Leatherhead. It sounds like it could be a band name. To be fair, stick any old word in front of ‘head’ and you’ve got yourself a bona fide band name. Radio. Portis. Machine. We *could* go on. What we know about the place is that it’s right next to the M25. That’s about it. Sorry, not sorry really. Thanks to getSurrey, though, we know now there are nine amazing reasons to live in the town. That said, the first reason alone is enough for us…
Leatherhead: Who Are They?
Not in that list of nine reasons to move everything you own (and the things you borrowed but won’t give back) to Leatherhead right now is the town’s football club. Formed in 1946, the modern Tanners are who came about from the merger of Leatherhead Rose and Leatherhead United. Yet, the word on the street is that you can join the dots of the current club back to formation of ‘Rose’ in 1907. So, it’s from that point their story starts.
Life for the merged club started in the Surrey Senior League in 1946, before they switched to the Metropolitan & District League in 1950 having won four titles on the spin. It was a one-season stay; moving on to help found the Delphian League in 1951 and then onto the Corinthian League in 1958. The Corinthian League disbanded in 1963, however, but not before Leatherhead took the honour of being its last ever champions. Which is nice.
Into the Athenian League the Tanners went, like most others left homeless after the Corinthian League met its end. Nine seasons later, and the club were on the move again; this time, to the Isthmian League. At this point in time, Leatherhead were buoyant. The 1974-5 season is “famous” for their best ever FA Cup showing. It could’ve been even better too, had they not let slip a two-goal lead against top flight Leicester City in Round Four.
Us And Them…
In 1983, the club were relegated after a fairly modest six-season stint in the Isthmian Premier League. Had the Tanners not had three points lopped off their 1984-5 Division One season tally, however, things could’ve been so very different. It ultimately cost them promotion back to the Premier Division. And, still stuck in Div One, it was two seasons later that Boro’ rocked up on the scene. The first league game of the 1986-7 season, in fact.
Like the upstarts at a higher level that we are, Boro’ got life in Division One off to a dream start thanks to a 2-0 win at Broadhall Way. It was not quite as dreamy in the return at Fetcham Grove, but a 1-1 draw is no real disaster. It was also the score indoors the following season; us again starting the league campaign with a visit from Leatherhead. By the time we met again, however, our great slide back to Division Two North had started.
And Then What?
Leatherhead’s 2-0 win in February ’88 was, at the time, our third straight defeat in the league. It was the third in which we’d failed to score too. We’d lose another four on the spin after that too. And down we went. By the time we were back in Division One, the Tanners’ fortunes had gone south too; relegation in 1990 dropping the club into Division Two South. It took until 1997 for them to return to Division One. We were long gone.
The Tanners have made further progress in the years since, side-stepping (just) money issues in 2000 that had nearly killed them off. With a bit of yo-yoing en route, Leatherhead seem set in the Isthmian League Premier Division under the management of former Boro’ midfielder Sammy Moore for now. And, not for the first time either, the club have been making waves in the FA Cup – giving Wycombe a scare in this year’s tournament.
Leatherhead: Boro’s Record
P4 W1 D2 L1 F4 A4 – League Points: 5, Cup Meetings: 0, Win Rate: 25%
• BoroGuide’s Leatherhead club profile – for old time’s sake…