Herts Ad Sunday League: A brief history of London Road

Herts Ad Sunday League side London Road team celebrations in 2007

London Road celebrate winning the Herts Ad Sunday League Challenge Cup in 2007. - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

One of the longest-serving clubs in the Herts Ad Sunday League is AFC London Road having made their debut in 1968.

Formerly named London Road and London Road Social, the club have competed for 47 of the last 52 seasons.

John Ralph of Herts Ad Sunday League side London Road

John Ralph, "Mr London Road". - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

The man responsible for the beginning of the story is also one of those responsible for the club's longevity, John Ralph not only played for them but also held down every position imaginable.

They began life in Division Three, going on to claim 11 titles across all divisions from the Premier down to Division Four.

They placed second a further 15 times with their biggest title success coming in 2007 when they lifted the Premier Division crown for the one and only time by two points from Queens Head Sandridge.

In addition they also won Division One twice, Division Two three times and Division Three and Four one each.

London Road A are presented with the Challenge Cup in 2007

London Road A are presented with the Challenge Cup in 2007. - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

Cup competitions have also proved fruitful with 12 victories coming in a total of 26 finals.

London Road A team photo in 2007

London Road A won the Herts Ad Sunday League Reserves Cup in 2007. - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

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Their most successful cup competition was the Reserves Cup. They reached the final nine times and won five of them. The most memorable came in 2009 when a hat-trick from Ian Cooper and one for Mark Needham helped them beat Skew Bridge Res 4-1.

They have battled for eight Challenge Cup titles, winning three of them and they still have one more to come.

Dickie Last and London Road Challenge Cup 2007

London Road won the Herts Ad Sunday League Challenge Cup in 2007, Dickie Last doing the presentation duties. - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

The second of the three successes was also in 2007, making it a league and cup double. They beat Emerald Vale 3-1 with a double for Colin Wilson and one for Danny McCafferty.

The first success was in 1999 with a 3-0 win over Mile House, Tony Caines scoring twice and Steve Atkins once, while the last victory came in 2012 with a 5-3 extra-time win over Nicholas Breakspear 5-3.

Matt Newman, Frankie Jowle, Dan Butcher and Eamon Rogers were all on target then.

Road have made it to three county finals. They lost the first two, 3-1 in the Intermediate Cup against Prince of Wales and 5-2 to Belstone in the Senior Cup.

They did reach the final of that competition last season and while the COVID-19 pandemic meant the match never went ahead, they were named as joint winners.

Darren Collins in action for London Road.

London Road's top scorer, Darren Collins. - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

They have had many prolific goalscorers over the years too. Their top marksman is Darren Collins having scored 163 goals. Joe Brennan added 129.

Joe Brennan of London Road

Joe Brennan of London Road. - Credit: BRIAN HUBBALL

Caines also made it to three figures, finishing on 118, while Alan Connell netted 92, Jowle 77, Russ Butcher 74 and Barrie Littlechild 70.