Gresley F.C.

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Gresley
Gresley F.C. Badge
Full name Gresley Football Club
Nickname(s) The Moatmen
Founded 1882 (as Gresley Rovers)
Ground Moat Ground, Church Gresley
Ground Capacity 2,400
Manager Gary Norton
League Northern Premier League Division One East
2017–18 Northern Premier League Division One South, 17th of 22

Gresley Football Club are an English football club from Church Gresley, near Swadlincote, Derbyshire. Gresley play in the Northern Premier League Division One South, playing their home games at the Moat Ground. They were known as Gresley Rovers until 2009, when they were reformed under their current name.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Gresley Rovers were formed in 1882 in the small mining village of Church Gresley, near to Swadlincote, Derbyshire. The club's first ground was at Mushroom Lane in Albert Village a mile or so from Church Gresley. Gresley played only friendlies and cup games before joining the Burton Junior League for the 1892–93 season, winning their first title in 1894–95. Rovers acquired a new home, the Church Street Ground, in time for the 1895–96 season. Despite the ground's lack of facilities (the teams changed at the nearby Boot Hotel) the club were accepted into the Midland League for the 1903–04 season where they struggled for three seasons, to the local league in 1905. At the end of the 1907–08 season the Church Street Ground was required for building, so the club moved across the road onto the newly acquired Moat Ground, where Gresley continue to play to the present.

Moving up[edit]

Rovers stepped up a couple of grades to join the Central Alliance and then moved up again as they joined the powerful Birmingham Combination in 1925. However, despite reaching the First Round Proper of the FA Cup in 1930–31, they experienced financial difficulties and these forced them to leave the Birmingham Combination and join the more local Central Alliance in 1933.

A couple of seasons later they moved to the Leicestershire Senior League and enjoyed success in the immediate post-war years as they won the title in 1946–47 and 1947–48 and were runners-up in 1948–49. At the start of the '50s the club made the decision to join the Central Alliance. However, on this occasion, their stay in that League was only brief and they joined the Birmingham & District League in 1954–55. They then rejoined the Central Alliance in 1959–60 and stayed in that League until 1974–75 during which time the League changed its title to the East Midlands Regional League.

Glory years[edit]

Gresley dominated that League and in the fourteen seasons from 1961 to 1975 the lowest they finished was in fifth place as they won the title on four occasions, finished runners-up on four occasions, ended in third place on three occasions, fourth on two occasions and fifth only once. At the start of the 1975–76, they moved to the West Midlands (Regional) League, which was a much stronger League, and in the early years they always ended in the lower regions of the table. However, after much hard work off the field, runners-up spot was achieved in 1985–86 and the following six seasons saw Gresley finish 4th, 4th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st and 1st. During that period they also won the Derbyshire Senior Cup on four successive occasions. Season 1990–91 was a particularly good one for Gresley

FA Vase finalists[edit]

In addition to the league title and the Derbyshire Senior Cup win they also reached the final of the FA Vase and so had the honour of playing at Wembley. Their opponents were Guiseley and some national newspapers reported it as 'the most exciting Wembley Cup Final ever'. When one looks at the goals' sequence one can see how the game earned that accolade: After 31 minutes the score was Guiseley 3–0 Gresley, but Gresley came back and grabbed a very dramatic equaliser in injury time at the end of the ninety minutes. Then in extra time Gresley went 4–3 in front but this time Guiseley scored a very dramatic equaliser as they levelled things in injury time at the end of the second half of extra time.

The replay at Bramall Lane saw Gresley lose by 3–1. However, despite that tremendous season their application to join the Southern League was not successful but they battled on to win the league again the following season. This time their application to the Southern League was successful and they were placed in the Midland Division for the 1992–93 season.

Disappointment and success[edit]

That 1993–94 season had some disappointment for Gresley as they lost in the semi-final of the FA Vase and so narrowly missed another trip to Wembley, but in the League they confounded everyone by finishing as runners-up and so gained promotion to the Premier Division at the first attempt. The 1993–94 season saw them consolidate in 14th position but medals did come to the club as they again won the Derbyshire Senior Cup and reached the Final of the Southern League Cup. An improved League position of 8th was achieved in 1994–95 and that season saw them reaching the First Round Proper of the FA Cup for only the second time ever before losing away to Crewe.

Paul Futcher was appointed manager with Garry Birtles, the former England International, his assistant on 2 November 1995. Rovers improved their League position yet again in 1995–96 as they ended the season in 5th place and had the bonus of winning the Derbyshire Senior Cup yet again.

The season 1996–97 was the best in the club's long history because in addition to retaining the Derbyshire Senior Cup they also won the Dr. Martens Premier Division championship. Rovers were unbeaten in their first seventeen league games (won 10 drawn 7) and were league leaders for 31 weeks.

