Club History

Club History


Knaphill Football Club began its life in 1924 at Waterer's Park in Knaphill Woking Surrey Waterer's Park was left to Woking Urban District Council in 1924 by Mr Anthony Waterer of Knaphill Nursery. The Recreation Ground was originally part of the nursery called 'Blue Gates Field' and the park was laid out by Woking Council between 1924 and 1928. Very little is known about the club history between 1924 and 1980, although it is known that the original team colours were red and white. Knaphill are also listed as winners of the Surrey Intermediate League for 1935–36.


In 1980 Knaphill were represented in the Old Woking and District League (now Guildford and Woking Alliance League) in Division 3 under Manager and now Life President, Dave Holloway. Dave helped the club to achieve promotion that took them from Division 3 through to the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western). He subsequently left Knaphill to take over Conference side Woking's reserve and youth teams. In 1984 Andy Wescott took over as 1st team manager at Knaphill. Andy successfully took the Club from Division 3 to the Premier Division, at the same time Clive Howes was running the Reserve Team, who also won promotion from Division 3 to the Reserves Premier Division. Geoff Poulton then took over the running of the Reserve Team from Clive Howes.


Mick Garbutt became the Manager of Knaphill in 1990, with Paul Bambini running the Reserve Team. Mick Garbutt left the Club in 1994 to join up with Colin Lippiatt and Geoff Chapple at Woking FC, and going on to enjoy that club's most successful years in the FA Cup and with top 5 finishes in the Football Conference. After this time the club went into decline and started to struggle for players for both the First and Reserve teams. The decision was taken by the then Senior Secretary, Sean Carrigy, to approach local team Heathlands FC, who were playing in the Guildford and Woking Alliance League. Heathlands found themselves struggling for facilities, but not players; this gave the two teams the opportunity to amalgamate for the benefit of both.
The 1995–96 season saw the arrival of Greg Anderson as head coach, with Sean Carrigy running the Reserve Team. In 1996 current Chairman, David Freeman took over from Greg and remained First Team Manager until 2007, when he stepped down to Assistant Manager.


The 2002–03 season saw the arrival of two new personnel to take charge, with Mick Garbutt returning to take charge of the First Team and Frank Walters in charge of the Reserves. Garbutt was replaced as First Team Manager when Paul Bailey took over midway through the season. Carl Barker was now in his second spell as Manager of the Reserves with Danny James as Reserve Team Coach and David Freeman as First Team Coach. At the start of the 2003–04 season the club formed a third team, Knaphill 'A', to play in the Guildford and Woking Alliance League due to volume of players at the club. Carl Barker took over as 'A' Team Manager with Danny James in charge of the Reserves.

The 2004–05 season brought about further changes at team management level seeing David Freeman retiring from playing due to injuries and being appointed as First Team Manager with Mick Garbutt stepping down to Assistant Manager. Kevin Fletcher also took over the 'A' team, taking over from Carl Barker who became the Knaphill's Chairman. The club also moved into their new ground at Brookwood Country Park, now known as Redding Way. The ground was a purpose built facility supplied by the developers of the Brookwood Manor housing development and owned by Woking Borough Council. With the re-development of the Waterer's Park ground, completed in April 2005, this gave Knaphill Football Club some of the best facilities in the the borough. The Reserve Team finished the season as Runners Up to Old Rutlishians and the 'A' Team were beaten by a last gasp winner in the Junior Cup Semi-Final against Shepperton FB FC.

In the 2005–06 season, with the first team now firmly established at its new ground at Redding Way, the 'A' Team now reverted to Waterer's Park upon refurbishment of the pavilion. David Freeman remained in charge for the 2005–06 campaign and appointed Bob Pritchard, former professional with Bristol City and Chertsey Town manager as First Team Coach. Kevin Fletcher was appointed Reserve Team Manager having impressed by running the 'A' Team the previous season. It was a particularly successful season for Knaphill FC, winning the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western) Division One title on the last day of the season against nearest rivals Virginia Water and gaining promotion to the Premier Division.

