ARELEY Kings FC had a day to remember as the club kicked off their 40th anniversary celebrations on Saturday.

A commemorative game between the club’s original under-14s side and the current generation ended in an entertaining 1-0 win for the founding fathers.

The original members dusted down their boots in preparation for this milestone game and from the whistle it was clear that both teams took the match seriously with some great pace and passing from the current under-14s.

However, the 1974 boys showed that they had not lost the passion for the game and experience proved the better, just before the break Paul Bingham broke down the left to put the class 74 1-0 up.

The second half saw both sides pressing hard with some near misses for the youngsters but they just couldn’t find the back of the net.

The six team round robin tournament followed with some excellent football played, the Areley Kings Sunday Men’s team eventually lifting the 40th anniversary shield.

Such was the success that the club intends to run the Shield annually.

Areley have come a long way since over the last four decades.

Orginally starting as a cub scout pack from Areley in 1973, they played local sides at the village playing fields.

A year later the group decided to take it a step further and form the club, which was affiliated to the Stourport and District Youth League.

By 1978 the trustees had raised enough funds and remortgaged their homes to buy land on Minster Road and find Kings a permanent base.

Kings introduced adult sides in the early 1980s and a ‘football for all’ policy allowed junior players to develop and eventually earn the club the FA Charter Standard in 2008.

The club reached another milestone in 2012 as they raised enough funds, along with a grant from the Football Foundation and help from local businesses, to replace the wooden club house with a purpose built facility.

Now a registered charity, Areley have a thriving mini-kickers soccer school, nine youth teams and three adult sides, with almost 200 registered players.

They rent out spare pitch capacity to other local teams and have started a new girls team for next season.

The youth section still encourages new teams to come through from the mini-kickers and to support and stretch the adult teams.