If there are two things we remember about Aylesbury United, it’d be the iconic duck goal celebration and our on-pitch meetings; the last of which to date was our 1995-6 FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round win. Of course, we did spend time together in the same league when both of us were members of the Diadora League Premier Division during the early 1990s. Much changed for us and them in the following years – although our respective fortunes can be best described as contrasting (in our favour).
Aylesbury United: The Facts
Amy Lane, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, HP5 1NE
In the case of the Ducks, a merger is what saw them come to be in 1897. The clubs involved in that merger had some interesting names too: Night School, Printing Works, and Aylesbury Town. If you ask us, they are all legit indie band names. In the initial years, the new club would play in local leagues. But, in 1908, they’d step up into the Spartan League; a competition in which they’d play until 1951. Unfortunately for them, the time spent in the Spartan League didn’t deliver any honours.
Leaving the Spartan League in 1951, the Ducks earned a place in the Delphian League. Not only would the 1951-2 campaign be their first in that competition, but it’d be the year in which they became the only club from the Delphian League to reach the proper stages of the FA Cup too. Two years later, they secured the league title – and generally maintained a strong presence in the competition until it disbanded in 1963. At this point, the club were placed in Athenian League Division Two.
The Ducks’ 13 years in the Athenian League delivered one promotion and one relegation. But that was the limit of the excitement; the club joining the Southern League for a new challenge in 1976. Over the next 10 years or so, they consolidated their presence in the Southern League; growing in strength during the mid-1980s in particular. It culminated in a 1987-8 title win that earned them promotion to the Conference. The downside is that it’d be a step too far; the Ducks relegated straight away.
Why do we know the Ducks?
On going down from the Conference, the Ducks ended up in the Isthmian – not the Southern – League. It would also be the start of a period in time where the club did some tasty things in the FA Cup. And it was also a period in which their residency in the Premier Division would coincide with our time at that level too. On our watch, the Ducks were a mid-table team. It fitted an erratic run for them during the late 1980s and 1990; one that saw them finish second in 1999, then 20th in 2000 as an example.
In fact, 20th didn’t keep them up and they fell into Isthmian League Division One. While they returned to the Premier Division after two seasons, they’d finish bottom a further two years later and rejoined the Southern League. Their return didn’t exactly go too well and they were relegated from the Southern League Premier Division after two campaigns. The 2009-10 season then saw them drop out of the competition completely; doing a bit of footballing porridge in the Spartan South Midlands League for three seasons.
From 2013 onwards (and not for the first time), the Ducks were back in the Southern League.
How to get to Aylesbury United – Travel Information – Distance: 32 miles
For the trip to Chesham, head south on the A1(M) and exit onto the A414 on the southern side of the Hatfield Tunnel. Take the A405 to join the M25 at Junction 21A, before coming off the motorway at Junction 20 for the A41.
Head for Aylesbury on the A41 for 7.5 miles, before taking the A416 exit for Chesham. As you come into the town, take the first exit for Berkhampstead Road (A416); continuing on through four roundabouts. After 1.4 miles, the ground is around and up to the right.
It doesn’t look like there’s much parking at the ground – but you can always prove us wrong.
Services to: KING’S CROSS ST PANCRAS
For the uninitiated, Chesham is a London Underground station on the Metropolitan Line. It might as well be in Westeros or Narnia, however; sat way out there in the contrived Zone 175 or whatever it is. Turn left out of the station onto Station Road and then left onto East Street. At the bottom of the street, turn left onto the A416 and follow it around to the right.
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