On a bright and sunny Saturday morning, on 1st July 2001, a group of parents with soccer keen children living in the parish of Leigh gathered, looking to create a footballing outlet for their youngsters. The club’s aim was then, and still is to this day, to enable all it’s members to be able to learn, play, and enjoy football, in a structured and safe environment, no matter what their ability!
At that very first coaching session, run by the two founder coaches, Neil Coleman and Bosko Medakovic, held at Leigh & Bransford Primary School, twelve youngsters of varying primary school ages and abilities, attended. This number grew steadily over the months that followed, with a total of 48 children attending the regular weekly coaching sessions, by the end of the club’s first year. A key developmental step was to offer football coaching to youngsters from age four and thus become one of the first in the County to support them.
As parental interest grew, volunteers agreed to undertake various roles within the club from administration through to coaching. Soon after, the club’s management Executive Committee was formed and held its first ever meeting in the local Royal Oak public house in Leigh Sinton, in December 2001. The club was soon to be formally constituted and recognised officially as Leigh & Bransford Badgers Football Club (L&BBFC). Affiliation to the Worcestershire Football Association (WFA) was soon to follow as a prime objective for the newly established club Executive Committee.
With the adoption of the Badger, as the now all too familiar club logo, and the black and white kit formally worn for the club’s first ever match Saturday, 10th November, 2001 the Badgers were born.Suckley Wanderers FC hosted that inaugural fixture, with around 120 vocal supporters present, including local historian, Malcolm Scott, who subsequently immortalised the occasion in his book about the history of life in the parish entitled; ‘The Book of Leigh & Bransford – the Parish Past & Present’
Find that Picture
Application was made to the then Mercian Elgar Junior Football League (MEJFL), and accepted, for the Badgers first ever league squads at ages U9’s and U11’s. Thanks to a very kind donation from the club’s local benefactor, residents Steve and Lesley Blewitt, the Badgers managed to purchase a set of portable floodlights, enabling the two squads to continue their progress with miweek, outdoor, training at the local Memorial Hall Field.
The addition of a programme to coach and cater for the u7 age group, under the guise of a non-competing and mixed gender, saw the launch of the first Development Squad, with ages ranging from 4 to 6 years. The foundation where set for the older members of this squad to progress to form the subsequent years U8’s Squad and so commenced the progress of generating new Badger teams from the youngest age group up.
- Amy Stilliard became the first girl to play for the club in a competitive match at Mini Soccer level against Evesham United Robins FC on 7th September 2002;
Word of mouth, and appreciation of the coaching principles adhered to, saw year on year growth of the Badgers. The subsequent increase in attendees meant that by the start of the 2003/4 season, the club had teams entered into the newly named Mercian Festival Junior Football League (MFJFL) in four age groups:
- 2 x U9’s (including the Cubs)
- Staff and Parents team also established
Founder member and lead coach Bosko Medakovic was awarded Worcestershire FA’s ‘Volunteer Of The Year’ for 2003
- 2003 saw the launch of the club’s first ever website lbbfc.co.uk
Build it and they will come
As the squads grew older, so did the number of teams the Badgers catered for, kick starting the 2004/05 season with seven age group teams, and the commencement of the naming convention to call squads after football teams to aid differentiation across age groups:
- U9’s (Albions, Badgers, Wanderers)
- U11’s (Greys and Brocks)
The wait for the clubs first trophy continued
To accommodate this expanse, the club acquired the long term use of several pitches in the neighbouring parish of Powick, at the former hospital site, just a few miles from their Leigh Sinton heartland.
We are still using the pitches for 9v9 and 11v11 teams today (Updated Mar 18)
New Home for the Badgers
The club was successful in its bid to acquire planning approval for use of a field as a new home for it’s mini soccer squads, to be known as the Ralph’s Field Stadium. The development would see the club able to expand to accommodate more squads, offering two new mini soccer pitches, a club refreshments bar and shop, car park, and training areas, in time for the start of the following season.
The club’s wait for club silverware is over.
- U8’s become the first Badger’s side ever to gain league honours, landing the Mercian Festival Junior Football League’s U8’s Division title in it’s inaugural season.
- This new ground formed part of the Guinness Park Farm estate, which was later to acquire fame as one of the properties (Biffa) on the Worcester edition of the long standing popular family board game, Monopoly!
10 sides for 2006
As well as playing competitive games at the new Ralph’s Field Stadium for the first time this year, following it’s newly laid surface, the club also made a return to the local Memorial Hall Ground for league games, after a two season absence, which had also undergone recent levelling and re-seeding work.
