About Sun Sports FC
The Sun Engraving Company was founded way back in 1898.
The company was initially based in London but amalgamated through other printing companies after the First World War and re-located to Watford in 1919.
Sun Engraving Football Club was first formed for the 1920/21 season, comprising of workers from the printing company and competed in the Watford & District League and Printers Cup.
Sun Engraving won their first honours in the 1921/22 season, completing a “double” by winning the Watford & District League and Printers Cup (Pictured right).
On the bottom row seated on the far right you will see Len Cotton.
If you look closely you will notice that he only has one arm which he lost during the First World War, this did not stop Len from taking the field and playing for the Sun. He went on to captain the club winning a variety of honours through the 20’s and 30’s.
The Herts County League was re-formed in 1935 and Sun Engraving Football Club was elected into its’ membership.
It was in 1937 that the late A.G. Symonds, works manager with Sun Engraving, was instrumental in providing the sports ground with the purchase of our home, first situated in Parkside Drive and later relocated to Bellmountwood Avenue (Before that the club played their matches in Whippendell Road – opposite the printing company building and on a field where cows grazed!).
In the 1930’s Mr Football Horace Wright became interested in football at the Sun. World War Two however saw football cease across the country.
In 1948 Mr Football was back and Horace acted as Secretary, Treasurer and Kit Manager until 1968, with the late Howard Atkins (President) present at every home fixture.
Our current President John Perks has served the club for 50 years and at one time or another carried out every official duty of the football club committee. On the playing side they have played in and managed all three sides over those long years, a record that will take some beating.
It was before the 1995/96 season that the club changed its name to Sun Postal Sports following its amalgamation with Watford Postal Services. With the sudden and tragic death of Chairman and sponsor Frank Woolner in October 2002 the club struggled financially and faced the increased burden of having to pay to play at Woodside Stadium, made possible through Three Valleys Water. John Perks, acting Chairman, was asked to take control.
The Bellmountwood Avenue ground at the time was under redevelopment, with new pitches, changing facilities and social area being built, with support from the football foundation to the tune of £650,000. Richard Atkins was instrumental in leading the project development.
Alan McKane was appointed Chairman and main sponsor in January 2003 to see the club through its transition from County League football to senior status in the Spartan South Midlands League. Sun Postal Sports made history becoming the first non league club in Watford.
The Sports and Social Club Main Committee took over the running of the club in Dec 2003 and it was in this month that Claire Ward, MP for Watford, officially opened our new facilities. In continuing with the ground development the football stadia improvement fund granted £100,000 to develop the ground to senior status standard.
In April 2004 Jim Kempster was appointed Chairman taking charge with a new committee. Jim himself has been involved with the club over 35 years.
The season 2005/06 saw another first for the club with an Under 18 side competing in the Allied Counties League East Division. This was the beginning of a strong youth policy for the club. The first piece of silverware was achieved for 8 years with the Reserves ending the season Champions of their division.
Season 2006/2007 was less successful with the first team finishing in the lower reaches of the league and the reserve team failing to stave off an immediate return to Division 2.
Season 2007/2008 was a similar story to the previous year with the first team involved with a relegation battle for the majority of the season, securing safety with just 2 games of the season to go. The reserves suffered too, finishing second from bottom. Success within the senior section came in the shape of the Under 18 Allied Counties side, who under the stewardship of Steve McKane and Steve Kane, guided thier lads to Champions of the East Division.
Season 2008/09 saw a new management team appointed in the shape of Mark Simmonds as first team manager and Paul Faulkner as reserve team manager.
First Team results were disappointing finishing 21st in the league and after much promise in the early part of the season the Reserves challenge for promotion faded away finishing 7th. The Allied Counties Under 18 had a very strong season and in their first season finished a very creditable 3rd in the Premier Division, a magnificent achievement.
In the close season of 2009 we suffered the tragic loss of club President Chris Hows, a loyal servant of the club, who served for more than 48 years in various roles. He will be sorely missed by all at the club.
2009/10 saw a few changes with the Management team as Mark Simmonds stepped down in September leaving Sean Brown and Martin Walsh in charge of the first team, assisted by Terry Hows. Also early in the season we lost Reserve team Manager Andy Whiting and Alan Bull, with the support of Greg Hunt took over the reins.
The 2010/11 season Sean Brown started in charge of the first team being assisted by Terry Hows. The Reserves were led by Scott Patmore and Carlos Chase. After an impressive start to the league campaign Sean was to step down in February. Scott Patmore was asked to step up to and recruited Daryl Marriot along with Dan Dady to see the teams through to the end of the season. The first team finished a creditable 11th with the reserves securing 8th place.
In 2011/12 The Sun welcomed Jim Kempster back as Chairman following Drew Toon’s decision to step down after his 3 year tenure. It was not the most successful of campaigns for either team despite the endeavours of Crawford Watters, who replaced Scott Patmore as first Manager with ¼ of the season remaining. Matt Boxer and Stuart Atkins stepped in to support the reserves following Crawford’s promotion.
2012/13 witnessed somewhat of a managerial merry go round. Newly appointed Phil Ralston stepped down in September with Under 18 Manager Tim O’Sullivan appointed as Caretaker Manager. Following a recruitment process Gordon Wallis returned to the Club to take Charge of first team affairs and guided the side to a 17th placed position. Stuart Atkins continued as Reserve Team Manager and they enjoyed a good season finishing 5th. The end of the season has brought wholesale changes with club stalwarts, Chairman, Jim Kempster and Secretary Joe Tibbles stepping down. Terry Springer also departed his role as Vice Chairman.
Quoted as “A new dawn for Sun”, during the summer of 2013 a new management committee was elected with Martin Sills leading the team, with Paul Masters, Michael Woolner, Paul Foley and Kevin Affleck supporting. A swift appointment of a new Manager was made with Paul Hobbs returning to football after a year out coming in as first team Manager, assisted by Terry Hows with a new coaching team of Chris Campbell and Crawford Watters.
Paul Hobbs and Terry Hows went on to have the most successful season in the club’s history, gaining promotion from Division One as well as finishing in 5th position in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division in 2014/15, the highest placing the Sun have ever had in the Football League Pyramid.
The 2015/16 season was not so successful as the club finished 15th in the league but reached the final of the St Marys Cup, losing to Tring Athletic 2-0
New manager Tim O’Sullivan has been part of the Sun Sports family since 2001 bringing in his own youth team through and eventually winning the Allied Counties Youth League after a very successful 12 years winning honours all the way through.
He took a step into senior football in 2015/16 as assistant first team manager at Leverstock Green and is now back home as first team manager at Sun Sports.
Pat Fallon, who was reserve team manager at Oxhey Jets in 2015/16, is now assistant first team manager at the Sports and is also a Sun man serving a number of years at the club.
Gary Burkett came from Biggleswade United to join the new look Sun Mangement team and was also part of the back room staff at Bedford.
Coach James Hall left the club after just one season and has been replaced with Ryan Jackett, son of Ex Watford and current Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett.
With a virtual complete new player base, the 2016/17 season has been smashing records for the Sun.
In the FA Cup, the club reached the first Qualifying Round for the first time ever, beating London Tigers and Northwood on the way.
The Sun reached the dizzy heights of the Fourth Round Proper of the FA Vase, beating Bedfont & Feltham, Peterborough Northern Star, Biggleswade United and Hoddesdon Town until they lost to Bromsgrove Sporting in front of a record attendance of 320 at the Sun Stadium. They completed a memorable season by finishing 10th in the Premier Division, the second highest finish for the club in their history.