The 2006–07 season continued with David Freeman in charge of the First Team and Paul Bailey re-appointed as Reserve Team Manager. The 'A' Team management was split during the season. Martin Hobson took charge during the first few months, but had to resign due to work and family commitments. Gavin Wilcox and Tim Handley then took over until the end of the season. The First Team claimed back to back titles by winning the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western) Premier Division Championship which resulted in achieving promotion to the Combined Counties Football League, and the start of the most successful period in the club’s history.

With the club entering a new era for season 2007–08, David Freeman, Bob Pritchard and Mick Garbutt remained in charge of 1st Team affairs; the club appointed former Ockham FC Manager Steve Hutton as Reserve Team Manager and Paul Bailey took charge of the ‘A’ Team.
Merge with Knaphill Wanderers new Chairman and club sponsor through his Miles Estate Agents company, Nick Croshaw, along with Kevin Barkham brought together Knaphill FC & Knaphill Wanderers FC, the junior club providing football for boys and girls of all ages and abilities, under the umbrella of Knaphill F.C, whilst the Wanders still retained their financial independence. At the same time plans were introduced to provide floodlights, a stand and a raft of further improvements to the ground at Redding Way to comply with the FA's Ground Grading requirements for a club at Level 6 on the Non-League Pyramid. The club received the 1st Division Programme of the Year and Secretary of the Year (Bryan Freeman) awards from the Combined Counties League at the end of Knaphill FC's first season in senior football with the club finished a creditable 7th in the final league table.

One of the first pre-season signings was experienced player/coach Ian Savage. Ian's presence at the club attracted a great number of high ability players from both local teams and higher leagues. This led to the club obtaining one of the most experienced squads Knaphill have had in their history.
The addition of Graham Pope and Iain MacLean to run the Reserve Team was the final piece of the jigsaw, however both Graham and Ian left the club in November due to personal reasons and the Reserves side was taken over by Adie Wilson and Lee Cook. The 'A' Team was now under the control of James Taylor and Brendan Baker who received the good news at the GWAL AGM that their team was promoted due to a restructuring exercise and was to play in the 2nd Division.

With a reduction in League games in Division One from 38 to 34 in 2007–08, Knaphill FC entered two new Cup competitions. The Anagram Trophy and the Southern Combination Cup, both of which saw early exits. However the team kept a high profile in the league, staying in the top half of the table all season. They came close to becoming Champions that season as a win in the last game to be played would have crowned them Champions. With a tightly bunched set of teams in the top six, Knaphill travelled to Farleigh Rovers FC to secure the three points needed. However they lost 3-2 after a tense and nail biting game, and finished 5th in the table, just 2 points off the top.

The Reserves finished ninth in their Division with the second half of the season providing a 17-match sequence in which only two games were lost. Adie Wilson, having taken over in November from Graham Pope, organised his players together well and this was reflected with the improvement in results. The 'A' team won promotion to Division 1 of the GWAL, their second move up the ladder, having been promoted from Division 3 to Division 2 the previous season. A new 'B' team was also formed, starting their first season in Division 4(North).

In the close season local businessman, Terry Chapman, was voted in as the new Chairman, replacing Nick Croshaw who stood down due to work commitments after two successful seasons in the position. Plans for floodlights and hard standing along with a 50-seated stand at Redding Way were well advanced with the help of The Football Foundation and Woking Borough Council who continued, as in recent years, to support the club.

2009–10 saw Knaphill achieve their highest ever position in the club's history with a 'last kick of the game' goal in the final game of the season securing a 2–2 home draw against Cobham FC and providing the point needed to clinch 3rd spot in the CCL Division 1 table. A poor start to the season saw Knaphill languishing down in mid table with good away form negated by a poor home record. However a run of 12 consecutive wins after Christmas saw the Knappers close in on the top 3.

