Club History – Longhoughton Rangers YFC Established 2002
Our current badge design was influenced by several Coaches ideas combining, but of more interest may be the original Club Badge designed by then Youth Player Matty Kiddell at the Club. A Blue Circle where the Helicopter represented association to nearby RAF Boulmer which was commonly recognised for its Air Sea Rescue Helicopters from 202 Sqn which were often seen flying overhead Home games or in flight to aid, or save lives across the North of England and Scotland.
The Club was 15 years old in 2017, it was founded in 2002 by Carl Beattie and Julie Beattie. Carl who was the first Chairman and Manager of a Longhoughton Rangers YFC Team gathered together a group of very enthusiastic U6s who could not play in any league at first. His wife Julie Beattie was the first Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Child Welfare Officer and Kit Co-Ordinator who helped set the springboard for Longhoughton Rangers stability and later successes. The Club grew from that point going on to establish strong ties with the FA and local community and our teams competed initially in the Glendale League at Wooler Middle School. Two years later the Club expanded rapidly under the new Chairman Paul Kiddell and Secretary Pamela Kiddell who established stronger ties with the FA and Football Foundation.
We have always relied upon very kind and generous local sponsorship and widely sourced Grants enabling LRFC to grow with Northumberland FA guidance and to date to run season to season.
Club Records show in 2004 we had 27 players in 3 Glendale teams using 4 Samba plastic goals at Crowlea Road. The initial years of growth came from many villagers whose children were football mad and parents many of which were servicemen who got involved from the local RAF base. RAF Boulmer provided great support in use of its sporting facilities, helping Longhoughton Rangers with its one dilemma, its rapidly growing numbers and no permanent home venue. The village had a grass pitch at Crowlea Road which was very busy during a season and Lindisfarne Sports Hall taking the younger age groups for training during darker evenings, whilst the Club awaited exciting plans for new facilities.
In Feb 2009 Newcastle Utd star Steven Taylor handed over a £1m cheque on behalf of the Football Foundation to help build a new state-of-the-art community sports complex in North Northumberland. The Magpies defender joined football-mad youngsters from Longhoughton Rangers Youth Football Club at St James' Park to officially announce the cash donation - the maximum possible grant that the Foundation can award - to the Longhoughton Village Development Trust (LVDT).
The Football Foundation is the UK's largest sports charity, funded by the Premier League, The Football Association and the Government. The Football Foundation's £1m grant would help the LVDT create a third-generation artificial grass pitch, as well as two natural grass football pitches with changing facilities contained within a general-purpose community facility costing £1.5m in the North Northumberland village of Longhoughton.
Steven Taylor said: "Football is more than just a sport in this part of the world, it is a real passion. The players really appreciate the support we get from fans on a match day therefore I am delighted the top of the game is able to give something back and support communities through Football Foundation grants.’’
"This £1m from the Football Foundation will help create first-class facilities and enable more local people to play regular sport. Perhaps it will also lead to young talent from clubs like Longhoughton Rangers Youth FC putting on black and white jerseys in the near future."
The LVDT was inspired to build on the community success story that was the rapid growth of the village's Longhoughton Rangers Youth FC. Despite having been formed just a few years previous, the hard-working club committee identified a lack of football provision for youngsters in the area and had nearly 200 registered young boys and girls from all over North Northumberland – at the time from Belford to Acklington, now we can have players from as far as Eyemouth who travel to play for Longhoughton Rangers. This might sound crazy but like all clubs in a County that is so large our catchment has widened for various reasons.
Paul Kiddell, the then Chairman of Longhoughton Rangers YFC, said: "The Football Foundation is an amazing organisation which has transformed grassroots football across the country. They are supporting the LVDT with their maximum grant of £1m and are guaranteeing the success of this amazing facility which will provide a fantastic resource for our club and the wider community.’’
As more and more teams formed from local catchment and nearby villages, Alnwick and over time further afield to bolster squad numbers, our players developed under coaching delivered from a small band of committed unpaid volunteers who were mostly invested parents. Those who stepped forward in Rangers early exciting journey would soon qualify as FA licensed Coaches. Many have continued to this day assisting with the running of teams and the general administration of the Club. It was not surprising that the clubs early successes and great local support from the community helped. Some team’s enjoying stability and success made the decision to play in more competitive formats and our older teams joined the NABC league, that League has grown and gone from strength to strength and is now commonly known as the PPRJFL or Pinpoint League.
The Club has been able to suit all ages and abilities in its quick rise and we have also had teams entered in the NEYDL and the NGFL as several girl’s teams have also formed at Longhoughton who have enjoyed great success. Many players initially played in the Glendale League in a format that allowed a two-year age spread ie. U8s, U10s, U12s, U14s with our RAF Boulmer links influencing the Team names ie. Hurricanes, Spitfires, Tornados and Hawks, with some exceptions in later years like the Rams and Raiders. Also in our younger teams, they cycled through several seasons as the Lions, Tigers and Bears dependant on how many teams competed. Glendale allowed the clubs players to often choose from Saturday and Sunday matches with our more competitive older squads signing on with the NABC/Pinpoint League, noting some players taking both days as Football opportunities whether to help squads out or simply for more football.
Longhoughton has prided itself on providing levels of competitive Football for players of all abilities and commitments, many of its players have gone through the Club to gain their coaching awards, qualifying as a Referee or going on to assist setups.
Longhoughton has also progressed some of its teams into strong Division 1 and 2 squads over the years and won or finished as close runners up in League formats. We have also had Cup success as winning sides in Cups or Shield Finals with many Tournaments attended providing mostly good memories. Over time it has been pleasing to see in our older age group sides that many squads still have players who started way back as U8s or even returning players who come back after Academy experience or transfers back from other clubs to continue their Football with their local or first Club.
