Whitstable Town (A)
No Result Match Postponed
Match Report
Erhun Aksel Oztumer

Page Title Image

The Tanners
01372 360151

Formed: 1946

Ground Address: Fetcham Grove, Leatherhead, Surrey. KT22 9AS


To get a route to the ground type your postcode into the box below.


Since the summer of 2000 Leatherhead Football Club has been run by the Tanners supporters who stepped into the breach when it seemed their Club would go out of existence. A small army of volunteers has worked hard to bring stability to Fetcham Grove and they can take great pride in their achievements. The playing side of the Club has made steady progress whilst the infrastructure at the ground has been restored and a sound financial position established. A new long-term lease on Fetcham Grove has helped secure the Tanners future. Sponsorship by Milners, who back the Ryman League team, and Toshiba Carrier, who assist the youth team, has been of great benefit in the Leatherhead recovery.

The Leatherhead ethos is that it is "A club run by its' supporters for the benefit of its' community" and the Tanners are very proud that they host The Pitstop at Fetcham Grove. The Pitstop is a registered charity that provides a daytime drop-in centre for the homeless, unemployed and socially isolated in and around Leatherhead.

Football in Leatherhead can be traced back to at least the start of the 1900s but the current Leatherhead Football Club was formed in May 1946 when Leatherhead Rose and Leatherhead United merged. The new Club entered the Surrey Senior League and won four successive Championships, before transferring to the Metropolitan League for one season. In 1951, Leatherhead became founder members of the Delphian League, before progressing to the Corinthian League in 1958. ‘The Tanners’ were the last ever Corinthian League Champions in 1963 before the merger with the Athenian League. The following year Leatherhead were top of the Athenian League Division One, earning promotion to the Premier Division.

The Tanners made good progress in the 1960s, installing floodlights in 1963. Their reputation was enhanced when they reached the Quarter-Final of the FA Amateur Cup in 1965-66, losing to eventual winners Wealdstone. They progressed to the Quarter-Final again the following season, this time losing to mighty Hendon.

In 1969 Leatherhead won the Surrey Senior Cup, defeating Redhill 3-1 at Sutton United’s Gander Green Lane ground. Leatherhead also added the Surrey Senior Shield and the Reserves carried off the Surrey Intermediate Cup that year. This was the first occasion in which one club achieved the 'Surrey treble' and the Surrey FA awarded Leatherhead a special plaque to commemorate this still unique achievement.

The Seventies were nothing short of spectacular for the Tanners. In 1971, Leatherhead reached the FA Amateur Cup Semi-Final, losing at Bolton’s old Burnden Park ground 2-0 to the eventual winners Skelmersdale United. Two seasons later, the Tanners won election to the Isthmian League.

In 1974 Leatherhead missed out an appearance on the last ever FA Amateur Final when they were beaten 1-0 by Ilford in the Semi-Final at Millwall’s old Den.

This disappointment was soon forgotten as the 1974-75 season saw Leatherhead achieve national fame in the FA Cup when they reached the Fourth Round Proper. The Tanners played through the Qualifying Rounds to reach the First Round Proper for the first time. There they faced Bishop’s Stortford and after a draw away from home they overcame their Isthmian League colleagues in a replay at Fetcham Grove. Next the Tanners dispatched Colchester United 1-0 at Fetcham Grove, the first time that they had defeated Football League opposition. In the Third Round Peter Taylor's Brighton and Hove Albion were beaten by the only goal of the game at the Goldstone Ground in the Third Round - memorably scored by the 'Leatherhead Lip' Chris Kelly.

The Tanners were drawn at home against Leicester City at home in the Fourth Round but the game was switched to Filbert Street. The Match of the Day cameras and over 32,000 people saw a dramatic match in which Peter McGillicuddy and Chris Kelly put the Tanners two goals up, and then saw Kelly's goalbound shot that would have made it 3-0 cleared off the line. Leicester City's fitness and class eventually told as the top-flight team fought back to win 3-2. Further FA Cup victories against a Ron Atkinson managed Cambridge United in 1975 and Pat Crerand's Northampton Town in 1976 cemented Leatherhead’s reputation as a giant killer.

