Club history – Youth

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Knebworth Youth was formed back in 1977 by Doug Dilley, initially with just an U12 boys team in that first season and with only 12 players. After some advertising the club began to grow and quickly had teams at U9 and U10 for the following season. The growth and development since those early days has been rapid and the club today has boys and girls teams from Under 6 through to Under 17 and over 200 registered players. The club emblem is the face of a cat and each age group adopts a big cat name (Lions, Cheetahs, Tigers, Leopards etc.) which they stick with throughout each season.

Through some hard work by the committee and then chairman Tony Lamacraft, the club first achieved the FA’s ‘Charter Standard’ award in 2004 and went on to pick up the Herts FA ‘Club of the Year’ in this category in both 2006 and also 2008. Further hard work and continued development saw the club achieve the coveted FA ‘Development Club’ status after much hard work behind the scenes and particular thanks to long-serving club secretary Richard Thom and then chairman James Borrie. James stood down after serving the club well over his three seasons in charge and the chairmanship was handed over to Steve Cook, who has been with the club since 2002, at the start of the 2011-2012 season.

Two years later plans were made to amalgamate the senior club (Knebworth FC) with the youth section, forming one organisation providing football for the children of Knebworth and surrounding villages from age 5 through to adulthood. This meant a change to the club colours, reverting back to the old orange and black, and also saw a new general committee serving both sides of the new club as well as inidivual committee members for both the youth and adult sections. This was achieved in the summer of 2013 and the chairmanship was undertaken by Stuart Biddle, chairman of the senior club and former vice-chairman of the youth club.

During the 2013-2014 season the club further expanded to bring in the veterans section thus allowing the players of Knebworth to have a clear pathway from age 5 right through to 65 or older (if the legs can take it!) within the new club.

Continued success behind the scenes to develop our club, our coaches and the players, has been rewarded with many successes on the pitch in recent years. Here is the roll of honour from the past few seasons:

2017/18

  • The U12 Leopards Oranges, under Darren Bedford, win the Plate at the Welwyn Pegasus Tournament.
  • The U11 Lions and the U14 Tigers go o Tour to Châtelaillon-Plage in France to play friendlies against Les Diables Rouges.
  • The Reserves, under Carl Smith and Sam Bysouth, win the Greg Cup (the Club’s fourth success in the competition) beating Wormley Rovers reserves 7-0 at Hitchin Town FC.

2016/17

  • The U18 Cheetahs Blacks, under Neil Parker, finish as runaway winners of the Royston Crow U18 Division 2.
  • The First team, under Frazer Triggs and Tony Malocco, finish 9th in the Premier Division of the Herts Senior County League.

2015/16

  • 10 teams from Knebworth F.C. (U6’s through to U12’s) compete in the Hatters Cup at Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road – 12 players are invited for trials.
  • The U9 Oranges, under Paul Hewitt, win the Cup tournament in the Knebworth Summer Tournament.
  • The U9 Blacks, under John Boyle, finish as runners-up in Shield tournament in the Knebworth Summer Tournament.
  • The U10 Oranges, under Adrian Smyth, finish as runners-up in the Welwyn Pegasus Tournament Cup.
  • The U10 Oranges, under Adrian Smyth, finish as runners-up in the Berkhampsted Raiders tournament not conceding a goal in open play and only losing in a sudden death penalty shootout.
  • The U10 Blacks, under Darren Aldrich and Dave Poultney, finish as runners-up in the Welwyn Pegasus Tournament Shield.
  • The U10 Blacks, under Darren Aldrich and Dave Poultney, win the Shield tournament in the Knebworth Summer Tournament.
  • The U12 Tigers, under Sean Westcott and Chris Evans, win their first ever league title by winning the U12 Red Spring League without losing a match.
  • The U12 Tigers, under Sean Westcott and Chris Evans, go on tour to Camp Nou Barcelona and win the Plate Tournament. In an historic moment for club and players they have their photo taken on the pitch inside the Camp Nou.
  • The U14 Wildcats, under Stuart Townsend and Lee Anderton, finish as runners-up in the U14 9-a-side League finishing 1 point behind winners Bishops Stortford.
  • The U16 Cheetahs Oranges, under Steve Cook and Barry Unwin, finish as runners-up in Division 1 of the MHRML finishing 1 point behind winners Broomfield Academy Blues.
  • The Reserves, under Dean Summerbee and Simon Chipperfield, lose the final of the Cecil Hudson Cup at Ware F.C. 2-0 to Nirankari conceding two very late goals.
  • The First team, under Frazer Triggs and Tony Malocco, finish as runners-up in Division 1 of the Herts Senior County League and gain promotion in to the Senior Premier.

