Halesowen Town F.C.
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|Full name||Halesowen Town Football Club|
|League||Northern Premier League
|2013–14||Northern Premier League
Division One South, 1st (promoted)
Halesowen Town is an English association football club formed in 1873, that play in Halesowen and as of 2014 are playing in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. The team is nicknamed "The Yeltz".
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Halesowen Town FC was formed in 1873, making it one of the oldest clubs in the Midlands, and initially played in the Birmingham Combination. In 1946, it joined the Birmingham and District League and was champions in its very first season. The 1960s saw it consistently finish high in the league, but by contrast the 1970s saw it struggle, finishing bottom of the table twice.
In the 1980s there was a sudden reversal of the Yeltz' fortunes, with four successive championship titles between 1983 and 1986, as well as three appearances at Wembley Stadium in the final of the FA Vase. The 1983 final saw the club lose 1–0 to VS Rugby, but in 1985 it returned to Wembley and beat Fleetwood Town 3–1 to win the Vase, before retaining it the following year with a 3–0 win over Southall.
In 1986, the club's successes in the newly named West Midlands (Regional) League were rewarded with promotion to the Southern League, with promotion to the Premier Division following in 1988–89 when the club was crowned Midland Division champions.
The early 1990 were dominated by players leaving to join league clubs, including Dean Spink (Aston Villa), Stuart Cash (Nottingham Forest), Andy Pearce, Tim Clarke, Sean Flynn (all Coventry City) and Evran Wright (Walsall).
For its first eight seasons at this level Halesowen never finished outside the top 10, including being narrowly beaten to promotion by Rushden and Diamonds in 1996. Financial difficulties, however, led to a slump which culminated in relegation in 2001. Although Halesowen bounced back in style, winning the Western Division championship at a canter, the club was relegated once again in 2003. The club failed to return to tier two of the non-league pyramid the following season, finishing fourth and missing out on the new Conference North.
New manager Paul Holleran led the club to the FA Cup first round in 2005, losing out to Yeading in a closely fought contest, but the club failed to make any impact in league competitions in the next eighteen months and Holleran was dismissed.
The club appointed the former Walsall and Birmingham City captain Martin O'Connor as manager in late 2006. Halesowen came close to gaining promotion in 2006–07, losing to Hitchin Town in the last game of the season, which meant missing the playoffs.
In October 2007, the club was sold to an unidentified owner who brought in new manager Morell Maison. On October 18, former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson was appointed as a consultant to the new manager.
In autumn 2009, insolvency experts Marshman Price were appointed as the club's administrators. The team enjoyed a successful start to the 2009–10 season after receiving a 10 point deduction for entering administration. Brendan Phillips left the club and the club rose to fifth position by the turn of the new year but overall ended up in eighth place despite only losing 4 games all season.
The 2010–11 season started with Rob Elmes and former Luton Town forward Tony Thorpe being appointed joint managers, the side impressed with a string of decent results and England Schoolboy's Under 18's Manager Phil Nardiello was brought in as Technical Director to work alongside the managerial partnership. However, Elmes stepped down due to work commitments and Thorpe also decided to take a lower level of responsibility at the club by becoming an occasional coach resulting in Nardiello gaining full control of first team affairs.
Unfortunately for the new manager, the side saw several important regulars leave the club in quick succession including top goalscorer Stefan Moore and winger Daryl Taylor, this led to a run of nine consecutive defeats and Nardiello soon left the club by mutual consent.
Tony Thorpe returned to the club as Manager, bringing in former West Brom player Shaun Cunnington as his number two, results improved and fan-favourite Nick Bussey returned to the side in goal, however in the face of a relegation battle, Thorpe made the decision to step aside and allow Cunnington to take the helm. Shaun Cunnington appointed Paul Tomlinson as his assistant manager and made staying up his top priority.
|Location||Old Hawne Lane, Halesowen|
|Owner||The Grove Trust|
|Operator||The Grove Trust|
According to the club's records, it has played at The Grove since its formation in 1873. The ground was originally a cricket pitch and was therefore a three sided stadium. In the 1930s, a small wooden stand was constructed along the perimeter of the James Grove Button Factory (now housing).
During the 1950s, the Old Hawne Lane end was constructed along with changing rooms, built on the site of former tennis courts. During this time players had to change in the Waggon and Horses public house on Stourbridge Road.
In the 1980s, the three sided ground was converted to four with the addition of the uncovered terracing along the Recreation Park side of the ground. In 1987, the 420 seater Harry Rudge Stand was completed on the site of the 1930s vintage wooden cover, whilst at the same time the rest of the ground received a face lift. The stand was extended in 1998 and again in 2000.
The floodlights which the club won in 1983 lasted until 2001 when a new set were installed and officially inaugurated at a friendly match against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The stadium contain one sitting stand, named the Harry Rudge stand. There is one other stand that has a roof and that is the "shed end" where the die hard Halesowen Town supporters reside. The other two sides of the gorund house sloped terraces which curve all the way around.
Supporters and rivalries
Halesowen Town's fanbase is largely based around the West Midlands. Stourbridge are the club's fiercest rivals.
- Best league performance: 2nd in Southern League Premier Division (then Level 6), 1995–96
- Best FA Cup performance: 1st round on nine occasions
- Best FA Trophy performance: 3rd round, 1994–95, 1999–2000, 2002–03
- Best FA Vase performance: Winners, 1984–85, 1985–86
- Best Worcestershire Senior Cup performance: Winners 1951–52, 1961–62, 2001–02, 2003–04
- Best Birmingham Senior Cup performance: Winners, 1983–84, 1997–98
- Best Staffordshire Senior Cup performance: Winners, 1988–89
- As of 17 November 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.