Leominster Minors; The Early Years
The recent history of Leominster Minors dates back to 1990 & we're working on the origins of Minors in the town in the 1950's (more to follow but please take a look at the News item '60 Years of Minors'.
The Father figure responsible for getting the Club back off the ground is a familiar name and face to many, Eric Lane. Eric has kindly put down on paper his recollections of the early days. If you would like to contribute any memories or pictures of the period Eric describes please let us know.
The following recollections by Eric Lane
My boy, Ian, and a number of his friends at Leominster Junior School asked me if I would help them to form an Under 10 team. They were football mad and wanted to play competitive games. Back in 1990 junior football in the county did not start until Under 12's. So I agreed to manage the team and arranged a season of friendly matches. Towards the end of that first season the team entered an Under 10 competition at Malvern; they won their first trophy beating Newton Sports 4-1 at Langlands Stadium.
For the next season (1991/92) the team was entered into the Clee Hill League for Under 12's. All they needed was a name. It was decided to resurrect the name 'Minors'; and so the current Club was born. There was no pitch. No club structure. Just enthusiasm. A disco organized by my wife, Lesley helped as did our goalie's dad Dave Davies who provided us with hundreds of large flowerpots which we sold for £1 each (they can still be seen around town today). Next the pitch; this was at the Minster school. Then the first AGM (at the Black Swan). And finally, team colours; they were to be yellow and black.
The 1991/92 season was memorable. We played both the Clee Hill league and also the Herefordshire Junior League; a total of 51 games. We won both leagues and became the first Leominster team to win a Herefordshire Junior League trophy. The team scored 327 goals, conceded just 42 and Steve Evans top scored with 71 in the Herefordshire and 77 in the Clee Hill leagues.By this time Colin Jones was running the Under 11 side in the Clee Hill league and finished in mid table. The following season, 1992/93, they joined the Herefordshire League and finished as runners up whilst my team won every game they played to take the League title. In the next season Colin’s team also won this league title.When the Junior League extended the structure to include Under 10 and 11 divisions the Club needed two new managers. Kevin Staples took on the Under 11 team and Paul Courtney the Under 10's. Kevin's wife, Jill, and Colin's wife, Kay, became secretary and treasurer respectively. They both carried out a superb job for the club over many years.
The final piece of the jigsaw came with the opening of Bridge Street Park and this became the home of the Minors. In 1993 Ray Hunt joined Kevin as assistant and began a long association with the Club. Both Ray and Sandra, his wife, have made an immense contribution to the Club and helped generations to play good football.
The 1993/94 season was notable with 2 league and cup doubles, for the Under 11’s with Kevin Staples and the Under 14's with myself. Paul Courtney's Under 10's also won a cup winners medal at Edgar Street.
It was a similar story in 1994/95 with doubles again for both teams. It was also the year we gained the Club of The Year Award. From one team to Club of The Year in just 6 seasons!
The following season Colin and Kay bowed out with their first league and cup double with a great brand of passing football.
The Under 10's were managed by Robin and Matthew Smith. Robin and Ray were now taking the Club on to a new level with a proper constitution; and not forgetting Ray's idea of the lion cub emblem which is now a fixed part of the Club identity.
In 1996 I joined forces with Colin to take the Under 18 team in the West Midland league and they proved a force to be reckoned with finishing as runners up, a great achievement for a small town team. I took the same lads into the Herefordshire second division where they did well to finish fourth, winning the Leintwardine Cup and, in a memorable night, won the Herefordshire FA Junior Cup beating Colwall Rangers 4-2 at Bromyard.It was time now for me to take a back seat. The Club had well run teams at every age group. I left the Minors in good hands. But the Minors have never left me and I have always been there when support or advice was needed and its given me great pleasure to see hundreds of Minors games.
2009 Award to Eric Lane
In May 2009 Eric was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his contribution to Leominster Minors over many years. The presentation was made, fittingly, in the centre circle of the Town Prem pitch and preceded a special match between Eric's 'originals' (still going strong') and the Minors Under 16's, managed by Andy Bowden. We received a nice thankyou letter from Eric which you can read here