2014/15

  • The U9 Leopards under Adrian Smyth finish as runners-up in the Hatters Cup at Luton Town FC.
  • The U11 Tigers under Sean Westcott finish runners-up in Knebworth Youth 5-a-side festival.
  • The U13 Pumas under Che Cheriton finish runners-up in Knebworth Youth 5-a-side festival.
  • The First team, under Ady Bird and Ross Murphy, lost the final of the Greg Cup 5-2 in extra time against FC Lemsford at Hitchin Town FC.

Summer 2014 Knebworth Old Boys F.C. is incorporated into the combined club.

2013-2014

  • The U14 Cheetahs Yellows under Steve Cook finished as runners-up in Division One of the MHRML to gain promotion.
  • The U12 Pumas under Che Cheriton were runaway winners of the Royston Crow U12 Division 2 Division.
  • Che Cheriton also led his Pumas to the U12 League Cup final where they were beaten by Stevenage Borough Juniors and finished as runners-up.
  • Steve Cook’s U14 Cheetahs Yellows made it to the ORC Division One Cup Final where they eventually emerged as champions after a nail-biting 4-3 victory over Cuffley Youth Cobras.

Summer 2013 Knebworth Youth F.C. is incorporated into the combined club.

2012-2013

  • The U10 Jaguars, coached by Mike Astley and Craig Cowe finished as champions in the RCYFL. They were narrowly beaten on penalties in the final of the Knebworth 5-a-side festival too.
  • The Girls Wildcats finished an honourable second in division two of the Herts Girls Football Partnership.
  • Che Cheriton led his U11 Pumas ‘Yellows’ to success in the Knebworth Youth 5-a-side festival in June.
  • The U9 Tigers under Sean Westcott finish as runners-up in the Royston Town Youth tournament narrowly beaten on penalties after not conceding a goal all morning.

2011-2012

  • Barely into September and Steve Hill’s Lions pick up the Welwyn Pegasus U14 ‘Shield’ – their first trophy and no doubt more will follow shortly!
  • Also breaking their duck was Andy Churn’s Girls U11 Tigresses over the same weekend, this time crowned as champions at the AFC Kempston tournament.
  • Completing the hat-trick of first-time champions, Mike Astley and Craig Cowe led their U9 Jaguars to Shield victory at the Welwyn Pegasus tournament.
  • In what is turning out a great season, the Girls U11 Tigresses coached by Andy Churn and Stuart Townsend are crowned as HGFP Division Two champions.
  • A truly great season for Steve Hill’s U14 Lions who upset the odds to win the RCYFL U14 League Cup with a 2-1 win over county champions Buntingford Cougars.
  • Steve Cook’s U12 Cheetahs ‘Yellows’ finished as runners-up in a strongly contested Hatters Cup at Luton Town FC in May 2012.
  • Another ‘near-miss’ for the U12 Cheetahs ‘Yellows’ as they finish as runners-up in the Ware Youth 6-a-side festival in July 2012.

