Warrington Town F.C.
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)|
|Full name||Warrington Town Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||The Wire, The Yellows|
|Founded||1949 (as Stockton Heath Albion)|
|League||Northern Premier League
Division One North
|2013–14||Northern Premier League
Division One North, 3rd
Warrington Town F.C. are a football club based in Warrington, Cheshire, England. They were established in 1949 under the name of Stockton Heath Albion. In 1961, they changed to their present name. Warrington Town play their home games at Cantilever Park.
Formed in 1949, under the eye of their late president, Jimmy Drinkwater the club began life as Stockton Heath Albion and, after playing at a ground called London Road competed in the Warrington and District league until 1953, when a move to the Mid Cheshire League coincided with the appointment of Freddie Worrall as manager. During his thirteen years at the helm, Heath were one of the most feared sides in Cheshire football, winning a string of honours including the Mid Cheshire League Championship in 1960, the League Cup three times, and making the most appearances in the Cheshire Amateur Cup Final.
Several players from this successful period went on to join Football League clubs, including Ian Weir (Scotland & Hibernian), John Green (Tranmere Rovers, Blackpool, Port Vale), and Alan Foster (Crewe Alexandra). The most famous son must, however, be Roger Hunt who went on to score many memorable goals for Liverpool and gained the ultimate honour of winning a World Cup winners medal with England in 1966.
At the 1961 AGM, it was decided to change the club's name to Warrington Town, and in 1965, the club moved to their present home in Latchford. A neat, compact stadium with a capacity of around 3,500. The ground is on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in the shadow of the imposing Cantilever Bridge which dominates the area's skyline, and from which the ground takes its name.
The late sixties and early seventies were mostly spent in the doldrums, and the club continued without success until the formation of the North West Counties Football League in 1982 proved to be a springboard for them to start to move up the pyramid. Originally placed in the Third Division of the new league, Town immediately gained promotion as runners-up, and quickly established themselves as one of the division's most powerful clubs, missing out on promotion by a small margin on no fewer than three occasions.
1985–86 saw Town's first serious attempt at winning the FA Vase, but following a tremendous run, they bowed out to eventual winners Halesowen Town in an epic semi-final replay. Promotion to division one of the North West Counties Football League was achieved in 1986–87 and the club again excelled in the FA Vase, making it all the way to Wembley Stadium losing 3–2 to bitter rivals St Helens Town.
Promotion to the Northern Premier League was gained in 1989–90, but the club had very little success after that until 1992–93 when a fantastic FA Trophy run ended in the quarter-final at Sutton United, earning them a cool £5,000 for being the last non-exempt team left in the competition. On the away to Sutton United, Town had beaten Welsh Football Conference side Merthyr Tydfil, which earned them a 'team of the round' prize. In the Cheshire Senior Cup, they were victorious at Macclesfield Town and Hyde United on way to a semi-final place, while in the League Cup, they went one further becoming the first ever Division One side to reach the final. In front of a large crowd at Maine Road, Town matched Premier Division runners-up Winsford United all the way, but Winsford took the trophy home following a penalty shoot-out. To cap the club's most successful season ever, Neil Whalley equalised the NPL transfer fee record when he moved to Football League Third Division side Preston North End for a £25,000 and just a few weeks later Liam Watson shattered the fee record, also moving to Deepdale for a staggering £60,000. Town were named "Team Talk Magazine" team of the year 1992–93.
A high number of injuries together with problems behind the scenes and a disappointing lack of goals in 1993–94 hindered the team, although they reached the semi-final of the Cheshire Senior Cup, beating Football Conference side Witton Albion on the way, and were in with a chance of promotion until the last few weeks of the season.
1994–95 was another successful year for Town, who made it into the draw for the FA Cup first round proper for the first time ever, a last gasp equaliser at Hyde United forcing a replay, the winners of which would entertain Darlington. Town have still to play in the first round proper, as Hyde United won the replay. Town also took Chorley to a replay in the league cup, having beaten Barrow along the away, but once their interest in that competition was over the club, were able to focus on their main aim of the season promotion to the Premier Division. An amazing run where they won eleven of their last fifteen games was not quite good enough. Town finished in third place, missing out on promotion by just one point.
