Saturday, 8 May 2021

Buckingham United FC - Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre

Buckingham United FC
Lace Hill Sports & Community Centre
Catchpin Street
MK18 7RR

07734 395513

Ground Number: 954
Saturday 8th May 2021
Buckingham United 3-4 Mursley United


Buckingham United FC was formed in 2011 by local footballers frustrated at the lack of opportunities in the town. It was understandable as Buckingham Town had left the town after losing their ground earlier that year, leaving Buckingham Athletic as the only club in the town. They played in local leagues at first, joining the North Bucks & District League Division 1 in 2016. They finished a respectable 5th in their first season in a league that sits at step 10 of the non-league pyramid. The 2017/18 season saw them finish as runners-up to Bletchley Park. I couldn't find any records for the 2018/19 season but for the following year, 2019/20, the club was elevated to step 7 Spartan South Midlands Division 2. They found the step up tricky last season, but still stayed comfortably away from the sole (potential) relegation spot. With seventeen games played, they'd won five, drawn three and lost nine to leave them 13th out of 15 when the season was abandoned. This season they improved slightly, sitting 9th when the season was once more curtailed.

In terms of local cups, Buckingham United won the North Bucks and District League Division 1 Cup in 2018. The town of Buckingham is in north Buckinghamshire and has a population of just under 13,000. It was the former county town of Buckinghamshire until Aylesbury took over in the early 18th century. It was established in the 7th century by the first Anglo-Saxon settlers, the name literally meaning 'meadow of Bucca's people. Buckingham Old Gaol is the town's museum which was established in 1993 in the historic town centre Old Gaol building. It also houses temporary exhibitions and the Tourist Information Centre. Rugby and cricket are also played in the town. Famous people associated with the town include footballer Sam Baldock, former House Of Commons Speaker John Bercow and controversial businessman Robert Maxwell who was the Labour MP for the town from 1964 until 1970.

There have been a few football clubs in the town over the years. Buckingham Town played at Ford Meadow from 1883 until 2011. They were famous for playing Leyton Orient in an FA Cup tie and were also very successful in non-league circles. They were forced out of their ground in 2011, sharing at Winslow for a season before moving to the Irish Centre in Milton Keynes. They subsequently changed their name to Milton Keynes Robins for a few years before merging with Unite MK to become MK Irish in 2020. Another side Buckingham Athletic still pay in the town, currently in step 6 Spartan South Midlands Division 1. There was also a Buckingham United that played in the Spartan South Midlands League in the mid-1990s. However, they resigned mid-season in 1998 and appear to have no connection to the current club. Finally, the University of Buckingham's football team plays in local leagues. On Google Maps, they are listed as playing at the former home of Buckingham Town.


Once again, it was time to look for a game for this Saturday. What with trying to find which grounds are worth visiting and which are also admitting spectators, it was tricky.  I spent around an hour coming up with a list of various places, but I needn't have bothered. Once I came up with the suggestion of Buckingham United, it was greeted with universal popularity on our groundhopping group. After nearly 10 years of having Anwar as my only companion (and struggling to get him interested at times, hopping had suddenly become popular. It was understandable, it is a great hobby after all and people, having only seen a few live matches in a year, wanted to give it a go. It got to the point where I didn't have enough space in my car to take all the new converts. I started making all the arrangements on Thursday night, which was when I knew I'd be oversubscribed. On Friday, it was a reasonable day at work but a tiring one and I enjoyed a couple of ciders as I researched my blog in the afternoon. Looking at clubs histories is something I really enjoy doing, just to get an idea of what the club are about before I visit. Teams at step 7 and below are trickier to research though, with the information generally fragmented across various sources. Buckingham United were no exception, but I did find out one surprising bit of information. This was that Buckingham Town's old Ford Meadow Ground was still visible on Google Maps and I learnt from fellow hopper Peter that it was indeed still there, albeit dilapidated. I also learned from the Football Traveller magazine that the club would be doing a programme and at £2 it would be a nice way to give a bit of money to the club. It would also hopefully fill in some of the gaps in my research. It was a relaxing Friday night and I had to turn down another hopper for the game, as my mate Giles, from Chesham, was also keen to see the game.