The title was finally won with a 3–1 home victory against Gloucester City at the Moat Ground on 26 April 1997. Gresley Rovers became the first Derbyshire side and first village side to win this prestigious trophy but ground grading meant that they were unable to gain promotion to the Football Conference. The game was also notable for serious crowd disorder between the two sets of fans after Gresley's opening goal which led to the game being delayed for 25 minutes as fighting spilled onto the pitch. Derby County were willing to lend Gresley their recently vacated Baseball Ground until the required standards could be met but this was rejected by the footballing authorities.

Paul Futcher the Manager during that campaign left during the close season and his Assistant Manager Garry Birtles stepped up into the Manager's position. The disappointment of not being promoted to the Football Conference saw many of Gresley's players leave the club. The 1997–98 season saw Gresley finish in the bottom half of the Southern League Premier Division.

Relegation[edit]

Elvis Gresley, the club's mascot

The 1998–99 season will go down in the history of Gresley Rovers as one of the worst. At the end of 1998 they were in the top six. By the end of April they were relegated. The season started well and 13 points from their September games saw them in third place just four points adrift of the leaders Nuneaton Borough. In November Gresley Rovers were drawn to meet Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in the first round of the FA Cup. Gresley went close to causing an upset but were denied at least a replay by a goal 11 minutes from the end. Victories over King's Lynn and Hastings Town got December off to a fine start; however, three defeats saw them drop to 6th place. After a disastrous run of 6 successive defeats in January saw them slump to 17th place just 5 points above the relegation places. In February two successive draws and three defeats proved to be Garry Birtles downfall and he and his assistant, Paul Fitzpatrick were dismissed. Stuart Ford took charge temporarily and saw the team beat Atherstone United 2–1 that ended a run of 14 games without a win. In March 1999 Brian Kenning was appointed manager. The opening game of April produced a comfortable 3–0 victory over Cambridge City. But three defeats followed against Nuneaton Borough, Crawley Town and Rothwell Town. Vital game at Dorchester Town and Salisbury City yielded only one point. The defeat on the final day against Bath City pushed Gresley into the Midlands Division just two years after winning the Southern League Premier Division Championship by 11 points. The last time Gresley were relegated was in the 1958–59 season when they went down from the Birmingham League Division one to Division two.

Reformation[edit]

After financial difficulties, Gresley Rovers liquidated at the end of the 2008–09 season, forming a new football club, Gresley F.C. In the 2009–10 season, they were placed in the East Midlands Counties League. After finishing their first season in second place they went one better by winning it in 2010/11. The following season they also won the Midland Football Alliance earning a place at Step 4 of the pyramid.

In the 2013/2014 season Gresley finished 9th in the Evo-Stik Division One South. In the following season Gresley F.C. achieved their biggest ever league win 10-0 at home to Brigg Town on 13 September 2014. However, a week later manager Martin Rowe resigned due to personal reasons. After a successful Caretaker Manager reign, Wayne Thornhill took charge with hopes to reach the play-offs by the end of the season. The 2014-15 season also saw Gresley go on their best Derbyshire Senior Cup run since reformation, finishing runners up and knocking out holders Ilkeston. The Moatmen reached the play-off semi finals in 2014-15 but lost narrowly away to Leek Town.

In pre-season the Moatmen lost key players Mitch Hanson and Kieran O'Connell to long term injuries and a number of influential players left the club including Eric Graves. After a tough start to the 2015-16 campaign. Wayne Thornhill resigned on 22 September 2015. Dave Langston enjoyed a successful interim campaign but could not take on the job full-time due to work commitments. His interim spell lasted until 17 October when Scott Goodwin took charge. Scott Goodwin achieved one win and six losses in his short tenure at the club and was relieved of his duties on 5 December 2015. Between the 28 November and 26 January, the Moatmen had no home league games due to numerous postponements. Gary Ricketts immediately took over as Player/Manager with Dave Langston appointed as assistant. His tenure started in promising fashion, with a victory over Mickleover Sports booking the Moatmen a semi-final berth in the Derbyshire Senior Cup and five straight home Evo-Stik NPL Division One victories - their best run of the season - giving them faint hopes of a play-off push. Gresley had a thin squad due to the loss of income the postponements brought and were also playing twice a week most weeks from February to the end of the season. A lot of the re-arranged home games were on Tuesday nights meaning attendances fell but this was also due to poor form. A run of nine straight losses came in March, as injuries, suspensions and availability issues - as well as some below-par displays - took their toll, Gresley eventually ending the season in 16th place. On the 23rd May 2016 Gary Ricketts resigned due to personal reasons and Dave Langston left the club to become manager of Lichfield City.