2010-2011

  • The Girls U12 Lionesses under Denise Carter finished as runners-up in the Flitwick Eagles pre-season tournament in September 2010.
  • Over the same weekend Steve Cook’s U11 Cheetahs ‘Yellows’ also finished as runners-up in their age group at the same event.
  • The U12 Lionesses go on to win the Chiltern 7’s U12 League Cup against previously unbeaten AFC Kempston.
  • The boys U18 Leopards, under Stuart Biddle, lift the Royston Crow U18 League Cup with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Royston Town.
  • Denise Carter’s U12 Lionesses cap a marvellous season by finishing as runners-up in the SCI Ultimatch Cup competition in Great Yarmouth.
  • The boys U11 Cheetahs, under Steve Cook, also finish as runners-up in the SCI Ultimatch Cup competition in Great Yarmouth.
  • Knebworth’s U9 Pumas, managed by Jon Harris, finish as RCYFL League Cup runners-up.
  • The U11 Cheetahs Yellows, under Steve Cook, ensure a title at every age group from U6 by picking up the Bedford Park Rangers 11-a-side winners trophy in June 2011.
  • In the same event, the U11 Cheetahs Blacks finished a creditable runners-up in the shield event.
  • The Girls U12 Lionesses once again go close but finish as runners-up in the Milton Keynes City Youth tournament in June 2011.
  • The U11 Cheetahs Yellows are enjoying a successful summer and pick up the Evergreen Youth 6-a-side trophy after winning every game and only conceding two goals all day.
  • In their last involvement in the competition, Steve Cook’s U11 Cheetahs win the Knebworth tournament in grand style for the third time in four years with no goals against all day.

2009-2010

  • Steve Cook’s U10 Cheetahs start the new season in style picking up the winners trophy in a 24 team pre-season event at Welwyn Pegasus F.C.
  • The U10 Cheetahs squad were also voted ‘Youth Team of the Year’ in The Comet sports awards for their achievements during 2009.
  • The Girls U12 Lionesses, coached by Denise Carter were runners-up in the HGFP U12 League Cup final after going down 3-1 to Bury Rangers in a good game.
  • The U17 Ocelots, managed by Ricky Verdia, finished as Division Two runners-up, narrowly missing out on the title after a last game defeat.
  • However the U17 Tigers, under Chris McNaught, win the Division One title in their first season back in the top flight.
  • The U16 Panthers, coached by Paul Pearson, also finished a very close runners-up in Division One of the Royston Crow League, only overtaken on the last day of the season by a unfulfilled fixture.
  • The U8 Pumas, coached by Paul McLaughlin and Jon Harris, finally got their reward for some impressive performances by winning the Hitchin Sevens tournament.
  • It was another trophy for Steve Cook’s U10 Cheetahs who also finished as champions at the Hitchin Sevens tournament on the pitch at Top Field in May 2010.
  • The U10 Cheetahs put in a superb performance to topple favourites Bishop’s Stortford Town in the RCYFL League Cup final.
  • The U10 Cheetahs then won for a second successive season on tour, this time winning the Sussex Cup down in Selsey over Whitsun.
  • The Girls U10’s, under Denise Carter, win the Knebworth Youth tournament.
  • The Girls U10’s follow this up with the Woburn Lionesses tournament title.

2008-2009

  • The U9 Cheetahs, under Steve Cook, lift the Tottenham Hotspur title for a second successive year.
  • The U9 Cheetahs also win the Panshanger tournament for a second time.
  • In what is becoming a fantastic season, the U9 Cheetahs travel to the Isle of Wight to lift the U9 cup over Easter.
  • The U16 Tigers win the Royston Crow Division Two championship under the guidance of Trevor Jones and Chris McNaught.
  • The U13 Wildcats finish as runners-up in the AVC/Chiltern Division One.
  • The U13 Wildcats, in Nick Ironton’s last season, go on to triumph in the Chiltern U13 League Cup.
  • In their first season, the U11 Girls Lionesses, under Denise Carter, finish as Herts Girls Football Partnership Division Two runners-up.
  • The Girls U11 Lionesses also finish as runners-up in the Camber Sands tournament.
  • The Girls U9 Pixie Bobs, also under Denise Carter, win the Herts Girls Football Partnership Division Two title.
  • Steve Cook’s U9 Cheetahs travel to East London and win the prestigious West Ham United tournament on the pitch at Upton Park.
  • The U9 Cheetahs then successfully defend their Knebworth Tournament title for a second year in July 2009.
  • Denise Carter’s Girls U9 Pixie Bobs finish as runners-up in the same Knebworth Tournament.
  • Then the Girls U11 Lionesses go on to win the Letchworth Eagles Tournament.
  • The U15 Panthers under Paul Pearson triumph at the Hatfield Youth Tournament for a second successive year.
  • The young U8 Lynxes, coached by Simon Wood, finish as runners-up in the King Georges Tournament in Welwyn.

