Club history – Veterans

Knebworth Old Boys FC (KNOBS) were started off by a group of friends in 1985 following a meeting at the Duck pub in Burnham Green. Originally the team was a 5-a-side one called Knebworth Shooters but after a while an 11-a-side game was organised against Olivetti. This game took place on the artificial pitch at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road on 2nd October 1985 and resulted in an emphatic 10-0 victory. The Old Boys were up and running and following this victory the club were inspired enough to enter a friendly league.

The original constitution was to enable younger and older players to play together but eventually it became a veteran’s only side. Successful lobbying of the Parish Council allowed the Old Boys to use the pitch at the recreation ground and as today the Station pub would be the post-match venue.

The Old Boys went from strength to strength and in 1999 ventured into and conquered Europe by defeating the mighty Châtelaillon-Plage in an epic battle. They returned a couple of years later and took part in a beach football competition played in front of packed stands.

Another highlight was an away game at Rod Stewart’s house against a team that included Ian Wright, Mark Bright and Paul Ince.

In recent years the club has been playing and holding their own in the Mid Herts Veterans League. This league was formed between like-minded veteran’s teams who wanted things to become even more competitive than they already were!

A highlight of recent years was the Harpenden Heroes, an injury ravaged Old Boys team with an average age of 51 who went to the home of the champions Harpenden Rovers and came away with a fantastic 2-1 victory.

My thanks to Jerry Young, Brendan Wren, Chris Blaney, John Twigg and Bill Martin for providing their insights into the early years of the Old Boys.

Looking to the Future

My involvement with the Old Boys started in 2005 after I moved to Knebworth and ended up right next door to the manager Ron Crennell. What a character and a great football man who was involved with the club for many years and quite a few of them as manager.

I have been lucky enough to get to know quite a few of the founding and early members of the Old Boys and quite a few were still playing when I moved to Knebworth. This has changed over recent years as they have played less frequently and younger players (if you can call over 35’s young!) have joined.

None of the founding members are now actively involved in the running of the club and those that are involved have felt for quite a while the need for the Old Boys legacy to be protected and to ensure the long-term future of the club.

A few years back Neil Parker commented on how youth players looking across the recreation ground would never know what teams were playing on the main A1 pitch on a Sunday morning and how it would be nice if they could know that one of those teams were representing Knebworth. That summer the Old Boys got a new kit in the Knebworth Youth FC colours and it was decided that the club would play in Knebworth club colours from then on.

I have known the club chairman Stuart Biddle for a few years now and on many occasions we have talked about the football setup in the village and also how it would be great if the Old Boys were to become a part of Knebworth FC. As far as I know this had been talked about long before my involvement with the club but had never happened for various reasons and more recently due to a lack of information and what it would mean to the Old Boys as a club.

After Knebworth Youth FC joined Knebworth FC last year it was finally decided that the Old Boys should look to do the same and I am delighted to say that following a recent meeting this has now happened. The club can now offer a playing pathway from under 6’s up to whatever age you like. Personally I am delighted as I feel it will secure the future of the Old Boys as a Knebworth based veteran’s football team.

Season Review

The Old Boys season has just ended with a 3-1 home victory against last season’s league winners MBDA. Results this season have been mixed and at times disappointing due in part to never really having the opportunity to field a settled side because of injuries to key players and other players not being available on a regular basis. There has also been quite a few new players to integrate into the squad.

Ron Crennell had to relinquish the post of manager towards the end of the season as he moved away from Knebworth to take up gardening in Pembrokeshire. Ron will be a tough act to follow but a new joint management team of the ever enthusiastic and tactically astute Dave Jordan and Darren Aldrich have taken over and have promised to return the glory days to the Old Boys. A top 3 finish in the league and a good cup run is the aim and long-time chairman Alastair Moye expects them to deliver.

And finally remember that you’re never too old to play the beautiful game!

John Boyle