With every season of AFC West End’s illustrious history now documented here on the new club website there should be few unanswered questions remaining. However, for the die-hard AFC enthusiast, club Chairman Sam McDonnell kindly provides the full story behind Lincoln’s self-proclaimed Sunday League Heroes.
Who formed AFC West End?
Back in late 2004, with the University of Lincoln football club having failed to attract the individuals who would go on to form AFC West End, a wealth of unused footballing talent and character lay festering in Lincoln’s West End. This talent was forced to fill the void with five-a-side, but eventually enough was enough and the occupants of two adjoining houses on the corner of Gresham Street and Newland Street West put plans in motion for an eleven a side team. Friendly fixtures were scheduled against faculty and course teams from the University, and AFC West End was born. Benny Gane, Ben Fletcher, Stuart Coles, Joe Harper, Andy Kirk, Chris Dorling and Reg Lawrence were these occupants and all would star in these opening friendly matches.
Where does the AFC West End crest come from?
The club crest comes from the houses which bore the club’s original players. One of these dwellings was a former off-licence, with the ‘Small Beer’ shop logo still painted on the outside side wall. The club’s simple crest sees the text of the company name replaced with ‘AFC West End’, and as such led to the club’s early nickname of ‘The Beers’. The smart modern design identifies the team’s routes and formation as well as acknowledging the sizeable role alcohol has played in the club’s history
Where do the AFC West End club colours come from?
In the club’s first season of friendly fixtures a royal blue shirt with white trim was purchased to help give the team a further sense of identity. However, once AFC decided they were to start playing competitively a whole strip was of course needed. As the club’s initial finances were near non-existent a well priced eBay auction for two strips was too good to turn down and then manager Andy Kirk decked his team out in navy blue for the club’s competitive bow. The tradition has continued to this day, although the away colours, which were initially red, have this season changed to orange after a team vote.
Who scored the club’s first goal?
Andy Kirk’s lob on the opening day of the 2005/06 season was AFC West End’s first competitive goal but their first recognised strike came from Ben Fletcher roughly a year earlier. Usually a goalkeeper, Ben was playing on the wing when he made an out of character run to the far post, gambling on the opposition keeper spilling a shot. The gamble paid off and Ben was left to place the ball into an empty net; his strike was celebrated enthusiastically but the team went on to lose the game.
Who has managed AFC West End?
Andy Kirk was AFC West End’s first recognised manager, he proved a great influence during the friendly season and went on to manage the side throughout their first competitive season in 2005/06. The following year Sam McDonnell and Joe Harper were set to undertake a joint manager’s role but, with Joe unable to continue due to work commitments, Sam took sole charge for the season. In 2007/08 Glen Wilson took over the running of the team and managed AFC West End to their most successful season, though Sam McDonnell returned as a caretaker manager for the final two games. This apparent tradition of a new manager every season has continued in 2008 with Dan Hill taking over as AFC’s latest boss with assistance from Dave Capps.
Who plays for AFC West End?
The team has always attracted and been enhanced by the same type of people and the same type of footballers; people who enjoy the banter, humour, culture and challenge of Sunday League Football and players who use the football in the right way. AFC have always (and sometimes to their detriment) tried to play the most attractive football possible at Sunday league level.
What is the club’s relationship with Stonebow Athletic?
Without question the biggest threat AFC West End has ever experienced came in the summer of 2007 when several key players departed to join the newly formed Stonebow Athletic. It was an awkward and unfortunate time which left a lot of relationships strained and the club’s future in genuine doubt, but thankfully the end result was a stronger more unified team. From the club’s point of view, to lose so many key players in such acrimonious circumstance was a major blow but the reaction from the remaining players and those brought in was remarkable. The reason why so many people wanted to play their football elsewhere has never been made clear and probably never will, and it is that which leaves a sour taste. AFC West End has moved on and is now a more efficiently run, stronger team to the one so many players left that summer. Despite all this, the fact remains that anyone who has played for AFC is a friend of the club and will remain so
What does the A stand for in AFC West End?
There was officially never any explanation for the A in AFC, the team opting against clarifying itself in its early days. Favouring not to confirm themselves as an ‘Athletic’ nor an ‘Association’ Football Club, the A has remained like a mysterious faint stain on the club’s rich tapestry leaving players and fans to ponder what it is and where it came from. (Let us be honest though, these days the A stands for Alfie).