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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Downes Sports FC

Leicester Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire
Telephone: 01455 615062 
Nickname: The Builders
Leicestershire Senior League
Website: None

Note Downes Sports FC was originally formed in 1971 with its name originating from the largest building company in the town F.E Downes and Sons (hence the club nickname. They have also been known as ‘The Tangerine Dream’, although the German electronic group of the same name may have something to say about that!)

The club’s recent history, and particularly that of where it has played, has been inexorably linked with the formation of Hinckley United FC in June 1997, following the amalgamation of Hinckley Athletic FC and Hinckley Town FC.

Athletic’s Middlefield Lane ground was chosen as home for the newly formed club. Meanwhile, Town’s old home in Leicester Road became the training ground for the new United, with Downes Sports also moving in from their ground, which was literally next door. The photograph below clearly shows the club name hanging tentatively from the tangerine-painted rear of the stand).

The sale of the aging and rather decrepit Middlefield Lane ground for £3.5 million enabled Hinckley United to build a new stadium in Leicester Road, adjacent to the old Town ground, with the first game being played in 5 March 2005. The move saw Hinckley Town’s old ground become United’s Reserve venue (hence the red & blue colours and United’s name on the fascia), with Downes Sports moving back to their old home next door. In season 2005/06 however, Downes did play a number of games on the old Town pitch after the Hinckley’s reserves vacated the ground due to the clubhouse being condemned, with only the changing rooms useable. A permanent move back appears likely but no doubt there will be more twists and turns to follow!. DB

Below: Stand at the original Downes Sports’ ground