchkin squad for U5's and U6's after the Easter holidays in 2004 with an eye on the Club's future expansion for the 2004/5 season. Pete Askew stood down as Chairman, to be replaced by Steve Kilford while club founder Paul Keyte stood down as Secretary, being replaced by Simon Patterson.

Teams were run at U6, U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13 and U15, although disappointingly Ian McManus' double winning team from the previous season disbanded before the season started. The U13's continued the trophy winning trend of the previous season by winning the Division 4 League Cup under Mark Smyth's leadership.

The Club tournament was held at Giles School in the first weekend of July and was a financial success, although an incident during the U13 tournament marred the overall success of the event.  

The long awaited housing development at Ridgemond Park finally began before the start of season 2005/6, resulting in the Club losing it's established base. The search for a floodlit training facility saw the U7's, U9's, U10's and U12's switch to Round Diamond School and the U14's train at Odyssey Health & Fitness Club. The U8's and U13's unfortunately were disbanded before the season started due to a shortage of players and an U16 team collapsed part way through the season.

The season was not notable for any great success on the field for any of the teams, although the U7's reached the semi-final of the Grix Cup 5-a-side tournament. The U9's experienced a particularly traumatic season, with a manager leaving with about half of the squad part way through the season after a rather unpleasant spell of acrimonious accusations, leaving Ricky Lewis to pick up the pieces.

The Club ran a bowling competition in lieu of a Christmas party which was won by one of the U7 team, Charlie Patterson.  A bag packing session at Asda was the major fund raising activity while the Presentation Evening was changed into a fun day held at the Scout Hut at Barclay School, with activities and an adult 5-a-side preceding the annual trophy presentation.

The 2006/7 season began with the Club welcoming a new Chairman, Richard Clarke and Malcolm Beake accepting the role of Vice-President. The U8's once again entered the Stevenage Mini Soccer League, with the U10's, U11's, U13's and U15's entering the Royston Crow League. The U10's saw another change in management, with Tom Coates replacing Ricky Lewis.

Success on the field proved to be somewhat elusive across all age groups, although the U10's exceeded expectation by reaching the last 16 of the inaugural county cup competition. Off field activities were very limited, although the Christmas bowling competition proved to be popular once again. The major fund raising activity was Club Secretary and U8's manager undertaking a sponsored slim, aiming to lose 4 stone in 4 months. With an eye on the future, Martin Brooks started a new Munchkin squad in February to step into the U7's for the new season.




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