New beginning

From 2005 to 2010, Knaphill FC have set successive improvements in their overall league position within the National League System. In the summer of 2010 a Youth (U18) Team was added to continue the development of the club for the future. On 29 November 2010, long serving 1st Team Manager Bob Pritchard announced his resignation after a poor start to the season. Chairman Terry Chapman then appointed General Manager and former 1st team Manager David Freeman and former Reserve Team Manager Adie Wilson as joint Caretaker Managers until the end of the season. Their first 16 games resulted in 13 wins & 3 draws, a club record for unbeaten matches in the Combined Counties League, until a 2–1 reverse at Hartley Wintney FC on Friday, 15 January 11. This started a run of 4 consecutive defeats followed by a draw (a club record, at that time, for the worst run without a win in the Combined Counties League).

From season 2011–12 Knaphill Ladies, playing in the London & SE Regional Ladies League, became be part of the senior club after transferring from Knaphill Wanderers with a Reserve (U18) side playing in the Surrey Girls U18 League. On 8 May 2011 club chairman Terry Chapman announced that Dave Freeman & Adie Wilson were confirmed as the 1st team management for season 2011/12.

On 26 June 2011, it was announced that Knaphill will be the first Combined Counties League team to travel to the Channel Island of Guernsey to face the newly created Guernsey FC. This historic game was covered by local and national media and raised the profile of the club enormously. The game finished with a 5–0 win to Guernsey FC. On 8 July 2011, Knaphill entered into The FA Vase for the first time in the club's history and were drawn out of the hat with a home tie against Combined Counties League Premier Division side Horley Town FC, losing 1-4 at Redding Way. Knaphill also faced Horley Town FC Reserves in the Surrey FA Senior Cup and Horley Town FC's Youth team in the Surrey FA U18's Mid-week Cup, winning 4-0 in a home tie played at Horley Town's The New Defence ground due to floodlight restrictions at Redding Way, during the same season.

On 6 October Club Chairman Terry Chapman stood down after two years in charge and former 1st Team Manager David Freeman was voted into the Chairman's role with immediate effect. Before the end of October Adie Wilson had resigned from the 1st Team Manager's position after a long run of league defeats and with exits from 4 cup competitions at the first round. Phil Ellery, who has previously managed Bedfont Sports, Staines Lammas and Chertsey Town , was appointed 1st Team Manager on 30 October.

On Friday, 9 December 2011 a number of records were set. For the visit of Division 1 Leaders Guernsey FC, a league match was played at Redding Way on a Friday night for the first time. A record crowd of 323 (beating the previous record of 134) turned up to witness Knaphill biggest ever senior defeat, with the visitors running out 8–0 winners. There were also no players on the pitch or bench for Knaphill on the night, who had made that inaugural trip to Guernsey back in August. The league season ended in a disappointing 12th place finish with the club having registered over 100 players during the season.

The start of the 2012–13 season saw the U18's move from The Allied Counties Football League to the Southern Youth Football League, their first match being an away match to Godalming Town FC U18 which resulted in a 2–1 victory for Knaphill FC. On 10 September 2012 after a poor run of results, especially at home (four straight defeats); 1st Team Manager – Phil Ellery – was relieved of his duties. He was replaced by former semi-pro Phil Ruggles, formerly at Sheerwater FC and Kevin Bailey who was previously Reserve Team Manager at Westfield FC as Joint 1st Team Managers. The new management team had their first win, and Knaphill first victory in a cup competition since 2009, with an extra-time 2–1 defeat of local rivals Westfield in the El Records Division 1 Challenge Cup 2nd Round on 2 October 2012.

