ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties Football League
Member of the National League System
Thursday, 22 March 2018
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AFC Kempston Rovers
Year formed: 1884.
Ground: Hillgrounds Leisure, Hillgrounds Road, Kempston, Bedford MK42 8SZ. Tel: 01234-852346. Fax: 01234-843460.
Directions: Take A421 Bedford bypass turning to Kempston onto A5140 Woburn Road. At roundabout turn left into St Johns Street then right into Bedford Road. After shops and park on left, turn immediately left into Hillgrounds Road. Ground is past swimming pool on right hand side.
Chairman: Russell Shreeves
Secretary: Kevin Howlett, 53 Silverdale Street, Kempston, Bedford. MK42 8BE. Tel: 01234-852056. Fax: 01234-843460. Mobile: 07721-849671 . e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager: David Randall. Assistant: James Petty.
Match secretary/Programme editor: Mark Kennett, 9 Lawton Road, Rushden, Northants, NN10 0DX. Tel: 01933-350945 (h), 07963-660653 (m); e-mail: email@example.com .
Colours: Red, white and black; change colours: Blue and black or yellow and black.
Kempston Rovers were formed in 1884 and their first league competition was the Bedford & District League. Their first league championship was won in 1908 and twelve month later Rovers retained the title while also carrying off the Bedfordshire Senior Cup and North Beds Charity Cup.
Kempston joined the South Midlands League in 1927, and while league honours eluded them they continued to enjoy cup success, winning the Senior Cup for a second time in 1938 and winning the Hinchingbrooke Cup in 1926, 1928 and 1932.
The Walnut Boys joined the United Counties League in 1953 and fortunes took an upturn. After winning the Second Division League and cup double in 1955, Kempston continued to enjoy success as the competition reverted to a single division. They were champions in 1958 and runners-up in 1957 and 1960, while in the Knockout Cup they contested five successive finals between 1957 and 1961, winning the trophy in 1958 and 1960.
When the league returned to a two division format a lack of facilities saw Kempston placed in Division Two. They upgraded the Hillgrounds facilities but after being readmitted to the top flight they suffered instant relegation in 1963 with just five points to their name. A top division place was regained in 1968 after Rovers finished Second Division runners-up.
1973 saw the start of a new era as Kempston relocated to a new ground further down Hillgrounds Road. A magnificent season saw the Walnut Boys storm to the Premier title losing only once in 32 games. A golden period in the club's history saw League Cup successes in 1975 and 1977, the Beds Senior Cup was again captured in 1977 while the Walnut Boys reached the last 16 of the FA Vase in 1975.
The club nearly folded in the early eighties and were relegated in 1983, but they bounced back to the top flight in 1986 before moving to their current ground, their third in the same road.
Kempston won the Beds Senior Cup in 1992 and the Hunts Premier Cup and North Beds Charity Cup in 2000 before suffering a fourth relegation from the top flight in 2003.
The 2005-06 season saw the ground undergo a series of improvements and the opening of an all weather surface. The following campaign saw the Walnut Boys finish third in Division One and return to the top flight, but they suffered an immediate relegation back to Division One.
The 2008-09 season saw the Walnut Boys reach the final of the Bedfordshire Senior Trophy for the first time, while a glorious 2010-11 campaign saw Kempston win both the Division One title and the Hinchingbrooke Cup.