Leatherhead finally reached Wembley in 1978 for the FA Trophy Final, but were soundly beaten 3-1 by an excellent Altrincham side, Mickey Cook scoring the Tanners consolation goal. That season also saw Leatherhead were also losing finalists in the Isthmian League Cup and reach the First Round of the FA Cup for a fourth time, but were beaten by Swansea City. The Second Round was reached in 1979, with Colchester United gaining revenge for their defeat in 1974-75.

By the time the Tanners reached the First Round Proper of the FA Cup 1980-81 former Crystal Palace player Martin Hinshelwood had replaced the stalwart Billy Miller. The Tanners lost 5-1 at Exeter City and have yet to reach this stage of the FA Cup again.

In 1982-83 the Tanners started to run into financial problems and endured a wretched season, being relegated from the Premier Division. Managed by Brian Caterer and Colin Lippiatt, their greatest humiliation was an 11- 1 defeat at Sutton United. The following season former QPR player Mickey Leach took over as manager and inspired a remarkable recovery after further relegation looked certain at Christmas. In 1984-5 the Tanners fans believed their side had won promotion but after the campaign had ended they were denied promotion by Kingstonian when three points deducted when it transpired that a player signed from Wimbledon did not have International Clearance when he returned from Finland.

The 1980s and early 1990s proved to be a struggle, with a succession of managers. After long standing manager Billy Miller left the Tanners Martin Hinshelwood (whose playing career at Crystal Palace was cut short), Keith Mills, Mickey Cook, Mickey Leach (former QPR player), Roger Charland, Keith Oram, Ada Hill, John Cassidy, Mickey Byrne, Terry Eames (now in charge of AFC Wimbledon), Paul Andrews and Terry Mills all worked hard to achieve some sort of success. The only major highlights were the defeat of Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Trophy and a Southern Combination Cup Final win against Malden Vale in 1990. Unfortunately, that same season saw the Tanners relegated to Division Two.

In June 1995 the club converted to a limited company, and a new board of directors set about improving matters. Former Wolves player Mike Bailey became manager in January 1996 but his tenure was short-lived and Keith Wenham took over at the start of the 1996-97 season. Wenham lead the Club to their most successful in recent years as they scored 116 goals and finished runners up to Collier Row & Romford to achieve promotion to Division One.

The Tanners finished in ninth place in Division One the following season but Keith Wenham was asked to stand down and former Leatherhead player Gary Richards became the Tanners manager. During the 1998-99 season Keith Wenham re-assumed first team control and the club escaped relegation on the penultimate game of the season. During the summer of 1999, former Millwall player Tommy Warrilow was appointed first team manager, with Gary Richards remaining at the club as his assistant.

Serious financial problems emerged at Fetcham Grove just before Christmas 1999. The Club survived that immediate crisis but it seemed that they were doomed in the summer of 2000 when a last ditch appeal to the local business community for sponsorship failed. It was then that the supporters of the Tanners stepped in to save their Club. The Fetcham Grove clubhouse was packed for an emotional meeting that kicked off a rescue plan. Financial ‘pledges and wedges’ together with great efforts from a small army of volunteers kept Leatherhead in existence, assisted by former Chairman David Zackheim's co-operation with the change of control to a new Board of Management.

Chick Botley took over as the manager a few weeks into the 2000-2001 season. Chick had to build a new team with little in the way of finances to work with and the Club was hit hard by bad flooding when the River Mole broke its banks on more than one occasion. Despite this the new manager built a competitive side that won him the Manager of the Month award for March 2001 but there was just too much ground to be made up to avoid relegation to Ryman League Division Two.

In the summer of 2001 summer former Watford, Leyton Orient and Exeter player Alex Inglethorpe joined Leatherhead as joint manager alongside Chick Botley. Inglethorpe, whose home town is Leatherhead and is a former Youth Team manager at Fetcham Grove, took sole charge of the Tanners team when Botley resigned. The Leatherhead player/ manager was top scorer in Division Two in 2001-2. 

At the start of 2004, Inglethorpe was offered a role as head of youth coaching at his old club Leyton Orient and eventually left for the new position in February. In October 2004, Alex took over as manager of Conference side Exeter City. 

Paul Harford continued as manager until October where he moved to explore other coaching opportunities.  Barry Barnes and Dave Harlow took aver as joint managers and quickly guided the team to 7th place, missing out on the play-offs only on goal difference.