Football Association Competitions 1st Team Having finally achieved a 'G' grade for Redding Way, the way was quite literally paved for Knaphill FC to enter the FA Vase. The first game, a 1st Qualifying Round tie, taking place against CCL Premier Division side Horley Town FC at Redding Way on 10 September 2011. The result was disappointing as a well marshalled Horley won by 4-1 with U18 player Haluna Masembe scoring the first goal from Knaphill in a Football Association competition.
Third time lucky and on 6 September 2013 another trip to Ash United FC, this time to play their fellow CCL Premier Division side Badshot Lea FC who were ground sharing at the time. In a hard fought game, Knaphill took the lead through substitute Ross Murray in the 80th minute to clinch victory and a 2nd Qualifying Round tie with Wessex League side Tadley Calleva FC.

On September 21st 2013 more history was made as despite taking an early lead through Charlie Postance, Tadley Calleva levelled before half-time. However the second half was all one way as Alex Lumley, Matt Edwards, former Youth Team Captain Jonny Coats with a free kick and a second from Postance made a very comfortable 5-1 win for the Knappers.
On Saturday 19th October Knaphill travelled to Dorking FC to play in the 1st Round Proper for the very first time. In a tight game Dorking took the lead in the 56th minute and despite great Knaphill pressure it was only in the 91st minute that former Dorking player Scott Todd, making his debut equalised.

The FA Vase rules mean extra-time in the first game and Alex Lumley swepted Knaphill into the lead on the 109th minute only for poor defending to allow a Dorking equaliser five minutes before the final whistle to set up a replay on the following Tuesday. The replay on the following Tuesday evening kicked off to the sound and display of a spectacular thunderstorm that wrecked games at Portsmouth, Aldershot & Farnborough, but left the Redding Way pitch wet but not waterlogged. The Knappers should have been out of sight by half time with a number of chances wasted and an inspired performance from Dorking FC's goalkeeper Ciaran McGuire. Matt Powell, Charlie Postance, Josh Watkins and Scott Todd were all guilty of missed chances, however the breakthrough came when Josh Watkins clinical finish put the home side in front on 64 minutes and captain Jamie Doble added a second on 81 minutes. Dorking FC pulled a goal back on 85 minutes with a fantastic 25 yard effort; but there was still time for Knaphill FC to extend their lead however Tom Davies and man of the match Charlie Postance wasted their opportunities to make a more comfortable looking than the 2-1 scoreline.

The prize was a home tie to East Preston FC who were the Sussex County League Division 1 leaders at the time, the game being played on Saturday 16th November at Redding Way. After an even first half hour the visitors went in front on 36 minutes and a minute later went further ahead as they stamped their authority on the game. Two further goals in the second half rounded off an impressive display from the Sussex side. Despite the result Knaphill were rightly proud of their achievements in the competition having made club history on three separate occasions.
Promotion to the CCL Premier Division was achieved for the 2014-15 season and our first season in the FA Cup. A 3-1 win over Fairford Town was followed by another win over Badshot Lea and eventually losing to step 4 side Fleet Town 2-1. The same season the league form suffered and Phil Ruggles departed the club with Keith Hills appointed as first team manager on a temporary basis. Keith first task was to guide the club to Premier Division safety which he achieved with five wins from the remaining six games. Keith was handed the job full time and has helped the club achieve is highest league position in the 2015-16 season of fifth, a fantastic run in the FA Vase reaching the fourth round eventually losing 3-2 away at Kidlington.

Since then club has embarked on cup exploits against Tooting & Mitcham, Woking and Bath City in the Surrey Senior Cup and FA Cup. The newly named development side remain in the highly competitive Suburban Premier Division whilst our U18s continue in the Allied Counties Youth League.
Ground improvements have changed almost every season since 2010 as the club looks to improve the facilities for readiness for the next level.

We claimed our first silverware since the 2006-07 season with a 3-2 extra time win over Worcester Park in the Combined Counties Premier Challenge Cup. At the end of the 2017-18 season the club decided to make a managerial change with the departure of Keith Hills who had produced some wonderful memories in his four years in charge. Keith was replaced by Liam Parrington.