1886 - 1888
The first newspaper record of a side bearing the name Kirkley came in December 1886, when the Lowestoft Weekly Press recorded a game to be played between East Suffolk FC and Kirkley FC on 4th December at the Crown Meadow, the home of the Lowestoft Athletic club in Beccles Road (now St Peters Street). The result went unrecorded, but 2 weeks later on 18th December there was a re-match, reported in the Christmas Day issue as a 1-0 (JB Smith) win for Kirkley. Games also took place with Beccles College and St Margaret's Institute, before another match with East Suffolk, again a 1-0 win for Kirkley and East Suffolk FC's agreed to merge to form Lowestoft FC.
1890 - 1914
After a one-off trial run on 19th October 1889, when a “Kirkley XI” were beaten by Lowestoft FC's Second XI, a second Kirkley FC had been knocked out of the Suffolk Senior Cup, several of their Second XI players, presumably from south of the bridge, split off from the Club. The new Club were rumoured to be taking the name South Lowestoft FC's name on 9th December 1890, but they chose to continue as Kirkley FC. On 15th November 1890 they played their first game, a 1-1 draw with Clifford House School. Playing at St Aubin's College ground at the rear of Beaconsfield and Salisbury Roads, over the next 3 years Kirkley formed a strong allegiance with the College run by Mr John Bruce Payne, who had employed several varsity men as teachers, many of them former Cambridge Blues at soccer. From them and the best of the local men, a formidable side was assembled and Kirkley's first major trophy arrived with the Suffolk Junior Cup of 1893-94. Kirkley went to rival and for a while surpass Lowestoft Town, reaching the FA Amateur Cup Semi-Final of 1896-7, before being cruelly expelled after a 1-0 Quarter Final replay victory over Marlow, for unknowingly playing ex-professional Mullen (aka Mulvey) from Grantham Rovers. Earlier, for the start of the season, several local businessmen, fronted by fish merchant William Geaning, had banded together to form the Kirkley Recreational Ground Company and been instrumental in the purchase for £746 17s 6d and laying out a new ground, the new Kirkley Recreation Ground at the end Action Road opening on 5th September 1896. The Suffolk Senior Cup also saw 5 final appearances in the 6 seasons between 1897 and 1903, winning in 1900-01 and 1901-02 and the Reserves adding 1897-98's Junior Cup. the split in Amateur Football also saw 2 victories in the “Suffolk Senior Cup also saw 5 final appearances in the 6 seasons between 1897-02 and the Reserves adding 1897 98's Junior Cup. The split in Amateur Football also saw 2 victories in the “Suffolk Cup Presented by the FA” of 1907-08 and 1908-09. An elusive Norfolk & Suffolk League “Sterry Cup” title was sadly never achieved, although the Club was twice runners-up to arch rivals Lowestoft Town in 1898-99 and 1903-04. They had more success in the local North Suffolk League, winning in 1894-95, 1896-97 (conceding just 1 goal in 14 matches), 1901-02, 1905-06, 1907-08 and 1908-09. Kirkley FC No.2 played in a variety of colours - black shirts and green sleeves, green and white halves, green and white diagonal halves, pink and black halves before adopting their most famous kit of pink and black quarters. In 1907-08, Kirkley and Lowestoft Town decided to merge at a time when both Clubs had fallen on hard times. However, an incident that became known as “The Good Friday Fiasco”, put an end to such thoughts. Due to meet 3 times over the Easter period, the Lowestoft players refused to turn out for a North Suffolk League game, fielding four Reserves and 7 players from District League side Lowestoft Mechanics, as other meetings of the clubs were due in the Hospital Cup on Saturday and the Suffolk Cup presented by the FA on Monday. Kirkley were so incensed by Lowestoft's action that the merger was almost immediately called off. At the annual Kirkley FC Dinner their Chairman, to much applause, stated that the merger would not go ahead, adding that “A Committee that could not control its own players to play when selected, could certainly not be trusted in controlling players in another club”. However the agreed sale of the Recreation Ground to Lowestoft Corporation for the sum of £1,600 still went ahead and Kirkley were forced to re-group at a new ground at “The Run” on Carlton Road, much handier though for their HQ at the Marquis of Lorne PH. Eventually, though at the end of 1913-14 season, financial difficulties again surfaced and coupled with the likely closure of “The run” for building, Kirkley were forced to disband. Their best players, including a lad named Stanley Rous (later Sir Stanley) again had to switch their allegiance north of the harbour. However, 1914-15 was just 2 weeks old when the Great War (WWI) curtailed organised football untill 1919.
