Tove Valley Football Club is Towcester’s Open Aged football club partnered with Towcester Town Juniors Football Club. Founded in 2018, the club has become an integral part of the local community and has enjoyed a fist rise within the Northamptonshire grassroots game, finding success both on and off the pitch.

The club started as a small amateur team, comprised of keen football enthusiasts from Towcester who wanted the opportunity to play 11 a side football in a large town that has previously seen not enough teams for the level of interest, and found their home in the village of Stoke Bruerne. Entering into the Nene Sunday League where the facilities would allow them, the clubs first season was in Division 4, where after a poor start, the club picked up points against nearest rivals however finished the 2018/19 season in last place of the bottom division.

Having gained experience in how to run a club and with a clear market for a team in the growing town, Tove voted to restructure at their AGM and an EGM at the end of the season, with founding players Tom Corbett and Jack Bramley being appointed Secretary and Chairman respectively, tasked with taking the club to promotion within several seasons. With Jack also taking the role of Head Coach, the side recruited in a few key areas to provide the necessary depth to the squad.

A steady start saw the Tove in mid table at the Christmas break, however due to other commitments, coach Mark Arnold had to step back from his role at the club, with Jack stepping up in the management position, supported by new player Will Barden. Following the appointment, Tove won every match for the remainder of the 2019/20 season in an 9 game streak and climbed to third place, one point off top spot, before Covid-19 cancelled the remainder of the season.

Huge interest in the club had grown with the success combined with the pandemic raising interest in community sport, therefore the club were able to recruit several more players to the club during the off season, and began their pre season with individual training programs, before group of 6 training was permitted and began for the campaign. Tove then got off to a flyer the 2020/21 season, being placed in Division 6 despite the clear improvement that had happened in the previous campaign, including the clubs record win in their first home game of the season in a 14-0 victory against Burton Latimer Allstars.

A clear battle for the title was growing in the league, with both Tove and Swan & Helmet unbeaten at the top of the table by 18th October, where the sides played out a 4-4 draw. Following the draw, manager Tony Benham who had been watching the side the last few weeks was appointed Manager of the team. 4 wins from 4 followed, before another pause in the season due to lockdown. Tove knew they had a challenge when football resumed in April, however 5 wins from their 5 games leading up to the last match saw them go into a game at home against Swan & Helmet needing just a point to clinch the title, and a record crowd of 100+ at Stoke Bruerne cheered on the side to a 3-1 victory thanks to goals from Greg Lapare, Michael Watson and Richard Parker. Tove were awarded the Northamptonshire Sunday Team of the Year accolade for this season.

The next season saw Tove Firsts promoted several division up to Div 1, with the task still to challenge for the title. Keeping the same side from the 2019/20, hard work on the training pitch was put in which paid off with the side winning all but one league game in the season to win the Division 1 title along with the Northamptonshire County Cup. The club also formed their Reserve team, who in similar fashion to the Tove first team had a slow start whilst adjusting to a new setting, yet picked up form for the end of season cup, going through top of the Alan Dimmer group stage, then going on to lift the Trophy.

Tove then saw several changes to the club in terms of personnel and venue for the 2022/23 season, with the club relocating to The Gateway School in Tiffield and the First Team promoted to the top flight of Sunday League football. After local rivals Blisworth folded midway through the season impacted Tove’s league position, they finished 9th in the Premiership in their maiden campaign. Meanwhile, the Reserve Team battled all season in a close campaign with David Green Old Boys, and went on to lift the title thanks to a 2-1 victory on the final day.

Tove Mens First Team now currently compete in the Championship having promoted players through the club through our development programme, with the Reserves team rising to Division 2. 2023/24 also saw the club push hard and achieve their ambitions of creating a Ladies Team for the first time, helping provide football opportunities to women in the local community to overcome barriers to accessing football locally with our training group which is gearing up for entering the league next season.

Tove Valley also run a National Lottery community programme in partnership with local charities for child migrants and young children in care who have not previously had formal football training due to individual circumstances. This project aims to support the provision of football training within Northampton centre where most young adults are housed in care, providing local, accessible and open football training and games for these young adults.

These young adults are also continuing to be impacted and face challenges from the cost of living crisis with little to no financial support, therefore are unable to fund extra curricular activity, particularly football with many clubs increasing membership costs, and particularly football facility hire seeing a large increase with electricity and maintenance increases seeing a large hike in local facility hire. We have seen huge success in supporting young adults in these circumstances in previous years on a smaller scale, with the players all becoming close friends with each other and socialising with players they would otherwise not have met, as well as integrating within the wider team.