- Separate Girls squad for u7
- U9 continued League success
- U13 Colts formed
- Badger’s first ever cup silverware was finally captured when U13’s Colts lifted the WFA’s Charter Standard Club’s U13’s Tesco Cup, played at Pershore High School
Rounding off the Club’s most successful season to date, the Club’s Senior Coach, Bosko Medakovic was acknowledged for the second time, by the WFA, for his outstanding contribution to football over the season, and was duly awarded recognition under the FA’s Charter Standard Football Volunteer Workforce Programme 2006/7.
A Season of Consolidation
Numbers kept on growing and 2007 the club embarked on the season with 12 age group squads enjoying their football in the Mercian Festival Junior Football League. The pre-season comings and goings continue, with Badger Teams In:
- u8s Spurs
- u10 United
- u11 Gunners
Badger Team Departing:
- U11’s Albion
- U9 Rangers lift a Mercian Festival Junior Football League Cup – The George Goode Memorial Shield
- August holiday period, sixteen year old, Oscar Hooper became the first L&BBFC player to progress and attain the FA Level 1 Certificate in Coaching.
- Having played for the club since U13’s age, Oscar spent much time assisting his Dad, Rob, with the team affairs as well as helping out at Development team training.
A Season of Mixed Emotions
Now up to the highest ever, 13 age group squads, with Badger Teams In:
- U8 Athletic join the Badger Family
- U17’s switched to compete in the newly formed Worcestershire Football Association’s Men’s County Futsal League
But Badger Teams Departing:
- U11 Wanderers
- U11 Gunners
- U15 Greys mid-season
Another successful season of growth concluded with the club scooping several honours in the Worcestershire FA’s Charter Standard Workforce Awards 2008/9.
- Club Secretary & Members Registrar, Carrie Chambers was recognised for her duties in the Administration category.
- Oscar Hooper, Assistant Coach, was recognised for his coaching duties in the Young Volunteers U18’s category.
- Pat Lewis, Senior Coach – Girls, Futsal, and Community was also recognised for his coaching contributions in the Coaching category, and selected as the overall County winner, nominated by the WFA and winner at the National FA Awards.
Badgers recognised as a FA ‘Community Club’
Next big stride forward saw L&BBFC being granted ‘Community Club’ status, and in the process bypassing the ‘Development Club’ status. Achieving this magnificent recognition meant that in just a little over eight years since the club was formed, L&BBFC had progressed through to the pinnacle of FA’s charter standard football programme for clubs at a ‘grass roots’ level.
Sadly though, it was during the summer of this season that the club was devastated upon hearing news of U10’s Rangers’ Assistant Coach, Alessio Adorisio, who lost his life in tragic circumstances. The very popular and much loved 23 year old club colleague and friend died of his injuries when his car was involved in a crash on the M5 motorway just outside Worcester. A talented musician, Alessio was travelling home alone from a music event when the incident happened.
Plenty of changes for the Badgers
10 squads would kick start the 2009/10 season:
- The Club would continue with the joint offering of Boys and Girls Mini Development Squads
- U18 Myths would again compete in the WFA’s Men’s County Futsal League, alongside their older L&BBFC Legends debutante club mates.
Additions to the Badger family and ever changing naming conventions:
- U8 Olympic
- U10 Spurs made it third time lucky to land the MFJFL Division One title
- Another club side to enjoy a championship winning season were the U11’s Rangers.
- MFJFL U11 Rangers awarded the MFJFL’s Fair Play Award
- U11’s Rangers paid tribute to their former Assistant Coach, Alessio Adorisio, by breaking away the traditional black & white colours of L&BBFC for the season, in favour of a gold & black ‘remembrance’ shirt.
- Creation of playing opportunities for the club’s older aged members.
- The club’s more senior aged players could now continue their pursuit of safe and structured football through either Malvern based, Powick FC or Worcester based, Hornets FC; the latter already being a recognised Charter Standard Adult Football Club.
In March 2010, the club celebrated gaining five awards from Malvern Hills District Council under the Hereford & Worcester Sports Partnership’s, County Sports Awards 2009.
- Oscar Hooper, Senior Coach – Schools, was recognised as the District Council’s ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’
- Senior Coaches, BoskoMedakovic and Pat Lewis were recognised for their ‘outstanding contributions’ to local sport.
- Carrie Chambers, was also recognised for her dedication in sport, and nominated for the ‘Volunteer of the Year’.