Having folded, unlike most sides, the 3rd Kirkley FC did not arise until well into 1919-20, not entering any League until the following 1920-21 season. The team initially wore blue and white stripes as Lowestoft Town, with no Kirkley in 1919, had adopted a similar pink and black halved shirt. Kirkley eventually returned to their favourite pink and black quarters in 1924-25, when Lowestoft Town adopted their now familiar royal blue. Kirkley re-grouped at “The Run” as the planned building had also been halted by the War. Within 3 years however, they were back to the site of their former glory, as the Kirkley Recreation re-opened. The 1924-25 change back to pink and black coincided with a trophy once more, as the Suffok Senior Cup was again won and “The Kirks” also became the town's 2nd club again, re-taking their place in the Norfolk & Suffolk League upon Mortons Athletic Ground folding. For the 1929-30 season, Kirkley merged with Waveney Athletic, a side from the coach-building form who completed the Ipswich and District League, becoming known as Kirkley & Waveney. An FA Amateur Cup Quarter-Final followed in 1946-47 and turning semi-professional in 1958, with gates seldom below the 1,500 mark Lowestoft Town FC (which is incorporated the original Kirkley FC) held a strong position in East Anglian non-league football during the 1960's and 1970's. However, as “The Blues” failed to progress to the Southern League and with the advent of the conference effectively dropped down a level, the teams and the crowds diminished.
1978 - 2009
With Lowestoft geographically divided by Lake Lothing and just 2 crossing points, those “South of the bridge” still hankered for a side to call their own. In January 1975, Anglian Combination side Brooke Marine, who played on the site of the former Kirkley's pitch 1 at Walmer Road, applied for permission to change their name to Kirkley FC, hoping to resurrect past glories. As Lowestoft Town FC still “owned” the name of Kirkley and indeed still incorporate it to their club rules to this day, the Town's committee suggested that a name such as Kirkley Rovers be adopted to differentiate from their adopted charges of 1935. Eventually, for the 1978-79 season, Kirkley United FC came in to being as Brooke Marine changed their name, immediately winning Division II to regain senior status and Division I the following season to quickly establish themselves in the top flight of the Anglian Combined Premier Division. The “United”, although still part of their title as confirmed by the Suffolk County Handbook, tends to be seldom used now, and Lowestoft Town seem to have little or no objection to it being overlooked. The 2001-02 season saw the club rise to new heights as they retained the Suffolk Senior Cup in a thrilling 4-3 extra time win over Jewson League opponents Haverhill Rovers, won the Anglian Combination Senior Knock-Out Cup for the first time in their history by defeating Cromer 2-0 and saw the coveted “Sterry Cup” return to Walmer Road as the blues romped home in the Lovewell Blake Anglian Combination, winning the 12 points ahead of their nearest rivals. The season ended with them winning 35 of their 41 competitive matches, a remarkable record by any standard. The following 2002-03 season once again brought success to South Lowestoft, retaining the “Sterry Cup” by a massive 28 point margin. The start of the new season heralds many changes with Walmer Road undergoing major ground improvements, the addition of floodlights and the fresh challenge of entry into Ridgeons League Division One. With the recent success on the pitch, such a ground could allow a step-up the non league pyramid to again rival their North Lowestoft neighbours. A possible full- circle, as much of the early football in Lowestoft originally took place at the then Athletic club's ground in Beccles Road (now St Peters Street), close to Lowestfoft Town’s present day Crown Meadow. In season 2004-05, it proved a memorable second half to the campaign as Kirkley when on an amazing 18 match unbeaten run, which include nine matches without conceding a goal and promotion into the Premier Division in 3rd position. Kirkley entered the FA Vase for the first time and went through two rounds at Saffron Walden and Hoddeston before losing 4-1 at Wroxham. In the League Cup a massive crowd of over 900 saw a local derby at the Meadow which Town won after extra time. Along with Ridgeons Premier football 2005-06 heralds our first ever entry to the FA Cup at Aylesbury Vale. A record 2005 Boxing Day attendance at Walmer Road of 1,124 saw the first Ridgeons Premier Division League local derby against Lowestoft Town. 876 attended the return fixture at the Crown Meadow on Easter Monday. A mid-table position of 13th was achieved in this season into the premier division, this was improved in the 2006/7 season to 7th place. Amalgamated with Pakefield Boys in 2007 to become Kirkley and Pakefield FC at the start of 2007-08 season.