For the 2016-17 season the main stand was renamed after Pat Murray, a local councillor, as he agreed to donate £1,500 to the club. Pre-season saw the departure of the two best performing 2015-16 players as voted by supporters. Supporters player of the year runner up Jack Langston and the Supporters' player-of-the-year John Guy both moved to Belper Town to join up with former Moatmen Eric Graves, Alex Steadman, Jordan Ball, Kyle Bryant, Luke Edwards and Bradley Wells. On 10 June 2016, Gresley appointed, former St. Kitts and Nevis international, Damion Beckford-Quailey as their new manager. Damion named Hannah Dingley as his assistant manager and Brian Quailey and Chris Cowan as coaches. Further players departed the club including highly rated teenager Ryan King. The 2016/17 season began strong with 16 points from the first 8 games. However, only five wins followed from the next 32 games which lead to influential forwards Pearson Mwanyongo and Tendai Chitiza leaving the club. Damion's side went on a good run in the Derbyshire Senior Cup reaching the final. However, Gresley finished the season in 18th place.

The following pre-season saw star forward Reece Morris leave the club after picking up 4 awards for the 2016-17 season. The 2017-18 season was one to forget for Gresley supporters. Gresley featured towards the bottom of the table all season but they retained their place in the Evostik South with 4 games remaining. The following week saw the Chairman, Vice Chairman and manager all step down with most of the first team squad leaving with 3 matches still to play. Gresley legend Jamie Barrett also left the club after almost 17 years with Gresley Rovers and FC.

Stadium[edit]

The club has played at the Moat Ground since 1909. It has a capacity of 2,400.

Average attendances[edit]

These average attendances are taken from First Team home League games only.

  • 2010/2011 - 282
  • 2011/2012 - 364
  • 2012/2013 - 278
  • 2013/2014 - 279
  • 2014/2015 - 275
  • 2015/2016 - 217
  • 2016/2017 -
  • 2017/2018 - 201

Previous grounds[edit]

  • Mushroom Lane, Albert Village 1882–1885
  • Church Street, Church Gresley 1885–1909

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England GK Callum Hawkins (on loan from Burton Albion)
England GK Max Atkin
England DF Lucas Harrison
England DF Harry Hughes
No. Position Player
England MF Zack Hill
England FW Kane Lee
England FW Ollie Bassett (on loan from Coalville Town)

Player Awards[edit]

Gresley FC[edit]

Players' Player Manager's Player Supporters' Player Top Scorer Most Man-of-the-Match Chairmans' Player Directors' Player
2009-10 Royce Turville Royce Turville Royce Turville Brian Woodall Royce Turville and Jamie Barrett N/A N/A
2010-11 Jordi Gough Jamie Barrett Brian Woodall David Blenkinsopp Jordi Gough N/A Gary Hateley
2011-12 Jordi Gough Rob Spencer Jordi Gough Royce Turville and Richard Hanslow Dean Oliver James Jepson Michael Nottingham
2012-13 Jordi Gough Jamie Barrett Jordi Gough Marc Goodfellow Jordi Gough Rob Spencer Michael Nottingham
2013-14 Eric Graves Eric Graves Eric Graves Rob Spencer Eric Graves and Liam Guest Mitch Hanson Jamie Barrett
2014-15 Kieran O'Connell Jamie Barrett Jamie Barrett Alex Steadman Jamie Barrett Jack Langston Mitch Hanson
2015-16 Matt Roome Matt Roome John Guy Gary Ricketts and Martin Smyth Ryan King Jake Carlisle Jack Langston
2016-17 Reece Morris Josh Egginton Reece Morris Reece Morris and Keenan King Matt Melbourne Matt Melbourne Reece Morris

Honours[edit]

Gresley FC[edit]

Gresley Rovers[edit]

  • Bass Charity Vase 1911, 1929, 1931, 1949, 1950, 1967, 1989
  • Millennium Cup Champions 1999–2000
  • Southern League Premier Division Champions 1996–97
  • Southern League Cup Runners Up 1993–94
  • Southern League Midland Division Runners Up 1992–93
  • FA Vase Runners Up 1990–91
  • West Midlands League Champions 1990–91, 1991–92
  • West Midlands League Runners Up 1985–86, 1988–89
  • West Midlands League Cup Winners 1988–89
  • West Midlands League Cup Runners Up 1986–87, 1991–92
  • Derbyshire Senior Cup Winners 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1993–94, 1995–96, 1996–97, 2004–05
  • Derbyshire Senior Cup Runners Up 1956–57, 1969–70, 1999–2000, 2001–02
  • East Midlands League Champions 1967–68, 1969–70
  • Central Alliance Champions 1964–65, 1966–67
  • Central Alliance Cup Winners 1952–53
  • Leicestershire Senior League Champions 1900–01, 1946–47, 1947–48
  • Leicestershire Senior Cup Winners 1988–99, 1946–47
  • Coalville Charity Cup Winners 1946–47

Notable Former Players[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°45′42.440″N 1°33′50.152″W / 52.76178889°N 1.56393111°W / 52.76178889; -1.56393111