History of the Club

Andover Athletic Club was founded in 1950’s and was very successful, producing some exceptional athletes.

The following is taken from the Andover Advertiser of 31st August, 2012 within an article “Looking Back……1956″

Athletics also made a start that year as former Salisbury Athletic Club captain Cliff Bulpitt announced that he wanted to form Andover Amateur Athletics Club.  Based at Batchelors Barn Road, Cliff trained children the year before at Kellys ground including 16-year-old David Webb from Little Park, the Wiltshire Cross Country Champion.  He called a public meeting in February and 250 attended at the Old People’s Club in Suffolk Road.  A week later, on February 12, the club was formed and the Borough Council stated that they would help with the new sports field off Vigo Road which would have a grass running track and would be an extension of London Road ground.

There were 80 athletes and 50 volunteers including young Webb who won the cross country at Parliament Fields from 250 starters.  

 Article from Andover Advertiser of 22nd March, 2013 “Nostalgia – A Look Back to 1959″:

The outdoor season began with Andover Athletics Club ladies winning the Chamber of Commerce Trophy at the Basingstoke AC meeting at Queen Mary School.

The full side finished third.

Later that summer the club lost talented runner David Webb, who emigrated to Australia having won both Hampshire and Wiltshire titles while Ruth Reynolds was county mile champion in a time of 6min.06secs.

Later that summer Andover AC held a top class meeting billed as the biggest ever in the town.

More that 400 athletes from Aldershot, Salisbury, Portsmouth and Southampton competed with two trophies on offer.

One of the top names was three mile champion Bruce Tulloh, ran in bare feet.

Martin Hyman was the six mile champion at the meeting held at the Motordrome in Weyhill Road, now covered by houses.

It was the only field big enough to cop0e with a 440 yard track and spectators.

But it proved a huge disappointment for coach Cliff Bulpitt, who announced that it was the first meeting and could well be the last.

The intternational athletics meet between GB and Poland on the television was cited as the main reason for the poor attendance.

The club ceased to operate in the early 1960’s.

Andover Athletic Club was reformed during the season 1964-65 after a successful period in the 1950’s. Training from various sports field and the roads around Barlows Lane the club’s young athletes, lead by Phil Banning under the watchful eye of coach John Mullen, soon became highly respected across the south of England.

District, County and Regional honours quickly followed with gold and silver medal positionssecured at National cross country competitions from Phil Banning and Andy Barnett in the first five years after the club was formed.

The club’s headquarters established itself at the former civil defence ‘bunker’ next to theWalled Meadow/Swimming Pool/Fire Station in London Road.

John Mullen was the inspiration for the club and was succeeded by Martin Hedges before his emigration to Australia. Ian Oldacre became the club’s first AAA qualified coach in 1972 and he has been succeeded by a host of excellent coaches.

After being rejected for a running track in the 1970’s because the town was too small, the club moved to its Charlton site in 1983 after much fundraising. This was long before any track, pavilion or car park was in place. With no electricity, a portable generator was the first thing to be attended to when opening the doors for the members each training session during the winter months. In summer the lighting was fine as the building at that time had windows and skylights.

The days of uneven grass or cinder running tracks were finally over with the advent of a purpose built all weather running track and field facility.

Key achievements.
Andy Barnett ,13, set the fastest mile time in the world for his age 1969.
Rosalind Few ,14, secured second place in the UK high jump rankings in 1969
John Mullen, coach, voted Andover’s outstanding sportsman of the decade
Phil Banning British Junior Athlete of the Year for 1970
Andy Barnett, 14, World Age Record 1500mts 1970
Phil Banning U19 1500mts AAA record 1970 and Olympic hopeful
Rosalind Few becomes British No 1 Indoor high jumper 1971 and Olympic hopeful
David Martin, 16, runs 3000mts in the Rome All European RC Championships 1972
Rosalind Few selected for Munich Olympics High Jump 1972
Phil Banning selected for World Student Games in Moscow 1973
Paul Thomas sets new record to win National Association of Boys’ Clubs 800mts title 1973
Chris Wake, 11, World Age Record 1500mts 1974
Phil Banning selected for Commonwealth Games in Christchurch NZ 1974
Phil went on to become National Athletics Coach for Wales