The season saw the club make history. First team finished 4th in the Ridgeons Premier League best placing so far, they went further in the FA Cup and FA Vase than ever before, Suffolk Premier Cup Semi Finalists and Ridgeons League Cup Finalists. The Reserves under the guidance of Huggy, Peter & Tony won promotion to the Anglian Combination Premier Division. The Veterans First Team continues to add silverware, League and Cup winners yet again under the guidance of Jon Sturman. The Under 18, Adult A Side, B side and the Vets Reserves continue to progress.
The Club decided on a change of Management with the First Team, Jon Reynolds becomes sole First Team Manager with Marty Hubble joining him as First Team Coach and Russell Stock taking on a dual role of Player and Coach. The Reserves bring in Mark Hood to assist Huggy with the team now playing senior football in the Anglian Combination Premier Division. The Under 18 team bring in a new team as Graham, Shaun & Michael decide to step down and have done a superb job over the last 6 years bringing youth players through the system. The new Under 18 Management team are Daryl Hill, Ben Atkins & Paul Gant. The A team continue to be lead by Rob Bunning and Matt Rudder, the B team continue under the leadership of Neil Harris.
After many player departures in the 2010-2011 season, the club is in somewhat of a transition phase and re-building process focusing on bringing players through from the Youth Team. Jon Reynolds stays in charge of First Team matters with Marty Hubble his Assistant, Robert Horton (Townie) and Dan Mginely come in as First Team Coaches. The U18 team won the Ridgeons Youth League in the 2010-11 Season, a very successful first season for the new management team who continue this season. The Reserves will continue in the Anglian Combination Premier Division lead by James Hutchinson and Mark Hood. The 'A' Team will be managed by Neil Harris with the help of Matthew Rudder. The 'B' Team have won Promotion into the Second Division of the Lowestoft & District League and will be managed by Brian David with the help of Ben Atkins.
Paul Tong was chosen as the man to take over the First Team Managers job when Jon Reynolds decided his time was up in October 2011. After Tong saved the club from relegation from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division in 2012 and eventually finishing in a respectable 13th position, he was given the go-ahead to lead the team into the 2012/13 season. The club had high hopes for the forthcoming season as Paul had managed to build a strong, young squad on a limited budget. However towards the end of the season, several of these players had gone elsewhere or were no longer playing, and the team suffered as a consequence, eventually finishing in 12th position. In 2013, Paul was relieved of his duties as the club looked to go in a new direction with the significant appointment of local footballing legend Jamie Godbold as First Team Manager. Ex Lowestoft Town Goalkeeper Andy Reynolds also came in as Jamie's Assistant. Huggy stays in charge of the reserves, Daryl Hill and Ben Atkins in charge of the U18 team who were crowned champions of the Thurlow Nunn Youth League in 2012/13, Brian David with the A team and finally Ben Atkins and Dale Andrews in charge of the B team who finished runners up in the League and League Cup in their first season. The club maintains the philosophy of producing young players that have the potential to play First Team football, this will now be further developed by Jamie and Andy who have a range of plans to further incorporate the Adult and Youth Teams at KPFC.
Jamie Godbold and Andy Reynolds have completed their first season in charge of the first team at the club and finished the season in a respectable 12th place in Thurlow Nunn Premier League. The Reserves under the guidance of James Hutchinson had another good season finishing in 5th place in the Anglian Combination Premier Division. The Under 18 team competed again in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern League and finished in 4th place. The “A” team had a mixed season and continued to bring new young players to the club under the management of Brian David and finished in 8th place in the league, whilst the “B” team became league champions of Division 2 under the management of Ben Atkins & Dale Andrews. The club completed the major project of a full size 3G floodlit all weather pitch with the club raising £50,000.00 and the Football Foundation providing a grant for the balance. This £708,000 project sees the club take huge strides to providing a facility that all our 9 adult teams and 33 youth teams can all train on one site. The facility will be managed by KPFC.
Kirkley & Pakefield first team completed the season finishing in our joint highest position ever of 4th place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division. Managers Jamie Godbold and Andy Reynolds left the club halfway through the season to take up positions that became available at Ryman League AFC Sudbury. Marty Hubble took over temporary charge of the team for the remainder of the season. The reserves with a young team had a difficult season but maintained their Anglian Combination Premier place for next season. The under 18s team competing in the Thurlow Nunn U18s Eastern Division finished in mid-table. The ‘A’ team finished the season retaining their Lowestoft & District 1 status along with the ‘B’ team. A successful Ladies team was reformed and also new was the introduction of our very own walking football teams that has become very popular. KPFC youth continues to go from strength to strength with 34 teams from under 7 upwards along with a very successful Saturday club known as the ‘mini Royals’. New first team manager appointed for the new season in Gaven Tipple.
