Buckland Athletic FC
Our Club History

Buckland Athletic FC was formed in 1977, purely as a junior club.  It started life in the Torbay Pioneer League and Sandringham Road was our home pitch.  During this time, it was one of the biggest junior clubs in the area, and it won many titles and cups over its early years, including the Devon Youth Cup.

The first big decision the club made was to take a team into senior football in the 1987-88 season, and saw us take a place in the Devon & Exeter League, Senior Division Three. Roy Holmes took his Under 18’s side into that division and they were rewarded when they won the league title that season, our first at senior football level.  We moved grounds in the 1990-91 season to Decoy Park, which was the season we also won the Wheaton Trophy.  Promotions saw us climb into the Premier Division for the 1992-93 season, having again moved, this time to Homers Lane, Kingsteignton.

As mentioned, we have had a number of grounds over our lifetime, starting with council owned pitches at Sandringham Park, Coach Road and then Decoy Park.  In 1992-93 we secured the use of Homers Lane in Kingsteignton, and we built that ground up to Devon league standard, which included a small stand, enclosed playing surface and hard standing on three sides.  But our big break came in 2003 when we were given the option by WBB to take on South Quarry, on the Torquay side of Newton Abbot, and after a lot of hard work and sweat by a huge number of volunteers, we started life at the newly named Homers Heath for the start of the 2005-06 season, with work on the ground and fabulous clubhouse on-going every season since then and to this day.

A lot of work has been carried out at Homers Heath, including a new covered standing area, which incorporates two new turn-stiles. The ground was fenced in, and an impressive outside toilet block was built. This work allowed the club to achieve a ‘D’ Ground Grade which is good enough for Southern League football. Our new ground at Homers Heath won the SWPL Premier Division best ground award in both 2007-08 and 2008-09, and then finished runners-up in both 2009-10 and 2010-11. The clubs match-day programme, ‘The Bucks Review’ has also enjoyed success, winning the best programme award in the Devon League on four occasions, and in the SWPL Premier Division, they won that accolade in each of the five seasons we were in that league, and it also finished in sixth place in the final season (2004-05) of the renowned Wirral Programme Club awards, which had over 1100 entries that season. 

On the field, we spent eight seasons in the Premier Division of the Devon & Exeter League, winning our first title in the 1994-95 season, under manager’s Nigel Holmes and Roger Madge, who had taken over the reins from Roy Holmes at the start of that season. The second league title was won in the 1999-00 season allowing us to take promotion to the Devon League.  We won a number of cup competitions during this time in the Premier Division, including the D & E Premier Division Cup & East Devon Senior Cup.

2000-01 was our first season in the Devon League and we finished the season runners-up to title winners, Willand Rovers. We also made it through to the semi-finals of the Devon Premier Cup in this campaign.  We went on to spend seven seasons in the Devon League, with our lowest finish being 13th in 2005-06. Also in our time in this league we were runners-up in the Throgmorton Cup in the 2001-02 season.  In the final ever season of the Devon League (2006-07), we did just enough to gain promotion to the newly formed South West Peninsula League, finishing that season in 12th place.

We started life in this newly formed league in the 2007-08 season. We finished that season in 14th place, but manager, Phil Bayliss was building a squad that he felt was good enough to contest for the league title.  In the next season we finished in 3rd place, and then our dreams were realised when we won two consecutive titles, as well as winning the Throgmorton Cup (2009-10). Then in the 2011-12 season, we applied to the Western league, knowing that a top two finish was needed to take promotion, well it was achieved, but we did relinquish our title, with Bodmin Town coming out on top, but promotion was won.  

In our first season in the Western League we finished in tenth place in the table, but we did win the Hospitality Award and the Programme Award.  The 2013-14 season, the team finished the season in 11th place. It was another great season in the history of this great club when the 1st team finished in runners-up spot in the Western League Premier Division in 2014-15, the highest finish in the club’s history in the non-league pyramid.  We also won the Premier Division best programme award for the third consecutive season, making it eight consecutive league wins in the last eight seasons.  The 1st Team, led by Adam Castle finished in 4th Place in the Western League Premier Division, but not good enough to reach our goal of promotion in the 2016/17 season. However, his team made it through to the 6th Round of the FA Vase that year, our best achievement in this competition to date. In this season, we also won the hospitality award and best programme awards.  It was a fifth-place finish in the 2017-18, but we did win the Les Phillips Cup for the first time. However, it will be the fixture congestion at the end of the campaign which will be remembered with the number of games our lads had to play, having played fifteen games in twenty-four days. We also won the best programme award again for a fifth time in six seasons. The following season the club finished in ninth place in the Premier table, and again won the best programme award.

In February 2020, the club were devastated when we lost our beloved Chairman, Roy Holmes. A pinnacle figure in our club’s history who sadly was taken from us too soon after a battle with Cancer. This was made only worse when a month later, the world was consumed by the Coronavirus pandemic which resulted in two disbanded seasons, during the years 2019/20 and 2020/21. During this time, the club went through arguably it’s biggest transition off the field, with John Piller and Nigel Holmes taking the reigns as Co-Chairman, Roy’s wife, Christine stood down from her duties as Club Secretary and former Junior Secretary, Judd Barker took on the role as Club Secretary and Vice Chairman. In addition to this, following advice from the Football Association, Buckland Athletic FC became Buckland Athletic FC Ltd, registered as a company limited by guarentee and therefore the creation of a Board of Directors was formed. The Board of Directors are John Piller, Nigel Holmes, Judd Barker, Adam Castle, Simon Dungey, Simon Glanfield and Justin Osborne.

Once football returned in the 2021/22 season, we finished in 11th position, which was below our expectations and aspirations as we looked to continue to climb the non-league pyramid. In April 2022, Dan Hart was appointed as 1st Team Head Coach, following Paul Froude’s reign and with a strong coaching background, Dan hopes to take our club to new heights and new experiences by achieving promotion to the Southern League Division One. In his first season, he has instilled an ethos of commitment within his squad and is building the foundations to what hopes to be a history making year in 2023/24.

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