League History

The Devon County League was founded in 1992 after many years of negotiating and planning. The Devon County FA had been heavily involved in getting the League started but the inaugural AGM held in June 1992 set the League up as an Independent body. Brian Williams who was also Chairman of the County FA took the Chair as the League started with Bill Smale as Vice Chairman. The first League Secretary was Roger Lowe who had previously been Secretary of the South Western League. Referees Appointments were done by Martin Taylor who subsequently moved up the Pyramid to be the Western League Appointments Secretary. The Treasurer Barry Widdicombe is the only Officer to have been in at the start and still with us today. The late Roy Mann as Press Officer completed the line up.

The League was sponsored by Westward Developments of Totnes and Swift Contract Phones from its inception until 2002 when Firewatch South West Ltd took over until 2005, the current Sponsors, Axworthys’ office supplies started their sponsorship ready for the 05/06 season. The very first match in August 1992 was played at Willand Rovers as Newton Abbot won 1-0 with Mike Harvey netting the first ever goal in front of Chief Guest Sir Bert Millichip, the then Chairman of the Football Association.

Buckfastleigh Rangers Won the first Championship with Newton Abbot Winning the League Cup which was then sponsored by “Bass”, Carl Throgmorton sponsored the Cup from 1995 onwards. In 1994 Bill Smale took over as League Chairman and Ottery St Mary became the first side to join the League after being relegated from the Western League. In 1995 Lee Hayward became Vice Chairman, Philip Hiscox moved from the East Devon Cups to be the League Secretary and the League grew to 20 clubs with Dartmouth, Budleigh and Plymouth Command all joining. In 1996 Adrian Codling took over as Referees Secretary and Mike Sampson as Press Officer and Chagford became the first side to be relegated, Appledore and Newton Abbot Spurs both joined as the League started its 3 year association with the Ground-Hop.

1998 saw David Moore take on the Chairmans duty with Steve Ware as Vice Chairman and the League was joined by Crediton United as Plymouth Parkway left for the South Western League. 1999 saw Heavitree United and Exeter Civil Service both join as Teignmouth and Plymouth Command were relegated, Nigel Gooding took over as Refs Secretary and we launched the Manager of the Month Awards.

2000 saw the Leagues Benevolent Fund started and was soon registered as a Charity, Newton St Cyres were Relegated as Buckland Athletic joined and Steve Ware moved up to Chairman. 2001 saw Willand Rovers become the first club to gain promotion to the Western League and there place was taken by Dartington Sports Club, who later became Totnes & Dartington, from the South Devon League.

The 2001/02 Season was our 10th and was celebrated with a Sportmans Dinner with Peter Shilton OBE MBE as Chief Guest. Dartmouth were league Champions with a then record points tally. Buckfastleigh Rangers who had been the very first Champions were relegated to the South Devon League as the League Welcomed the University of Exeter ready for the 2002/03 Season. Dartmouth became the first side to retain the Championship & the League purchased new Trophy’s for the League Champions & Runners Up. The 2003/04 season saw Holsworthy transfer over from the South Western League, making an immediate impact by winning the Championship. Dartington gained their first league honours by winning the Throgmorton Cup and Mark Hayman became the Leagues Vice Chairman.

21 clubs were in action in 2004/05 after St Loyes joinied as Champions of the Devon & Exeter League and Teignmouth returning to the fold after Winning the South Devon League Title. Heavitree United and Topsham Town were both been relegated to the Devon & Exeter League. Again we saw a new name on the Championship trophy as Teignmouth won the Title with a record points tally, Dartington retained the Throgmorton Cup and at the end of the season we reduced back to 20 clubs after Exeter Civil Service were relegated.

The 2005/06 Season was the year that we learnt our fate under the Football Association Re-structure, a merger with the South Western League from 2007 but also an opportunity for our best clubs to be promoted upto Step 6 of the Pyramid. On the pitch Ivybridge Town produced a clean sweep of both the League title, by a record breaking 20 point margin, and retaining the Devon Premier Cup, a semi final defeat in the Throgmorton Cup to eventual winners Plymstock United ended their chance of the elusive “treble”. At the foot of the table St Loyes were Relegated to the Devon & Exeter League from where new comers Witheridge were promoted.