A Brief History Of Little Oakley FC
There is evidence of a football club in Little Oakley just before and after the First World War, when an informal team played friendlies on a field behind the village school. However, the current club was formed at the Memorial Club, as Little Oakley War Memorial in 1947, the main instigators being Nat Seaborn, Ted Messenger, Bill Wright, the AA man, and Arthur Rush, the club's first Secretary. In those early days the teams changed in Bank Manager, Mr. Ingle's barn behind Foulton Hall, accessing the pitch via a gate in the top left hand corner of the field.
We joined the Harwich & District League Junior League in '49-50, and entered a Reserve side in the B Section of that League a year later. After two seasons in the Tendring Hundred League, from '53-54, we were elected into Division One of the Colchester & East Essex League, when our place in the THL was taken by the Reserves. Topping the Colchester table, in '56-57, we were promoted to the Premier, but although we dropped back to Division One in 1960, we finished third two seasons later.
On the strength of this, and our facilities at the War Memorial Sports Ground, we were accepted into the Border League Division One in '63-64, lifting the Divisional Knock-Out Cup, that very season, when we beat Brightlingsea United 5-1. The season was completed when we also took the Harwich Junior Charity Cup with a 5-2 win over Ramsey War Memorial. Star Striker, Mel Pickles, netted 80 goals that season, bringing his three-season haul to 226.
A year later, we were, once again in the Division One Knock-Out Final, losing 4-3 to Clacton North End. Another Harwich Junior Charity Cup Final appearance but losing this time 3-2 to Parkeston Railway in '67-68. The Reserves had reverted to the Harwich League in 1957-58, but they returned to the THL in '62-63, also competing in the North East Essex Coastal League between '65-66 and '68-69.
The club withdrew from the Border League and in '69-70 they replaced the Reserve Team in the Coastal League with just the one team for more than a decade. We won the Coastal League in '72-73, and regained our Division One slot in the Border League the following season.
Shedding the War Memorial bit, in '74-75, Little Oakley Football Club took a gap year in '78-79, returning to Division Three in '78-80. It was during the '80's that Little Oakley FC really came to the fore! We won the Harwich Junior Charity Cup in 1982, and in 1983 beating Dedham Old Boys on penalties and then Lawford Lads 3-2. Two Tommy Thompson Cup Finals brought victory over Parkeston Railway Reserves, in 1984, but defeat against Donyland swifts a year later.
Our Reserve side reformed in the Colchester League Division Four in '81-82 but joined the Border League in '82-83 after our first eleven were promoted to Division Two. After three seasons in Division Two, the first team were promoted to Division One in '84-85 and this saw the start of the Jim Warnes era. His team won Division One and the Premier Division title in '87-88. The Reserves were promoted in '87-88, they also won the Area pennant of the Essex Junior Cup.
A 3-1 against Stanway Rovers gave the Seniors the Essex Intermediate Cup in '89-90, and further league championships, this time under Manager, Mick Felgate, followed in '92-93 and '93-94. There were also four back-to-back Harwich Intermediate Charity Cup successes between '89 and '92.
Having escaped relegation in 2002-03, Nigel Box was appointed as Manager for the '02-03 campaign, and his side winning the championship for the fifth time that season.
A few dry years followed and with the appointment of Sean Tynan and Paul Sadler we won the Premier title in '16-17 after ending season '15-16 in second place. Season '15-16 saw the first team reach the Essex Premier Cup Final but lost to 4-1 to Frenford Senior but went on to winning the Essex and Suffolk Border League Knock-Out Cup in '16-17.
During '16-17 we applied to join the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League. Our application was granted and by the end of August 2017 the club would have invested around £300k in our facilities at the Memorial Ground. This has included installing new floodlights, fencing, spectator stands, a small all-weather 3G pitch with floodlighting and access paths.
As part of the Football Association's League pyramid restructuring for Step 6 we moved across to join the new Thurlow Nunn Eastern Senior League First Division South from Season 2018/19.
In early November 2018, with the resignation of Sean Tynan as the First Team Manager the Club appointed Matt Carmichael who had previously managed Brantham Athletic and Harwich & Parkeston as his replacement and also took the opportunity to appoint Mark Sharp as the Football Club's Head Coach.
Like most grass roots clubs we are totally dependent on volunteers. We are a large part of the local community and are now well established as a much admired club. We have thriving Youth, Ladies and Junior sections, catering for all ages including the introduction of walking football into the area for the over 50’s during 2016.
Little Oakley Football Club is to launch a Full-Time Football Academy for 16-19 Year Olds starting Season 2019/20.