The club has its early roots in the Orchard Estate Football and Social Club formed in 1971 in Twyford. Ray Jones, a resident of Orchard Estate, brought together a squad of eight boys between the ages of nine and ten years to train and compete in six-a-side competitions against other Twyford teams from Hurst Road, Springfield Estate, London Road and Pennfields. The original Orchard Estate team called themselves the “Orchard Fruits”. Peter Kelly, our Honorary Life President started the second team not long after.
Ray Jones enthusiasm and his team’s successes saw the start of the 1972/3 season with a squad that had grown to fifteen boys of mixed ages. This was the season in which Twyford Comets was formed. The Comets played friendly matches for the rest of that season against teams of mixed ages from the local area.
In 1973/4 Twyford Comets joined the South Chiltern Minor League to test their skills regularly against teams from within a fifteen-mile radius of Twyford. Today Twyford Comets now field teams from U7 up to Men’s age groups and play in the East Berkshire Football League, Berkshire Youth Development League and the Reading District Sunday League. Currently we have a total of 18 teams providing football for children and men from Twyford and the surrounding area. We also have a large squad of younger players who take part in Saturday Morning Mini-Comets sessions and friendly matches from time to time.
The club is almost wholly self-financing and subscriptions are kept as low as possible. Local businessmen are encouraged to sponsor teams and over the years several companies and individuals have been kind enough to provide various levels of financial support.
Although Ray Jones sadly passed away in 2015, his ideals of teaching football skills and sportsmanship in competition continue today. Twyford Comets has a lot to thank Ray for, his legacy leaves the thriving village club with teams that all enjoy youth football as we know it now; and through the years many thousands of children from Twyford and nearby villages have passed through the ranks of the club.
Some time ago Twyford Comets ventured into International competition. A chance conversation between two air traffic controllers at Heathrow and Maastricht in Holland led to the start of an exchange arrangement between Twyford Comets and a Dutch club, R.K.U.V.C. from Ulestraten, a village near Maastrecht.
Boys at the under 13/14 age group take part in this exchange which started with the visit of a Dutch team to Twyford in 1981. The following year Twyford Comets made the return trip to Holland and this arrangement has continued to the present day. During the visits the visiting team are shown around local sites of general or historic interest, there are some social activities organised for the accompanying parents and the visiting team play several games of football against both their hosts and teams from the local area. The highlight of this is a cup match played between the two teams. Originally we obtained sponsorship for this event from The Twyford Motor Company, and since they left the village various other companies have also sponsored it.
Originally games were played at King George V Recreation Ground in the middle of the village. During this time Twyford Comets Football Club paid to have floodlights installed at the Youth Hall, so that training could continue deep into the winter. However, in 1991 the Parish Council had two new full size pitches prepared at Stanlake Meadow and most teams now use these on a Saturday and Sunday morning.
Initially the changing accommodation at Stanlake Meadow was a portakabin loaned by Laings, who has carried out numerous housing developments in the village. Thanks to their generous support this was replaced in 1993 by a purpose built brick sports pavilion.
With changes to the FA rules the U7, U8, U9, U10, U11 and U12 age groups now play 5, 7 and 9-a side rather than 11-a-side football. Some play on pitches in the area hired by the Berkshire Youth Development League others play on small-sided pitches at King George V Recreation Ground and Stanlake Meadow.
As a starting point for children from the age of 5, we run coaching sessions at King George V Recreation Ground on Saturday mornings between 10:15 and 11:30.
Training for our U7 and upwards league teams takes place at various times during the week. During the summer and the lighter evenings at the beginning and end of the season this takes place at Stanlake Meadow or at King George V Recreation Ground. In the middle of the winter, all the teams train at the Piggott School in Wargrave on the 3G pitches. Twyford Comets donated a significant amount to the building of these facilities, and enjoy a discounted rate for the use of them.
Over the years the club has given considerable enjoyment to both the boys who play and the parents and others who watch. One person who liked to watch our teams playing on the Recreation Ground was Mr Ralph Slade who lived in Wargrave Road. Sadly he died in 1991, but as a reminder of his interest in our club his family kindly donated a trophy and, in line with the ideals of our club, it is awarded each year to a player in the oldest age group who has shown the best sportsmanship and the most dedication to the club during his time with us. A list of winners since 1992 can be found on this website.
At the end of the playing season each year we hold an Annual Presentation Ceremony, where every player receives a club medal. Each manager gives a brief summary of their team’s activity during the year and announces the winner of the Players’ Player and other individual awards. Each winner receives a trophy that they keep. In addition any other trophies won by the team during the season are displayed.
The Club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held in June each year and parents are invited to attend to discuss the running of the Club, and vote on key decisions on how the Club should be run.
The strength of the club lies very much in the work done by the team managers and the club officials in training and competition. They put in a lot of time and effort, which is wholly voluntary, to register teams and organise matches and training to make sure the children are given the opportunity to participate in competitive football from Under 7 up to Men’s football. Without these selfless acts of volunteering, the club would simply not exist and for this we are extremely grateful for the contributions of all past and present volunteers.