Ambitious Yateley United are getting it right on and off the pitch

Inside the Yateley United clubhouse. Photo supplied by club.
Inside the Yateley United clubhouse. Photo supplied by club.

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There’s something quite interesting happening on the Berkshire/Hampshire border.

At Sean Devereux Park Yateley United have begun their Thames Valley Premier League season in quite remarkable fashion, winning all ten of their fixtures so far. This gives them a perfect record of 30 points from 30. They are ten points ahead of the reigning Thames Valley Premier League champions Finchampstead and now must surely see themselves as favourites for the title.

Yateley United are certainly a club with ambitions of more than Step 7 football. Amongst other improvements, they have recently built a new community centre/clubhouse, opened by former Argentina and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ossie Ardiles. Their club has certainly taken a leaf out of Ardiles’ attacking philosophy scoring 26 goals in their ten games with Charlie Westell (9) and Myles White (5) being the top scorers for the club this season. Their defence is also playing its part with only three goals conceded in those ten matches.

The Yateley United dressing room. Photo supplied by club.
The Yateley United dressing room. Photo supplied by club.

Alongside the clubhouse, the pitch is now railed off, with talks of floodlights being installed at the ground. If they can continue their remarkable run of form, and get the ground improvements required to impress the bigwigs at the Football Association, they may well be looking at a promotion to Step 6, most likely in the Combined Counties League Division One. If they were to gain promotion they would be following in the footsteps of the likes of Berks County, Highmoor Ibis (now Reading City), Woodley United and Ascot United, all of whom play at Step 6 or higher.

The club also have something of a rarity at Step 7, certainly in this part of the world. They produce a printed programme! These programmes can be purchased at games for £1. It’s a fine initiative and a real labour of love from Tony Spencer who is clearly a passionate advocate of the printed medium – as his Twitter account will attest.

Yateley United's new club house. Photo: Rob Collins.
Yateley United’s new club house. Photo: Rob Collins.

Despite the excellent progress off the pitch and Yateley United’s undoubtedly excellent start to the season on it, big tests still remain. They are yet to play either of the top two of last season in Burghfield and Finchampstead. The fixtures against these two Thames Valley Leviathans are yet to be scheduled, but they’ll certainly gain much interest when they are.

A quirk of the fixture computer means that Yateley’s next four matches are against clubs beginning with the letter W. They start on Saturday 5th November away at Wargrave (won 2-1), before hosting Westwood Wanderers, Wargrave and Wraysbury on consecutive November Saturdays.

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