- In addition, the club also received an award from the District Council, as it’s ‘Junior Club Of The Year‘
The season was quite over when more accolades rolled in to recognise our volunteers continued hard work, at the WFA’s Charter Standard Community Awards:
- Neil Coleman, Club Treasurer, received the ‘WFA Volunteer of the Year Award’,
- Whilst his son Jack picked up ‘Young Volunteer of the Year Award’
Biggest Highlight to Date
The best was yet to come with the Badgers grabbing the WFA’s ‘Charter Standard Community Club of the Year Award’
Tough Year to Follow
How does a club follow a year like the one before, by continuing with the basics that has served it so well so far, with 11 junior sides, 2 adult sides and the development squads to build from the base up.
- U8 Hornets formed having progressed from the club’s Development Squad,
- U11 Argyle join
- U12 Rangers continued their domination of the Division One table with their second consecutive league crown.
In what was a first for the club, the Girls Development Squad were invited by the Worcestershire FA to provide two teams to represent them at the 2011 Regional FA Futsal Finals in Birmingham. Two club squads were duly formed at U10’s and U12’s age. Both sides performed well in their respective age groups, but alas, neither were able to make it beyond the group stages.
Meanwhile, away from the action, in December of this season, the battling young Villa side received a most deserving acknowledgement from the Malvern Hills District Council’s sporting community. Despite not winning a game in over two seasons, our U14’s Villa were recognised by the Council as winners of it’s ‘Junior Team Of The Year Award 2010’!
- Winners of the MFJFL Fair Play Remembrance Cup were the U10’s Athletic. This squad accumulated the most points for an L&BBFC side under the MFJFL Fair Play Awards during the 2010/11 season, to become only the second winners of this now established club honour.
- To help host the home games for these sides, the club was able to acquire the use of the playing field in the neighbouring parish of Alfrick.
- Club parent, Marcus Fisher, took part in the London Marathon, completing the course in a little under six hours. In the process, his endeavours raised over £1000 sponsorship, which he generously shared between the Worcester based, St Richard’s Hospice, and L&BBFC.
Bigger and Stronger
Growing, growing, meant that the Badgers approached season 2001/12 being able to field 12 sides in the MFJFL, with the two adult squads to back them up, the Legends and the Myths. Not finished there the badgers were boosted by two new all girls squads, and the two Development Squads, running in parallel to the clubs league offerings. New Badgers for 2011:
- U8 Borough
- U8 Orient drawn from the Development Squad.
- U9 Vale
- U9 Hornets
- U10 County
The Badgers had to say goodbye to:
- u12 Argyle
- u15 Villa Squad
- U13 Rangers silverware haul continued
A new club position was created, that of Club President, and in honour of his work and dedication to the running and successes at the club, Bosko Medakovic was duly awarded this inaugural prestigious title by the club’s Executive Committee, during the clubs end of season presentation ceremony.
More Pitches More Teams
New for this season was the introduction of regular men’s competitive football. Although in previous seasons the Legends and Myths had taken part in the County FA’s Men’s Futsal League, the club decided to venture further into adult football with the creation of two additional men’s teams. Both playing competitive 11-a-side football, one side would compete in Saturday Division Two, and the other in Sunday Division Five of the local Worcester & District Football League (W&DFL).
Up to 14 Junior sides with teams in and, always sadly, squads folding:
- u14’s Rovers squad unable to continue.
- U8 Alexandria and City joined the Badger ranks
To accommodate expansion, the club secured the use of the very impressive facilities in the neighbouring parish, at Suckley Playing Field.
- This venue boasted of a large playing field, car parking provision, a pavilion with changing, WCs, and kitchen facilities, a garage store, and an outdoor floodlit five-a-side artificial turf pitch
Award season closed the year with numerous staff members nominated and subsequently shortlisted for four out of the five awards entered, under the Malvern Hills District Sports Awards 2013.
- Youngster, Jack Coleman landed the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ award
- Rich Davies won the ‘Coach of the Year’ award
- The Badgers winning the ‘Club of the Year’ award
The start of this new season saw several changes in personnel, squads, and league formats, as a total of 18 club squads set out to contest games this season, in friendly fixtures, tournaments, cups, and in the MFJFL and also the W&DFL, as well as the newly created WFA Over 35’s Veterans League.
As with ever campaign lots of ‘ins and outs’ with our team line ups, and joining the Badgers:
- In came u7 Thistle
- Club record of four sides competed in their relevant WFA County Cups this season, with the U14’s Spurs, U15’s Rangers, U16’s Celtic, and the Sunday Men’s all participating.
But we lost:
- u15 United
- The all conquering u15 Rangers marched to more silverware
- We broke a long running club ‘hoodoo’, the L&BBFC U16’s Celtic became only the second ever club side to compete at this level.
- On 2ndMarch 2014, Lucy Dovey became the first girl to play for the club at youth level, when she debuted for the L&BBFC U14’s Spurs in their MFJFL Division One game at Worcester Youth FC. This young WFA County Girls squad starlet, played the full game and was one of a trio of youngsters who impressed throughout the fixture.
