Aylesbury United 0-0 Yeovil Town
Saturday 2nd November 1996
Isthmian League Premier Division.
10 FACTS ABOUT AYLESBURY UNITED AT BUCKINGHAM ROAD
1: Aylesbury United moved to Buckingham Road in the mid 1980's following their departure from their previous home at Turnfulong Lane, a venue that they played at for 50 years. In between the 2 grounds, they had to groundshare, playing at RAF Halton and Tring Town.
2: They played there until 2006, when the owners, a property development firm kicked them out as they wanted to build houses on the site. The ground had been previously sold to a holding company in the Channel Islands in 1990 as the club wanted money to spend on the team and they had been leasing it back with no issue until the holding company sold it on.
3: The record attendance at the ground came in 1988 for a pre European Championships Friendly. Bizarrely England came to town, playing a friendly against the then Southern League Champions, possibly as a thank you for the club letting them use their facilities. Despite all-time top scorer Cliff Hercules missing a chance to put Aylesbury ahead early on, England went on to win 7-0 with 4 goals for Peter Beardsley. The moment was later recreated on the BBC's 'Fantasy Football League' show in their Phoenix From The Flames segment.
4: Following that England game and the Southern League Championship prior to it, Aylesbury United spent their only season in the Conference. However, 1988/89 was not an altogether happy season as they finished second bottom of the league and were relegated back from whence they came.
5: The club were famous for their FA Cup exploits. Between 1985 and 1993 the club boasted the best record of any non-league club as they the 1st Round every season. They reached the 2nd Round twice during that period, going one better in 1995 as they lost 4-0 to QPR in their only 3rd Round appearance to date.
6: In the 2002/03 season Aylesbury United reached the FA Cup semi-final, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Northern Premier League outfit Burscough. A notable result in that run was the 1-0 victory at Altrincham in the 4th Round with the home side more noted for their own giant-killing acts rather than the ones being slain.
7: The Ducks' record scorer is Cliff Hercules with 301 goals for the club. In 2000 he would return to the club to manage them, sealing their return to the Isthmian Premier, following their relegation shortly before he arrived.
8: A number of well-known names have plied their trade for Aylesbury United and these include Lee Cook, Jermaine Darlington & Dwight Marshall.
9: Their last full season at Buckingham Road would see them relegated back again, following their switch to the Southern League. Since leaving their home they have never recovered, even spending 3 seasons in the step 5 Spartan South Midlands League.
10: Since leaving, they have led a nomadic existence, sharing at Chesham United, Leighton Town and Thame United due to their futile attempts to return to the town.
VISIT 1: AYLESBURY UTD 0-0 YEOVIL T (ISTHMIAN PREMIER)
In September and October 1996 I did work experience at Aylesbury United's Soccer In The Community office. Working with Pete and Bob I set up their computer for them, went out doing training at local schools and reorganised the club shop amongst other things. I had a great time, meeting players such as Gary Phillips (Aylesbury manager at the time), Paul Buckle and Stafford Rangers manager Brendan Phillips. Also whilst I was there Alan Smith got the sack from Wycombe, something I had been hoping for, for a long time. One of the perks in addition to all the freebies I got was free tickets for me, my Dad and my brother to their game with Yeovil Town in November.
The game itself was a surprisingly entertaining 0-0 draw with Yeovil manager Graham Roberts enjoying some stick from the Aylesbury crowd. The 2 clubs were slugging it out at the top of the Isthmian Premier at the time, nowadays their fortunes have gone in vastly different directions, with Yeovil in the Football League and Aylesbury, exiled at Thame and struggling at step 4 of non-league after a spell in the Spartan South Midlands League.
VISIT 2: WYCOMBE 4-1 PETERBOROUGH (RES - 28/8/02)
My second trip to Buckingham Road was for an afternoon game and was Wycombe Wanderers Reserves' second game there. They had entered an agreement with their former rivals to share the Buckingham Road pitch following the arrival of London Wasps Rugby Club at Adams Park. A change of hours at work meant that I finished by 1PM and so was able to make the 40-minute drive across to Aylesbury to see the game.
The one thing I remember from the game is Peterborough manager Barry Fry going absolutely ballistic at his team at half time, ranting and raving with plenty of colourful language. He probably had good reason to as well - Wycombe had cruised into a 3-0 lead thanks to a Johnny Dixon brace and a header from defender Andy Thomson. Though the Posh pulled a goal back just before the break Richard Harris capped a great performance with a goal a few minutes from time.
VISIT 3: AYLESBURY 0-3 WYCOMBE (FRIENDLY - 26/7/03)
This pre-season friendly was unique in that it is the only game that I have ever seen that was played in 3 periods of 30 minutes, rather than the traditional 2 halves of 45 minutes. Wycombe fielded a couple of trialists including Barrie Matthews - a former Watford youth team player and the former England schoolboys striker Luke Fontana. Both players would go on to have unremarkable careers in non-league football. Wycombe would go on to win the game 3-0 with goals from Charlie Mapes, Darren Currie and loanee Simon Patterson while the Aylesbury side contained Kark Ready who had spent much of pre-season on trial at Wycombe.
VISIT 4: AYLESBURY 2-4 WINDSOR & E (B&B CUP - 27/1/04)
My only visit to an evening floodlit game at Buckingham Road came on a January evening in 2004 in a Berks & Bucks Cup Quarter Final. I was watching Windsor & Eton a lot that season as they had plenty of former Wycombe players in the side with Chuck Martini, Ryan Parsons, Keith Scott & Dennis Greene all appearing for them on the night. Though Aylesbury equlaised after 7 minutes, the visitors flew into a 4-1 half time advantage. Player/Manager Dennis Greene came off the bench in the second half for Windsor but not before having a cigarette in what was a dull second half.
VISIT 5: AYLESBURY 2-0 WYCOMBE (FRIENDLY - 27/7/04)
My final visit to Buckingham Road came in a low-key friendly in the summer of 2004. Due to a first-team friendly against Charlton Athletic the following day it was mainly a youth side that took on the Ducks, though it was notable for an appearance by trialist Russell Martin who we would go on to sign en route to his career in eventual Premiership appearances with Norwich City. It was a Leon Gutzmore double that sealed the home side win in what was generally a disappointing pre season for Wycombe.
BUCKINGHAM ROAD was a smart non-league ground, not dissimilar to Kingstonian's Kingsmeadow which was built around the same time. The main stand held around 400 while opposite was covered terracing for 500, plus further cover behibd the goal for around 500 more. The rest of the ground was uncovered terracing with a capacity of just over 4000. The ground was just over a mile from town on the A413 to Buckingham.
On Tuesday 22nd January 2013 I was in Aylesbury doing some work en route to meet fellow groundhopper Anwar for a game. Sadly the heavy snow put pay to any hope of a game during a barren spell game wise. Around 30 options in all had been postponed and so as for it not to be a wasted journey I popped along to see what had become of Buckingham Road. The results were as bleak as the weather with the ground well run down and beyond repair. The bar was now home to a group of East European squatters, using it to keep warm from the cold. Some pictures are below.