Many local people have helped us on our way, some to qualify as Level 1, 2 or join us with their UEFA B coaching licenses or those who just assisted for a short while as their child was involved, the former LRFC coaching roster is long with many transitional locally based RAF personnel who became coaches subject to getting moved away every 2-3 years. Those who have set roots down and remained in the Club coaching through from U8s to adulthood maintain the backbone of the current Club Committee. The Club when provision and player’s commitment allowed, established an Adult Team in both local Men and Ladies leagues, noting those squads were often formed combining former LRFC youth players, locals and locally based transitional RAF personnel who were without playing opportunities.
Some of our players have gone through the Youth system too, over the years to play for local adult sides including Craster FC and Embleton and even our fiercest local rival’s adult side at Alnwick FC and more famous names like Lucy Bronze who is famous as an England Lioness has been associated with us in the past. Sunderland and Newcastle Academies and Development Squads have taken young players from Longhoughton, trained them in co-operation with their Club and a few on further evidence of their quality, have gone on to play within their Academy Youth Squad program.
Overall Club membership has flourished with strong friendships the club established a growing social scene through events, Awards Days and Football activities or Club run activities around the county. The FA Cup has also visited Westfield Park and our teams have been invited to Wembley to play on the pitch with other National Award winners in clubs from other County Football Associations. Another highlight was when our rural Northumberland club was awarded the FA’s National Development Club of the Year in 2009 and Danny Troy and the then Chairman Paul Kiddell went to collect the award from Sir Geoff Hurst at Wembley.
Longhoughton like many Clubs is currently operating to its capacity set by its number of volunteers and catchment area, it has grown from a small Club to much larger Club gaining FA Charter Standard Status awards consistently. Also in years past its younger sides have seen NFA Fair Play awards given at its tournaments and some of its hard-working volunteers have had recognition nationally through the FA Community Awards with several, ‘Volunteers of the Year’ and ‘Northumberland Coaches of the Year’ awarded to those nominated and deserving winners from within our membership.
Longhoughton Rangers is not a typical Grassroots Football Club story as those who got us to this date will testify, despite some lows and losses over the season we celebrated its 15th Anniversary year in 2017 ending season 2016/17 with 10 Teams active. At Awards Day, we said goodbye to several U18 setups at the end of their Youth Football journey, journeys that have been mostly positive. Many of the girls leaving formed the foundations for Alnwick Ladies FC to start up and half the U13s had already joined their new local side standing up at new facilities at Seahouses, somewhat inspired by Longhoughtons Rangers story and the quality facilities it uses.
We started season 2017/18 with just 6 well provisioned Teams including the new U8s. Gaining Charter Standard Development Club status on our annual inspection, was some small consolation. Longhoughton Rangers for its size, catchment and very small number of volunteers still proving that we are still regarded as one of the best run and kite standard approved clubs in Northumberland meeting the high standards of the FA.
Longhoughton Rangers is subject to the known cycle of youth Football, suitably qualified Coaches and Referees remain a finite resource in North Northumberland and there remains many challenges facing Youth Football generally, particularly retaining players beyond the U12 year age group, nationally an issue not just in the North East, which continues to cause distress to all those involved in football. Our club will refresh the cycle in numbers through the younger age groups ie. U8s and the welcome introduction of new parent/carers, coaches and players with new eyes on the whole grassroots experience.
Clubs like Longhoughton, try to continuously improve its Football provision in what is now a very expensive activity to facilitate despite its highs and lows of each season, the positives and negatives in youth football and the challenges ahead that it faces, we look forward to meet the next milestone.
Club Former Coaches Roster
(Former Coaches who have coached at LRFC)
Danny Troy - Peter Troy - Rory Lane - John Whittle – Katy Taylor - Carolyn Cass - Nigel Mortimer - John Eggleston - Neil Parry - Eric Powell - Mark Chatterton - Bob Pattinson - Pamela Kiddell - Paul Kiddell - Darren Finney - Rod Munday MBE - Jamie Fieldsend - Mark Butler - James St John - Andrew Somerville - Steve Thompson - Mark Hedley - John Robson - John Archbold - Adam Harris - Paul Anderson - Darren Juggins - Andrew Leckie - Derek Brooks - Ian Fairburn - Lee Hopper - Peter Robinson - Liam Robinson - Dave Clayton - John Henderson - John Wilson - Ian Clapcott - Steve Campbell - Terry O’Neill - James Swordy - Zac Scott - Gary Watson - Yves Gagnon - Adam Stanton - Craig Richards - Alan Straker - Ray Harrison - John Stevenson - Sally Wood - Steve Lofts - Lee Fullerton - Steve Mullen - Nicola Hepworth - Paul Grisdale - Mark-Turnbull – John Robson - Tony Threlfall - Steven Liddell - Paul Taylor - Willy Curry - Andy Newby – Rachel Smart -
Longhoughton Rangers Honorary Life Members
Peter Troy - Danny Troy - Diane Troy - John Whittle - Carl Beattie - Paul Kiddell – Bob Pattinson - Pamela Kiddell – Rachel Smart
Club Award for Outstanding Player or Volunteer of the Year
2004/05 Tommy Dodd 2005/06 Linzi Taylor 2006/07 David Troy
2007/08 Rod Munday MBE 2008/09 S Thorpe 2009/10 Diane Troy
2010/11 Bob Pattinson 2011/12 John Whittle 2012/13 Pamela Kiddell
2013/14 Joe Archbold 2014/15 Dan McMeeking 2015/16 Paul Grisdale & Andy Newby 2016/17 Lynsey Punton
Longhoughton Rangers Manager of the Year
(Award was introduced in season 2015/16)
2015/16 Mark Turnbull
2016/17 Lee Driver