- Club founders, Neil Coleman & Bosko Medakovic jointly were awarded the MHDC Sports Awards Volunteer of the Year
Ups and Downs
Brace yourselves for season’14 and more changes. On the positive side the Badgers welcomed:
- U7 Forest
- u8 Hearts
- u9 Hibernian formed, midway through the season, in order to support an influx of Junior badgers at these age group
In the minus column this season:
- U14 Athletic Squad decided to call time on their stint with the Badgers
- U13’s Olympic
- U15’s Spurs
By June, 2015, U12’s Vale were recognised by the WFA County Youth Development League as winners of it’s Fair Play Award 2014/15.
- Although the Valiants found the going tough pitch-wise, they nonetheless topped a poll involving all clubs in all Divisions across the league, and were deemed the best in this particular category.
- In doing so, the Vale became the first L&BBFC squad to land such an honour.
In a first for the club, the U12’s Vale opted to play in the WFA County Youth Development League (WFA CYDL) this season instead of the MFJFL, in a bid to avoid folding, given that the former league allowed Saturday football which proved more popular with the players and parents than the alternative lure of Sunday football offered by the MFJFL
Biggest Start to date
A record six new club sides were entered this season to compete in our local leagues:
- U7 Dynamo and Spartak
- U9 Hearts
- U10 Hibernian
- U12 Palace (Saturday) and the U12’s Palace (Sunday).
The negative balance sheet saw the demise of:
- U12 Hornets and Vale
Meanwhile, playing in a more structured format of junior cup competition based on a series of group games, organised by the MFJFL, two of our younger sides, the U9’s Thistle and the U11’s Alexandra both battled their way to their respective finals.
- An emphatic victory saw Thistle lift their first MFJFL honour.
- Then, in early May, it was then the turn of our U11’s Alexandra.
- Badgers participate in the Ambassador Evesham Football League (AEFL) for the first time
At the prestigious Malvern Hills DC Sports Awards the Badgers came away with another title. This year, 18 year old Club Coach, Sam Edmondson, landed the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ award for his support to City.
Cross Code Badger
In the August prior to the new season kicking off, L&BBFC was delighted to hear that one of it’s former players had been selected for international duty! Former L&BBFC U15’s Rangers striker and gifted young rugby player, Ted Hill, opted to quit football and concentrate his ambitions on rugby, where upon he had since excelled to such an extent that he was selected to represent England U18’s in their tour of South Africa that same month.
Three new squads were created:
- U7 Locomotive
- U7 Torpedo
- Added to this was the rather pleasing resurrection of the former Spurs squad at U17’s
- U10 Thistle MJPL Autumn Cup winners
- U10 Hearts MFJFL’s Fair Play Awards 2016/17
- U11 City MFJPL Shield winners
- U12 Alexandra landed the AEFL U12’s Pool B
- First ever Badger teams to participate in the MJPL u10 Thistle and u13 Orient
L&BBFC was delighted that it had been recognised this year by the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit for providing a safe environment for children and young people in sport. The WFA nominated Alex Warner, Club Child Welfare Officer for the award, recognising the good work that has been done by him within the club since taking up the post 18 months ago.
More Teams than ever, more coaches than ever, in more Leagues than ever. Highlights included:
- Three MJPL Teams in u11 Saints and Thistle plus u14 Orient
- Five AEJFL Teams with u11 Hearts, u12 City, u13 Alexandra and u14 Borough plus Palace
- New Sunday teams in the MFJFL with u12 Hibernian and u16 Town joining the Badger Family
- Re-ignited the clubs Girls programme with GDS sessions and the establishment of the u10 Jets
- Establishment of a partnership with the University of Worcester to broaden the experience of their student coaches across all the Badger age groups
An amazing start with Hayden Bell, recently FA qualified, excelled by stepping up and helping to lead our newly formed U7’s squads, such was Hayden’s achievement, that for or a second consecutive year running, a young L&BBFC coach landed the Malvern Hills District Councils’ Young Volunteer of the Year category at the District Community Sports Awards 2017.
As the Badgers entered 2018 we have continued to add to our ranks with more coaches, volunteers and players than ever
- u10 Jets played the first ever Girls fixtures, in February, against Nunnery Wood and Ledbury Swifts
- u10 Wanderers joined the Badgers having previously played for Lower Teme and Martley
- Cup final for u9 Dynamo
- Cup final for u12 Hibernian
- April we received conformation that the our FA Charter Standard Community Club status had been re-accredited for another 12 months
- Signing of the landmark partnering agreement with Malvern Town FC