Top row: Andres Senior (Manager) Matt O'Brien, William Cridge, Kirk Palmer, Danny Mayo, George Swain, Nathan Hayes, Kiran Kellman, Keiron Hinde, Shane Bisseker, Front Row: Ben Swain, Ryan Martin, Gareth Bolton, Micah Lyons, Chris Price, Simeon Ellis, Nathan Pugh, Adrian Sidaway, Chris Cadman.
Woodgate Valley Country Park, Clapgate Lane, Birmingham. B32 3DS.
Black/White - Black - Black
Player of the Year:
2014/15 Chris Price
2013/14 Michael Knowles
2011/12 Stephen Asante-Boakye
2014/15 Chris Price (25)
2013/14 Chris Price (21)
2012 Ian Willets, Rob Campbell and Joe Haydon (4)
The Maple Leaf Rovers football team started as the brainchild of the legendary Andy Kirkham, way back in the 1994/95 season, as a works/friends-based club playing in the lower echelons of the Walsall & District Football League - on Sunday mornings. The name 'Maple Leaf Rovers' is taken from from the location of the companies that Andy and some of the original players worked at - the Maple Leaf Industrial Estate, in Walsall - in the West Midlands.
Maple's home pitch back then was at Aldridge Airport in Walsall - scene of many a windswept game, and many, many memorable moments. In Maple's fledgling seasons the squad also consisted of several players from Andy's cricket team - mainly as a way to stay fit through cricket's close season, and also to socialise together, along with some friends who met up at St Andrews to watch Birmingham City play.
The team in those early halcyon days consisted of the likes of Andy, Ste, Simon, Justin, Gary, Dave, Conrad, Shaun, Mark and his mate Mark, Tony, Jason, Andy and Alex P, Nigel and Andy A - all playing in a rather 'fitting' red home shirt with black pinstripes on it, or in a very, very purple away kit!
However, over the years players gradually retired from playing football, and the club became in need of a fresh influx of players to bolster it's numbers. Club stalwarts Tony Parkes and Jason Sadler introduced some of their fellow Halesowen-based friends into the Maple fold, and over time it is these Halesowen-based players - ie Shing, Glover, Ade, Deano, Tony R, Eddie, Mitch, Phil, Gaz, Matt, Ste & Sag - that have become the nucleus of the Maple Leaf Rovers club, as it is today - give or take a few retirements due to injury/age.
Season 2002/03 saw Maple Leaf start to play in the lower divisions of the Birmingham and District Amateur Football Association League, on Saturday afternoons. The idea behind the switch from a Sunday morning league to a Saturday afternoon one is to play in a more locally based league, and that Maple Leaf would have more players available to them to select from.
Maple's 10th season saw the final appearances of club stalwart Andy Kirkham. Over the years Andy filled the player, player/manager, manager, secretary, treasurer and chairman positions and obviously founded the club too. Many, many heartfelt thanks go to Andy and his family for all the time, energy and commitment that he gave to the players and the club itself. His presence is sorely missed.
As well as Andy, other managers from Maple Leaf's history include Tony Parkes, Jason Sadler, Adrian Lewis & Chris Shingles (joint), Stephen Asante-Boakye, and Paul Homer. On the whole, Maple teams have consisted of a group of tight-knit friends - even to the point of spurning 'better quality' players who did not fit in with the friendly ethos of the club. Though, as the majority of the current crop of players surpass the 30 year old mark - starting families, resting aching joints & limbs, and demands of work take precedent over football - it is pleasing to see that Maple Leaf still remains a club of mates.
Various home pitches have been used whilst in the B'ham AFA Leagues - Woodgate Valley Park, Britannia Park, Cakemore Road playing fields, Barnford Park playing fields, Warley Rugby Club, and currently - Lion Farm Playing Fields in Oldbury.
2008 and 2010 saw many players from Maple Leaf's illustrious past dust themselves down and take to the pitch again, to play in a coule of friendly matches played between the 'Maple Old Boys' - aka 'Legends' and the 'Current Maple Squad'. These games was staged as a way of saying thank you to Maple's past players for all their efforts in the past in helping the club what it is today - as well as giving everyone the chance of playing a match at a 'proper' football ground - Bromsgrove Rovers FC's stadium (The Victoria Ground) in 2008, and Redditch United FC's stadium (The Valley) in 2010 - for more details on these matches please go to Legends Match sections of this blog.
Maple will no doubt be trying to get back to their best for the 2010/11 season - now managed by Andres Senior - but most importantly, will still be enjoying playing their football.