2007-2008

  • The U8 Cheetahs, under Steve Cook, travel to Chigwell in Essex and lift the inaugural Tottenham Hotspur Challenge Cup.
  • To make it a great day, the U9 Bobcats under Phil Wheeler also win at Tottenham.
  • The U12 Wildcats, under Kevin Rees and Nick Ironton, just miss out as they finish as runners-up in the Royston Crow Division One.
  • The U12 Wildcats then make up for their disappointment by winning the Royston Crow League Cup once again.
  • The U16 Jaguars, under Mark Slater and Mike Brookes, have a great season to finish as runners-up in the Royston Crow Division One.
  • The U14 Panthers, under Ian Ferguson and Paul Pearson, triumph in their Royston Crow League Cup final.
  • The U14 Panthers also finish as close runners-up in the Royston Crow Division One.
  • The U14 Panthers. with two teams entered, finish as both Champions and Runners-up in the Hatfield tournament.
  • The U8 Cheetahs under Steve Cook add the Sandy Colts 5-a-side title to their growing collection.
  • One week later the U8 Cheetahs become the first-ever Knebworth team to win on home soil in the Knebworth tournament.
  • The U6 Pumas, under Paul McLaughlin, finish as runners-up in the Knebworth tournament.

2006-2007

  • The U11 Wildcats, under Kevin Rees and Nick Ironton, win the Luton Town ‘Hatters Cup’.
  • Their joy is shared by the U13 Panthers, who triumph in the same tournament to make it a great club double.
  • The U11 Wildcats win the Royston Crow League Cup, and finish as Division One runners-up.
  • The U11 Wildcats win tournaments at West Ham United, St Albans City Youth, Bedford Park Rangers, Bishop’s Stortford, Letchworth Eagles and Biggleswade
  • The U7 Cheetahs, under Steve Cook, finish as runners-up in a competitive Norfolk Cup event up at Hemsby in Great Yarmouth.
  • The U7 Cheetahs then go on to win the Hatfield Youth tournament.
  • The U7 Cheetahs also finish as runners-up at the Letchworth Eagles tournament.
  • The U8 Bobcats, under Phil Wheeler, gain their first tournament silverware by winning the Fairlands tournament.
  • The U13 Panthers end on a high note winning the Shefford Saints 9-a-side tournament.

2005-2006

  • The U10 Wildcats, coached by Kevin Rees and Nick Ironton, win the Royston Crow Division A title.
  • The U10 Wildcats second team finish as runners-up in Division B.
  • The U10 Wildcats almost make it a double but finish as runners-up in the League Cup.
  • The new U6 Cheetahs, coached by Steve Cook, win their first-ever tournament at Panshanger.
  • The U9 Cougars, also coached by Steve Cook, win the Fairlands Youth tournament.
  • The U9 Cougars almost make it a double but end up as runners-up in the Knebworth Youth tournament.

2004-2005

  • The U11 Panthers, under Phil Kirkby, are crowned Royston Crow Division Two champions.
  • The U10 Leopards, under Steve Cox, finish as Royston Crow Division One runners-up.

2003-2004

  • The now U8 Wildcats, under Kevin Rees and Nick Ironton, were unbeaten all season and retain the Royston Crow League Cup.
  • The U13 Pumas, managed by Trevor Blake and Ian Mulcahy, win the Royston Crow Division Two title.

2002-2003

  • The U7 Wildcats, managed by Kevin Rees, triumph in the Royston Crow League Cup.
  • The U8 Leopards, managed by Steve Cox, also triumph in their Royston Crow League Cup final.
  • The U11 Jaguars, under the guidance of Dave Eaton and Bob Taylor, win the Royston Crow League Cup.