In 1929 the Headmaster of Farnborough Boys School, Mr Alfred Boots, formed a youth club for the old boys of the school. To avoid confusion with Farnborough Ex-Service and Old Boys Club, the new venture was named Old Boys Guild.
When the Guild was first formed, its chief activities were boxing, table tennis and less energetic indoor sports, with athletics in the summer and an occasional friendly game of football in the winter. The Football Section was formed in 1932.
Stan Cole was more or less ordered to take over secretarial duties and as the order was never rescinded, he continued in that capacity until he fell ill in 1968, when the then assistant secretary, Vic Goddard, took on his duties. Qualification to play in the team required that the player had attended Farnborough School and must be below the age of sixteen when the club was formed in 1929. This rule was strictly adhered to the outbreak of war and in the first few seasons it must have made the Guild the most exclusive football club numerically in the country.
As all the Guild members were of military age, the outbreak of war saw many of them called up within a few months and suspension of the club's activities automatically followed. Several players lost their lives. In 1946 the club reformed and membership was extended to past and present residents of Farnborough. Membership since the 1970's has been more flexible with a more "open" club, but the majority of players still come within a ten mile radius of Farnborough.
We moved to our new ground in Farnborough High Street in 1978, but found a large seam of clay running through the middle of the pitch. Much drainage work has been carried out over the last forty years and the playing surfaces are much improved.
The move marked an upturn in fortunes on the pitch. We won our first trophy for forty years, the Kent Junior Cup, in 1978-79 and completed the South London Alliance double of Division Two title and Elizabeth Jaques Cup the following year.
By far our greatest achievement as a club was the building of the clubhouse. planning permission was obtained in 1984, building started in 1985 under the guidance of Dave Edwards and was completed early in 1986, with much of the work done by club members. In 1997 the clubhouse was enlarged, again with the help of club members.
In 1982 we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a reunion dinner at the West Kent Golf Club and our 75th in 2007 by holding a 5-a-side tournament during the day followed by an open evening and buffet. The Guild's biggest asset is its loyalty, with many of its members having over 25 years' service – a few are still playing!
Trophies have continued to be won; the First XI (Saturday) have picked up the Elizabeth Jaques Cup a second time, the South London Alliance Queen Mary Cup, two Sevenoaks Charity Cups, and league honours with the Kent County League: Division 3 West, Division 2 West and (twice) Division 1 West championships. The First XI (Sunday) won the OBDSFL Senior Division title and Paul Picard Cup.
We have run youth and academy teams in recent years; at the other end of the scale, we have two veterans teams on Sundays.
The club was awarded FA Charter Standard Adult Club status in 2009, recognition of the club’s organisation and benefit to the local community, further illustrated in 2013 when it entered into an arrangement to host a new nursery school.
As a result of winning a place in the Kent County League Premier Division in 2016, a major refurbishment to the dressing rooms and shower area was required, including a new boiler and heating system. This was financed through a very successful public appeal and the generosity of the club's main sponsor from 2016, A.C. Wilgar Plumbing and Heating. Separate to the building work, simultaneous renovation of the club's top pitch took place, carried out by Bourne Amenity and funded by a grant from Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust. The story is documented here.
The Guild owes much to past presidents of the club Bill Doole and Hugh Baldock, who both worked extremely hard and contributed much to the planning and building of the new clubhouse. Unfortunately, neither saw the fruition of their work. Tony Jordan, a Guild member since 1948, carried on the good works of his predecessors. The current President Ian Couchman still claims to be a playing member!
During the Guild’s 80+ years it has only had four club secretaries, the much respected Stan Cole who was secretary for 36 years, Vic Goddard for two years, then Bunny Beston took on the duties for nine years, and then Vic Farrow, who was secretary from 1979 until his death in 2013. Vic’s passion was FOBG but he also found time to serve on league committees and was honoured by the London Borough of Bromley in 2010. Since Vic's passing, running the club has been a real team effort, secretarial duties being taken on largely by Ian Couchman, with support from the committee.
The club's Chairmen have also given great support; Hugh Baldock, Phil Grainger and then Vic Goddard from 1981 until 1996, Glyn Farrell from 1996 to 2004 and the present incumbent, Steve Viner.
Over the years the Guild has become more than a football club, it has become an institution in Farnborough and it has certainly proved that it loves the game beyond the prize.
Honours Board (excluding runners-up awards)
First XI (Saturday)
|1932-33||Bromley & District League||Division 3 Champions|
|1933-34||Bromley & District League||Division 2 Champions|
|1933-34||Bromley & District League||Bromley Knock-Out Cup Winners|
|1937-38||South London Alliance||Division 2 Champions|
|1978-79||Kent County FA||Kent Junior Cup Group C Winners|
|1979-80||South London Alliance||Division 2 Champions|
|1979-80||South London Alliance||Elizabeth Jaques Cup Winners|
|1980-81||South London Alliance||Division 1 Champions|
|1991-92||South London Alliance||Elizabeth Jaques Cup Winners|
|2001-02||Kent County League||Division 3 West Champions|
|2004-05||Sevenoaks Charity Cups||Senior Section Winners|
|2007-08||Kent County League||Division 2 West Champions|
|2007-08||Sevenoaks Charity Cups||Senior Section Winners|
|2010-11||Kent County League||Division 1 West Champions|
|2015-16||Kent County League||Division 1 West Champions|
|1990-91||South London Alliance||Division 3 Champions|
|1991-92||South London Alliance||Division 3 Champions|
|2000-01||South London Alliance||Division 1 Champions|
|2009-10||South London Alliance||Queen Mary Cup Winners|
|1992-93||South London Alliance||Division 4 Champions|
|1999-2000||Bromley & District League||Henry Bullock Cup Winners|
|2010-11||Bromley & District League||Tom Cooper Cup Winners|
First XI (Sunday)
|1989-90||OBDSFL||Fairweather Trophy Winners|
|1999-2000||OBDSFL||Division 1 Champions|
|1999-2000||OBDSFL||Paul Picard Cup Winners|
|2002-03||OBDSFL||Senior Division Champions|
|2009-10||OBDSFL||Division 1 Champions|
|2006-07||Tandridge League||Division 15B Champions|
|2010-11||Kent Schools FA||Under 17 White Cup (shared)|