Major problems behind the scenes over the close season resulted in the management team and most of the players moving to Curzon Ashton, and a completely new-look Town side lined up to face Alfreton Town for the first game of the 1995–96 season. Town lost 5–1, but new boss Tommy Lawson turned things around, and by Christmas, Town were once more a match for anybody.
The close season 1996 saw yet another change of management as Tommy left for pastures new to be replaced by Alan Lord, unfortunately the partnership parted just before Christmas and Simon Rudge came back and brought Ray Birch as his assistant. The change came too late to save Town from relegation but the run did show some promise.
Financial problems both on and off the pitch beset Town in 1996–97 and a new committee was formed under chairman Harry Boden and Steve Jones. Relegation to Division One of the North West Counties League was followed by demotion on ground grading criteria to Division Two and a rationalisation of the club's finances coupled with the appointment of Dave Hughes as Football Manager and Ian Dick as his secretary has seen Town's image improve dramatically. In the 1998–99 season, teenage striker Damien Whitehead set a new club record of 52 goals in just 42 appearances, going on to sign for Football League Division Three side Macclesfield Town at the end of the season.
Ian had to return to Scotland, and Dave stepped down to assistant manager, with Alan Blair becoming manager. The 1999–2000 season saw Town win the Second Division Trophy beating Tetley Walker 2–0 at Prescot Cables. In 2000–01 Warrington won Division Two title to return to Division One, and with a lot of work going on at the ground Town progressed. Town finished 16th in their second season back in Division One and Alan Blair stepped down, Glenn Walker and Derek Brownbill took over and saw Town finish 5th in the league to gain promotion back into the Northern Premier League First Division after the league restructuring process had taken place.
Town's first season back in the Northern Premier League was something of a struggle but safety was guaranteed on the final day of the season with a 2–0 win over Shepshed Dynamo. The club also won the Northern Premier League Fair Play Award, picking up a prize of £1,000 in the process. Town also reached the semi-final of the Liverpool Senior Cup losing 3–2 to Everton.
In February 2008, Town secured the signing of giant Argentine Goalkeeper Diego Bassanini who helped the quickly improving team to 3 consecutive wins. Town ended the season ın 13th place ın the league. The average attendance for the season was 124 whıch was a 6% ıncrease on the previous season.
In November 2008 the club appointed a board of directors with the hope of steering the club towards its long term goal of achieving Football League status. The club became a Limited Company following over 18 months of hard work by the club and also launched a brand new mascot "The Legend".
In July 2009 the Warrington Town Supporters Club launched their very own website giving more news and views on the football club. The club also reported selling a record number of season tickets for the 2009–10 season.
At the start of the 2010–11 season, Town made history by playing against Chester FC in what was their first ever match, which attracted a record attendance at Cantilever Park of 1,500.
In 2011–12 season Warrington Town under 18's played their first season in the Premier Division of the North West Youth Alliance football league. The side finished fifth in the league, but won the Neil Thomason Cup (Premier Division Cup) beating FC United of Manchester 4–1 in the final. In the following season (2012–13) the Youth Team completed a League and Cup Double, winning the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division by a clear 9 points and defeating Morecambe Town Youth 3–1 in the Neil Thomason Cup.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- FA Vase Runners Up:
- North West Counties League Division One Champions:
- North West Counties League Division Two Champions:
- North West Counties League Division Two Trophy Winners:
- North West Counties League Cup Winners:
- North West Counties League Shield Winners:
- Mid-Cheshire League Champions:
- Mid-Cheshire League Cup Champions:
- 1953–54, 1954–55, 1955–56
- North West Counties Football League Reserves West Champions:
- Northern Combination Cup Winners:
- Altrincham Cup Winners:
- Runcorn Challenge Cup Winners:
- 1965–66, 1966–67, 1968–69
- Warrington Guardian Challenge Cup Winners:
- 1980–81, 1994–95
- Raab Karcher Cup Winners:
The club plays at Cantilever Park, which has a capacity of 3,500. It takes its name from the Cantilever Bridge, a high-level road bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal that towers over the ground to the east. The ground itself is on the northern bank of the canal. The record attendance was 4,000 for an FA Vase game.