In the immediate post-war years GCHQ, then part of the Foreign Office, was located at Eastcote in Middlesex. In 1948 GCHQ decided to form a football team, playing under the name of FOSA – Foreign Office Sports Association. Home matches were played at the Foreign Office Sports Club ‘Swakeleys’ in Ickenham and the team competed in the Harrow, Wembley & District League. A second XI was formed in 1950.
The team fared moderately and after three seasons in Divisions 2 & 3 they switched to play in the Civil Service League, which covered all of London. Beginning in Division 4, the club won the title at its first attempt in 1951/2 and were promoted straight to Division 2. The Second XI was entered into Division 5.
In 1953 GCHQ moved to Cheltenham, bringing the entire committee and more than half the players. Now known as GCHQ, the club entered a team in the Cheltenham League and played its home matches at Swindon Village. The current Tewkesbury Road ground became available in 1954/5 and GCHQ won Division 3 of the Cheltenham League in 1955/6. Together with other sports activities, the change of name to Cheltenham Civil Service was made in 1957/8 to reflect the inclusion of other government departments in the area. The club has been represented in the Cheltenham League at Tewkesbury Road ever since, although successes have been few and far between until recently.
The facilities at Tewkesbury Road have been developed significantly to include a modern clubhouse and floodlit all-weather 7-a-side pitch. A 3rd XI was added in the 1970s and a 4th XI in the 1990s, as well as a Women’s team and a handful of youth teams. The club now recruits players from all areas, but about 10% of the membership are still civil servants.
A big breakthrough for the club occurred in 1995/6 when the 1st XI won the Cheltenham League for the first time in its history and was promoted to the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division 2. The team immediately won promotion to Division 1, before being relegated in 1999/0.
The club again won promotion the following season and enjoyed several years in the top tier before relegation in 2009/0. However, the club made another quick return, winning the Division 2 title two years later and scoring the most goals in the GNSL in the process.
The 1st XI finished 2nd in 2012/3 in the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League and again in 2013/14 securing promotion to the Gloucestershire County League, the highest standard ever reached by the club. The season was also capped off by winning the Gloucestershire Senior Amateur County Cup for the first time in the history of the club. The season also saw a huge step forward for the Women’s team who progressed from the Gloucestershire County League to the South West Women’s Football League.
In 2014/15, the Club’s inaugural season in the County League, the 1st XI overcame all expectations by finishing as runaway winners, leading from start to finish, as well as finishing as runners-up in the League Cup.
The next few years saw the club go through a difficult period when they lost not only the manager but most of the team that won the County League because our facilities were not up to standard for the next level. This accumulated in the 1st team folding in 2016/17 leaving the club with three sides in the Cheltenham League.
Season 2017/18 saw the clubs resurgence and had one of the most successful seasons in their history. The first team won the treble of Cheltenham Division 1, and therefore promotion back to the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League, Cheltenham Senior Charities Cup and Gloucestershire Junior County Cup. The Reserves took the Cheltenham Division 2 title, reached the semi-final of the Gloucestershire Intermediate County Cup and were runners up in the Cheltenham Minor Charity Cup and the third team were runners up in the Gloucestershire Minor County Cup and won the Cheltenham Primary Charity Trophy and finally the Ladies side reached the semi-final of the Gloucestershire Womens Trophy.