One of the most famous non-league sides of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Leamington met us for the first and only time in 1985. That was an FA Cup Preliminary Round clash; a match that we won thanks to two Doug Pirie goals. Part of the reason that more meetings didn’t happen, however, is due to the Brakes disappearing in 1988. This came after they lost their Windmill Ground. Not until 2000 was the club brought back to life.
Leamington had entered uncertain times when they arrived at Broadhall Way for the first and only meeting between us and them. For decades, they had been a ‘works’ team – first for Lockheed, then with Automotive Products. It’s why the history books have them listed as Lockheed Borg and Beck between 1944-6; Lockheed Leamington between 1946-73; and AP Leamington between 1973-85. The link between club and industry ended in 1985, however.
The Brakes went back to plain old Leamington after that – a name it hadn’t used since 1892, when Town was tacked on the end of their title. Automotive Products’ ended its association with the club due to financial problems. Unsurprisingly, it had a knock-on effect on the club – as programme notes from our 1984-5 FA Cup Preliminary Round stated. A developer snapped up the old Windmill Ground and, three years later, left the club homeless.
It was another kick in the teeth for Leamington during the mid-80s. In 1983, the club won the Southern League Premier Division title – but were denied promotion back to the Conference. The state of the stadium was the cited reason – and it meant runners-up Kidderminster Harriers were sent up instead. It took another 30 years, but the club finally avenged that disappointment and won that title again in 2013.
How to get to Leamington – Travel Information – Distance: 72 miles
Get yourself onto the M1 and head north. At Junction 17, keep left and continue onto the M45 towards Coventry. At the end of the motorway, continue over the roundabout for the A45. But this is only for a mile. That’s because you need to take the A4071 exit and join the B4453 that goes past the Travelodge.
After 3.3 miles, turn left for the A423, then left again onto the B4455 Fosse Way. Stay on Fosse Way for around 7.5 miles until you come to a junction with Harbury Lane. Go right down here and head on for 0.4 miles.
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