I awoke at 6 am, my usual work time, on the day of the game. I had been hoping to walk to town and back but it was bucketing down. Thanks to Karen Browne, the SSML fixtures secretary on Twitter, I already knew that the teams had nothing to play for, but I decided to investigate further as I couldn't find any table online. This also tied in with my researching the teams' form. I also decided that I was going to aim to complete the Spartan South Midlands Division 2, despite it having a couple of basic venues. I'd done a few pitches in the past, most notably last week when my intended game was called off at late notice and I was pretty happy to include them in my totals. I spent the morning at home, though I was just counting down the time until I was due to go. I made sure to keep an eye on Twitter and turn on notifications for Buckingham United's account in case of a postponement. Wycombe needed a miracle to stay up - a 13 goal win against Middlesbrough plus other results to go their way. They were 2-0 up when I left, which if nothing else, meant we were going out with a bang. I picked up Paul and George at 1.30 and we went 3-0 up before picking up Anwar. In the end, results went our way and we finished third bottom. We had a brief stop near Buckingham Town's old ground although the entrance that Google Maps directed us to meant that I had to use my zoom camera to get a picture. We got to the ground at 2.45 and met Colin and Thomas. The weather was dreadful, with strong winds and torrential rain but thankfully, it soon calmed down a bit.

Both teams were in disappointing form. Buckingham United had lost all three games - 2-1 against New Bradwell St Peter, 4-0 against MK Gallacticos and 6-1 against Old Bradwell United. Mursley United had managed a 1-1 draw against New Bradwell St Peter but lost 1-0 to Old Bradwell United and 6-2 to MK Gallacticos. As a result, both teams had nothing but pride to play for, with the other game deciding who went through to the finals. It turned out to be a cracking game, with no pressure on either side to get a result. Buckingham United started brightly but it was Mursley United who had the first serious chance when they hit the post. There were some fantastic goals scored and it was a shame that there are no details up at the time of writing this blog. The visitors took the lead on 15 minutes, the ball was laid back and the resulting shot found the top corner. I missed the second goal as a lady was taking down my details for track and trace. The first time in a long time and utterly pointless with it being outside but it's hard to knock someone with good intentions. Buckingham United pulled a goal back on 55 minutes, straight from the corner and a really decent effort. This really got the hosts playing and they had a number of good openings. However, it was Mursley United who extended their lead, a penalty converted after a trip in the area. Buckingham United pulled a goal back, an absolutely superb goal that flew in the top hand corner from 25 yards.  The visitors appeared to have a player sent off for a bad tackle near the end, though a red card wasn't shown from what I saw. He was told to go back to the dressing room but pointed out to the referee that they were out of action. From the resulting free-kick, a long ball was put in and somehow, a Buckingham man got a diving header in to level the scores. The hosts even tried for a winner, the keeper coming up for a corner. However, it proved to be their undoing, they were caught on the break and Mursley scored fairly easily without the glovesman in his net.

There were 33 in attendance, with six of these being Wycombe fans. We were all in a good mood after our team's commendable efforts this season and had a bit of a sing-song. Firstly, we christened one of the Mursley United players Allan Saint-Maximin thanks to his headband. He enjoyed the song and I think he got the opening goal. The player who scored Buckingham's first got a burst of Joe Jacobson's chant as it came from a corner, much as our hero had done on a number of occasions. The number 6 was christened 'Bayo' thanks to his bulky physique and seemed to enjoy that too. We also decided to get behind Buckingham United to liven the game up. The visiting number 12 took exception to this and gave us the 'V sign' when they got the winner, to which the group responded with a chant about his self-pleasuring habits, something that I chose not to join in with. It was slightly disappointing to see at the end, but it didn't detract from a brilliant game with both sides giving their all. It was a shame that Buckingham United got no points in this game and the cup as they were a credit to the sport. The game continued my good run of Spartan South Midlands League games providing great entertainment. We were drenched as we made our way back to the car. It was a shame that the only goal I got on film was a penalty as it was too wet to have my camera out. We said goodbye to Colin and Thomas who had a journey home on public transport. It had been my first random game with Paul for around 15 years and he'd really enjoyed himself. I dropped Anwar off at 5.20, Paul off at 5.50 and George off at 6, getting home ten minutes later. I had a nice kebab meal for dinner and a few drinks too with the usual blog writing, picture sorting and virtual pub quiz on a Saturday night.


THE LACE HILL SPORTS AND COMMUNITY CENTRE is a decent venue for the level and well kept. There's a railed pitch, bot no cover, save for a barn set back from the pitch. Parking was fairly plentiful, but there was not much open in the centre itself on my visit. However, there is a Costa and a Lidl nearby for food and drink.

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