The name Wilderpark came about in a name change from Sevenoaks Post Office FC following dwindling interest within the latter.
Sevenoaks Post Office FC was formed in 1953 as a result of growing interest within Sports Club members to play competitive League football. Amongst others, Bill Hodge and Roger Leavens were to the fore in the formation of the football club and backed up by the Sports Club.
The Club were duly elected as members of the Sevenoaks and District Football League in the summer of 1953 and commenced playing in Division Three for the 1953/54 season with an opening home match at Greatness Park on Saturday 12 September 1953. The postal boys won 3-2.
The line-up on this important day in the Club’s history included Roger Leavens, Gerry Betts, Pete Hider, W (Bill) Tither, Ted Acott, Ron James, Wilf Bennett, George Williams, Norman Walkling, Alec Cobb and Ian Carrington.
The season went well as the Post Office won the Smiths Charity Junior Cup defeating unbeaten Seal at Greatness Park 3-2.
League records read P18 W7 D5 L6.
There were a number of interesting and exciting matches particularly cup ties. In the First Round of the Smiths Charity Junior Cup extra time was needed to see-off the challenge of Offham before winning 4-3. Next up were Dunton Green Reserves who were dispatched 3-0 before the history making final tie against Seal on Saturday 30 January 1954.
In the Kent Junior Cup three matches were required before the Postmen finally defeated Shoreham United 3-0 away. The two earlier ties were each abandoned in extra time (presumably due to bad light) with the scores level at one apiece.
Another interesting piece of history was that our current Secretary (2017) Derek Hodge played his first game for the club on Saturday 6 February 1954 in a drawn game against Stone Street at Greatness Park aged 15 years.
In season 1954/55 the club again reached the Smiths Charity Junior Cup final, this time defeating Dunton Green Reserves 4-0 at Greatness Park. The following year 1955/56 the Postmen were back to the final stage on a hat trick but after recording a 2-2 draw against Kemsing United at Knole Paddock lost 3-1 in the replay.
The club continued to play at Greatness Park as their home ground for another couple of years, before the Sevenoaks Urban District Council decided to invite us to play at Rayleys Field, Knole Paddock with Sevenoaks United taking over at Greatness Park.
In between this time we had a season playing at Hollybush Lane. We have now enjoyed playing at Raleys Field for almost 60 years.
As the interest in the Sevenoaks Post Office FC began to dwindle and with a number of youngsters now coming into the team it was decided to change the name of the club in an effort to attract new players. A number of youngsters were attending Wildernesse School at the time which included Julian Lee, Nigel Barnett, Steve Beaumont, Peter and Tony Ellis and with playing on the edge of Knole Park the name Wilderpark was created.
The rest is history, as they say. Over the years, like all clubs we have had our ups and downs but we have survived and are proud of the fact that we are the longest serving independent club in the League.
We have won League Championships, Smiths Charity/League Cups, Fisher Shield’s and have been losing cup semi-finalists many times together with a spell in the former Kent Amateur League during the late 1970’s. Our leading club goal scorer remains Anthony Butler who scored 52 goals in season 1987/88. The all time individual scoring record is held by Derek Hodge who netted 9 goals against Halstead United Reserves on 5 January 1957 at Hollybush Lane.
Wilderpark have been fortunate to have had settled teams over the years, periods which have lasted for a decade or so such as the Wildernesse boys, the Eastenders, the ‘Hood’ schoolboys and more recently ex Leaves Green footballers.
Long serving players have included Peter Shaw (22) Howard Kingsnorth (25), John Branton (23) Leon Terry (Lloyd) (20) and a host of players who have given 15-18 years loyal service.
During the past 15 years we have had the benefit of the ex Leaves Green boys such as Danny Thomas, Nicky Palmer, Mark Taylor, Paul and Steve Burgess, Gary Britton, Dave Hobby, Neil Cutts, the late Will Davies and others who have all been friends, excellent team mates and who compliment each other on the social side as well.
It would be remiss not to mention some of the Team Managers who have played important roles over the years. Roger Leavens, who was not only a highly competent goalkeeper playing from 1953-1966, captain, hard working as Secretary, Team Manager and President, Ray Barrett, Peter Rushbook, John Lusher, Chas Goold and Brian Carter
Our Club sponsor has been and still is DPT Contractors under the banner of Danny Thomas.