Debenham LC Football Club History
The football club was formed in the summer of 1991 under the name of Debenham Angels FC in division 7 of the Suffolk and Ipswich League. That season the team was unbeaten in the league and gained promotion to division 6 from where they were again promoted two tears later. In 1996 the success continued as the club was promoted from division 5 to division 4 which was won at the first attempt, and that season saw the formation of a reserve team that entered division 8.
Season 1998-1999 finished with the reserves winning division 8 and as losing finalists in the Orwell Cup which saw the accolade of Junior Club of the Year being won.
Next season 199-2000 the first team were division 3 champions and the reserves were promoted from division 8.
Another championship in season 2000-2001 saw the first team promoted to division 1 and the reserves were promoted to the SIL Intermediate B division.
Promotion from division 1 was narrowly missed in 2001-2002 and in the following season relegation to division 2 was only avoided in the last week of the season.
2003 saw the appointment of ex Stowmarket Town manager Mel Aldis and his assistant Alistair Forster as the management team with help from Kevin Snell, with the direct result of promotion to the SIL Senior Division as division 1 champions.
The final game of season 2003-2004 saw a 10-0 victory over Ipswich Exiles which gave the club the championship of division 1 by goal difference over local rivals Framlingham Town FC and promotion to the SIL senior division. The following season, the clubs first in senior football exceeded all expectations by ending as runners up to East Bergholt United FC and gaining promotion to the Ridgeons Eastern Counties League.
In season 2005-2006 the adult teams and the highly successful junior setup - comprising 14 teams - joined forces under the new name of Debenham Leisure Centre Football Club, to be known as Debenham LC FC. Mel Aldis persuaded the East Bergholt United manager Trevor Wardlaw to join him at Debenham to prepare for the challenge of Ridgeons league football, thus renewing their partnership of the mid nineties when they were together at Stowmarket Town FC. Mels assistant Alistair Forster continued in his role with Lee Hunter taking on the responsibility for club coaching.
The reserves were managed by Simon Sparrow with assistance from Kevin Snell and the new under 18s team played in the newly formed Ridgeons Youth League managed by Gary French and Ian Wray.
Season 2006-2007 saw the under 18s moving into the reserves, which had moved from the SIL Reserve League to the Ridgeons Reserve League North Division under the guidance of joint managers Kevin |Snell and Simon Sparrow.
The first team ended their first season in the Ridgeons league in 10th position which was regarded by all as a creditable performance. The coaching team was strengthened by the appointment of Neil Smye .
Having completed the majority of the necessary ground improvements the club was able to enter the FA Vase competition.
Season 2006-2007 saw the club finish in a very pleasing 5th place and progress to 2 cup semi-finals. Our deadly striking partnership of Stuart Jopling and Ian Gedny shared the league golden boot with 32 league goals each.
2008-2009 saw Mel take sole charge of the first team with assistance from Ian Gedny, and the reserves being managed by Kevin Snell and Mark Bowers. This was also the year that saw the club enter the FA Cup competition, just 3 years after achieving senior club status - a feat that commends all those who have participated in the growth and progress of the club. This first FA Cup venture saw us win through 3 rounds before finally bowing out to the strength of AFC Wimbledon in front of Maitlands record crowd of 1026.
For season 2008-2009 Debenham LC FC started the season well but suffered a worrying lack of form - and goals - around Christmas/New Year and thoughts of promotion were put on the back burner as we were in mid table and a long way short on goal difference.
Things then improved over the early year games and a dramatic late season surge of form saw the club go into the last game of the season in 4th place behind Halstead Town FC by 2 points. A comprehensive 7-0 victory at March Town United for Debenham LC and Halstead Towns draw at Great Yarmouth saw the teams tied on points but Debenham won the last promotion place thanks to their goal difference which was improved by an astonishing 25 over the last 7 games of the season.
The first season for the club in the Ridgeons Premier Division, 2009 - 2010, turned out to be another season of highs and lows with perhaps the highest point being that the team established itself in the league finishing in a very creditable 14th position out of the 20 clubs that finished the campaign.. Just like the previous season the club began the season well with a number of notable victories that put points in the bag and saw the club rise up to the lofty position of third in the league during the early weeks of October but the fairy tale couldn’t last and the colder weather with its heavy pitches plus some devastating injury losses saw the club lose its early impetus and fall back to mid table. The loss of first Kevin Barker and then Stuart Jopling through injuries saw the club go from Christmas 2009 to the middle of March 2010 without a win but the team battled through and a tremendous resurgence of form from the whole team and some individuals in particular saw the team gain a series of results that guaranteed top flight football again for season 2010-2011.
Increased membership of the committee saw a new level of commitment at the club and a fresh optimism that the club is moving into a new era that we all hope will see the club grow both on and off the pitch and take its place as one of the leading football clubs in Suffolk.
After two seasons in the Ridgeons Premier Division however the grim realities of life at the top bit hard and a succession of injuries to key players and the loss of a number of players to greener pastures left the club struggling to compete during season 2011-2012 and an awful season ended with the club at the bottom of the league with only seven wins. Our manager and Debenham legend Mel Aldis tendered his resignation which was reluctantly accepted and we now look forward to the new season in division one with optimism and hope for the future.
Rob Allum joined the club from Framlingham Town FC as first team manager for the start of the new season and was keen to put his own stamp on the club as we looked to reestablish a presence in the top flight of local football but Rob’s personal and working commitments caused him to leave the club after only a few months. It didn’t take long for the club to promote Dale Vince to the vacant manager’s post and he had Jason Pettit also moved up from managing the reserves team to be his assistant. Dale and Jason steadied the ship and the team responded with a number of excellent performances playing good passing football that saw them climb up the table to sit in third spot around the new year but a series of defeats near the end of the season saw the club finish in seventh place out of sixteen clubs. Considering the slow start to the season this must be regarded as a considerable achievement and should be a good basis on which to build the team and plan an assault on the First Division title to ultimately regain Premier Division status.