New manager Gaven Tipple took over in pre-season and had a good first season in charge, steering the club to 5th in the league, semi-finals of the league cup as well as taking the ‘Royals’ to equal their 2009 season furthest run in the FA Cup, beating higher league opposition on the way. The ‘Reserves’ still under the guidance of long serving clubman and player James Hutchinson finished 7th in their league with a very young squad, probably the youngest ever at reserve level, which bodes well for the clubs future. The ‘A’ team finished just below mid-table but reached the league cup final putting up a good performance against a strong Oulton Broad team losing 2-1 to a late goal in extra time. Pride of the season has to go to Sarah Meades Ladies team who in only their second season won their league and reached the Suffolk County Cup Final beating higher league opposition on the way. In the final at Portman Road they played Ipswich Town Ladies who play five leagues higher. Although losing 8-0 it was a night to remember for the Ladies and a good contingent of supporters that travelled to watch the game played in very good sporting manner.
With manager Gaven Tipple stepping down just before the season started, Mark Willis stepped in at a difficult time, appointing long serving ‘Reserves’ manager James Hutchinson together with club captain Ross King as his assistants. With several injuries, a goal keeping problem, weakened teams saw early season defeats including early exits from both national cup competitions. Things gradually improved through the season and the first team eventually finished in a mid table 11th place. The ‘Reserves’ had a disastrous start that saw a new manager depart early on, long serving players Wayne Twomlow and Michael Tacon stepped in to manage the team, they managed to bring in a few experienced old heads to help the youngsters, performances improved but results unfortunately did not and we saw a second from bottom finish and relegation from Premier to Division 1 for a disappointing season. The Kirkley & Pakefield U18s Youth team went through their Thurlow Nunn League season with a 100% record winning all 18 games to be acclaimed the East Division Champions. The ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams both had mid table finishes, but the Ladies struggled all season after losing many players in close season.
For the 17-18 season Mark Willis continued as manager with James Hutchinson his assistant and Carl Poppy joining the club as coach in place of the retired Ross King. The season started off disastrously for the ‘Royals’ with four major injuries in the first few weeks of the season, which saw keeper Hayden Rogers and defender Elloit Whiteside out for the season. The two first team strike force of Liam Harvey-Cooper and Kyle Baker spent three months each out. The ‘Royals’ exited both national cup competitions at the first stages, plus by the end of October were commanding a position in the bottom two in the league. With young players stepping up their game and injuries improving, so did performances and the club climbed to a respectable 10th place finish with some excellent performances and results. Notabiy the ‘Reserves’ after being relegated the previous season also made a bad start but went on a good run with a mid-table finish. Kirkley & Pakefield U18s Youth team had an up and down season finishing just above mid-table, whilst the AFC Royals U18s lost a great number of players in pre-season and their managers after the first game. The team was kept together with additions and the new experienced management team of Marty Hubble, Graham Bunning and Shaun Norman and although finishing bottom greatly improved performances saw them gain their first point of the season in their very last game. There were mid-table finishes for both ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams.
To Be added.
The former Gorleston, Wroxham, Chelmsford and Lowestoft Town striker takes up the role vacated by Mark Willis, who left the Royals at the end of the 2018-2019 season to take up a coaching position in Dubai.
Matty Lay, who played a valuable role in the first team management structure last season, will continue in a similar position whilst Rob Moore was promoted to first team coach from the reserves.
Three other new additions sees Robert McKechnie , Ian Barber and Darren Moore some into the first team structure
Wayne Twomlow starts his third season as reserve team manager which is also his twenty second year at K&P. Ex player Darren Glynn re joins the K&P set up.
The Under 23s team set up will remain the same as at the end of last season with Tom Hutchinson and Danny Baker in control.
K&P Under-18s has a new management team of Simon Cushion with Matt Gooch, Terry Bird and Ben le Compte assisting.
AFC Under 18s Royals have the management team of Graham Bunning, Shaun Norman, Ross Reader and Ross Chapman assisting.
In January 2020 the first team equaled their best year in the FA vase reaching the 4th round but losing away to Sporting Khalsa 2-0 after extra time.