Deeping Rangers are looking to celebrate their golden anniversary season in style.
The club were formed in 1966 – two years earlier as a Sunday League team – and tasted glory in their opening campaign by winning the Peterborough and District League Division Three (North) title and the PFA Minor Cup.
Maxey Road was their home until 1982 when they moved to the Deepings Leisure Centre and from 1985 the club have been based at Outgang Road along with the cricket and tennis clubs.
Deeping were crowned Division Two champions of the Peterborough and District League in 1968/69 and followed this success with the Division One title the year after.
In 1995/96 Deeping were runners-up in the Peterborough and District Premier Division, a feat they repeated in 1998/99, under the management of Mel Landin, this time to earn their historic promotion to the United Counties League Division One.
In the summer of 1999, Landin set his sights on a mid-table finish.
He told the Free Press: “We feel quietly optimistic. It’s going to be a learning process for us.”
By the end of August they were on top of the table but, in their first season in UCL Division One, they finished third – missing promotion in the final game of the season, five minutes into injury-time.
Chris Beckett took over as manager for the 2000/01 season and Rangers were Division One runners up – losing out on goal-difference but winning promotion to the Premier Division. After some major fundraising, floodlights were installed and in their first top-flight season Rangers finished 10th.
The 2001/02 saw Deeping’s first entry into the FA Vase (a 3-2 defeat at Gedling) and 2002/03 brought their first FA Cup match, losing 1-0 at King’s Lynn in the final minute. The first home FA Cup match was against Eastwood Town in September 2003, losing the replay 2-1.
The 2006/07 campaign under new manager Tuncay Korkmaz, joined by Dave Simpson, was a new high. The side went 29 league games without defeat from the start of the season – a league record – and they were crowned Premier Division champions for the first time.
Under the headline ‘Zeros to heroes in 12 months’, the Free Press reflected on Deeping’s ‘stunning transformation’ after they needed to win the final game of the previous term to avoid relegation.
Korkmaz said: “To become champions has not been about 11 players or even a squad.
“There have been many people at the club involved, all putting in a lot of hard work.
“We won six games over the Christmas and New Year period and that was the time I felt we had the strength in the squad to do it but it wasn’t until we beat Boston that I thought we would.”
The only member of the title-winning squad over the age of 25 was Michael Goode who replaced Korkmaz this summer at the end of his second spell.