Founded in: 1994 - Founded By: MR GREG RICE esq.
Brief History of time (By our very own Steven Hawkings)
AFC Lanes was formed by Greg Rice and a group of friends/family back in the winter of 1994. The football club was originally sponsored by LANES Motor School (a sponsorship that lasted for the first 2 seasons) and this is where the club name was derived.
Greg was only 18 at the time and therefore most of the players, so it became apparent that AFC Lanes would need an older more experienced person to manage the team. Just the man for the job was Mr. Rice (Snr.) and Greg Rice took on the rolls of coach, secretary, treasurer, assistant manager and just about every other job available.
After several training sessions Lanes started playing friendlies and the first game was against Nescot College at Priest Hill which ended in a close 16-2 defeat. Unperturbed Lanes regrouped, re-organised and embarked on a series of friendlies and although Lanes lost most, the margin of defeats became smaller. All this time new players were joining and in May '95 Lanes won their first game and continued to win the next nine games.
September 1995, Lanes joined the Croydon Sunday Football League in Division 9
Lanes first season proved to be a successful finishing 4th gaining promotion to division 8 and beating the eventual divisional champions Whitehorse Wanderers twice.
With several new additions to the playing staff and a year's experience Lanes entered the 96/97 season with high hopes of figuring in the title race and competing for the league cup. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and on reflection Lanes finished a distant runners up to Bedwood Town FC.
Still runner up meant Lanes were promoted again to division 6
Once players were added to the team and again hopes and morale were high although Lanes hadn't reckoned on Croydon Athletic FC. entering their reserves into the same division. The first game against them ended in a 5-1 reverse as could be expected and the misery was compounded further when Lanes drew them in quarterfinals of the league cup.
This game though was entirely different and Lanes lead 2-1 for most of the game until a glaring error brought on by a torrential downpour was made by our goalkeeper and allowed them to equalise. Croydon went on to beat Lanes 3-2 in extra time. Although extremely disappointed, Mr. and Mr. Rice were very proud to run such a good team very close. Lanes went on to finish 3rd in the league.
For the fourth successive season Lanes were promoted and went this time to division 4
At this point Lanes lost their striker who recorded 100 goals in 2 seasons to the afore mentioned Croydon Athletic FC which obviously was a major blow. This combined with loosing several other key players, the failure to replace them with players of equal abilities and a jump in standard, led to a comparatively disappointing season. Lanes eventually finished the season in mid table and struggled all season to field a regular team. This meant for the first time Lanes would not be promoted and would remain where we were in division 4.
Season 99/00 turned out though to be entirely different
It did start badly however when the club manager (Barry Rice) decided to resign on the eve of the season due to other commitments, handing the reigns over Rice Jnr Greg. This was a major blow to Greg and the club. The close season had proved very successful in terms of adding new players to the squad and several high standard players joined boosting Lanes considerably.
Come the final day of the season Lanes had managed to lose only 2 games all season and if Lanes won their last game they were champions. There was one stumbling block though in the shape of Whitehorse Wanderers FC who if they beat Lanes they could gain promotion also and if Lanes failed to win, then the Championship would go to a team called Livingstone FC.
Whitehorse proved very determined opposition and after Lanes took an early lead through club stalwart Robbie Keemer (a player who has been with Lanes since the club formed) they managed to peg Lanes back going into a 2-1 lead. Unbelievably it looked as though Lanes were going to let it slip when they equalised 3 minutes into injury time. A draw though would have not been good enough and Lanes kept pressing forward and until they snatched a dramatic winner in the 5th minute of injury time with the boot of Steve Murry. The Championship was lanes! What a day!
Lanes Division 4 Champions for season 99/00 and were promoted to division 2
Obviously after such a climatic season anything was going to feel a bit deflating and that is exactly what the following season proved to be. Although Lanes did finish a very respectable mid table, a team that had been promoted with them the previous season won the division.
Having finished the second season in Division 2 Lanes again achieved promotion, this time to Division 1. A tough very competitive season awaited Lanes but this was considered by the players a challenge and one that they admirably rose too. On reflection though Lanes first season in Division 1 was under achieving, for despite Lanes apprehension they managed to finish 4th beating the teams in second and third place but slipping up to teams in the bottom three.
Promotion again this time to the Croydon Premier, but new challenges arise
After much debate by the players and the manager, Lanes agreed to join the Leatherhead & District Football League and eagerly awaited the challenge of a new league and new teams.
The past two seasons in The Leatherhead & District Football have proved to be very successful for Lanes. The first season, which started in division 6 Lanes won the league and cup double hence gaining promotion to Division 4, one of the semi-finals went to penalties.
Lanes season in Division 4 finished with Lanes coming as runners up in the league which was considered a disappointment to their new high standards showing just how far AFC Lanes have come. So they went on to win the Cup Double!
Lanes keeps on growing and due to the success of the club and a massive influx of players, The Reserves have been set up and already reached the Surrey Cup Final in their first season.
The History keeps being written:
Ubi concordia, ibi victoria - Where there is unity, there is victory