Walsall Wood F.C.

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Walsall Wood FC badge
Full name Walsall Wood Football Club
Nickname(s) The Wood, The Prims
Founded 1915 (as Walsall Wood Ebenezer
Primitive Methodists)
Ground Oak Park (currently known as The ML Safety Stadium)
Ground Capacity 1,000
Chairman Justin Hodgin
Manager Gary Birch
League Midland League Division One
2016–17 Midland League Premier Division, 20th of 22 (relegated)

Walsall Wood Football Club are a football club based in Walsall Wood, near Walsall in the West Midlands, England. For the 2017-18 season, they are members of the Midland League Division One, which sits at level 10 of the English football league system, following their relegation from the Midland League Premier Division.

The team play their home games at Oak Park and are nicknamed "The Wood".

History[edit]

The club was formed in the early part of the 20th century, although the exact date is unknown, the earliest surviving records being from 1915. The club's original name was Walsall Wood Ebenezer Primitive Methodists, stemming from its affiliation with a local Methodist chapel. It is from this that the team's former nickname derives.[1]

In the inter-war years they were considered amongst the strongest non-league clubs in the region, and won the Walsall Senior Cup in 1923 and the Walsall Senior League in 1946 and 1947. The club joined the Worcestershire Combination in 1951, winning the championship at the very first attempt and finishing as runners-up five times in the next decade. In 1982 they merged with Walsall Sportsco. and the new club became known as Walsall Borough F.C. and continued to play in what was now known as the Midland Combination. In 1986 the Walsall Wood name was re-adopted.

In 1992 the club switched to the Staffordshire Senior League for one season before relocating once again to the West Midlands (Regional) League, starting in Division One but gaining promotion to the Premier Division at the first attempt. In 2000 they finished in 21st place and were relegated, but an appeal to the FA saw them reinstated in the top flight.

In 2006, due to a redrafting of the league boundaries, the Wood returned to the Midland Combination after 14 years of absence.

The Wood won the Midland Combination Premier Division in the 2012-13 season and secured promotion to the Midland Football Alliance, the highest level the club has competed at to date. During this season The Wood also progressed to the quarter finals of the FA Vase before being knocked out in a replay away at Guernsey.

At the end of the 2016-17 season, after four seasons at step 5, Walsall Wood suffered relegation to the Midland League Division One (formally the Midland Combination) after management changes and a sharp decline in performances led to the club finding itself involved in a relegation scrap. For the 2017-18 season the Wood will be managed by former Walsall player Gary Birch.

Local rivalries within the Walsall borough are mostly friendly and played in good sport against similarly sized clubs such as Pelsall Villa and Boldmere St Michaels. Over recent years a heated rivalry has developed between the Wood and near neighbours Sporting Khalsa, who are based at Willenhall Town's Noose Lane ground.

Crest[edit]

The club's badge incorporates the winding gear of a coal mine, symbolising the area's coal mining tradition, a cross, representing the club's original affiliation with a Methodist chapel, a castle, representing a castle which once stood in the area, and an oak tree, symbolising the "Shire Oak", a former local landmark after which Oak Park is named. The club's motto is "Pro Bono Silvae" which is Latin for "for the good of the wood".[1]

Ground[edit]

Walsall Wood's home ground, Oak Park. Visible at the extreme left is a memorial to the area's mining heritage, which stands behind the stadium.

The Oak Park ground boasts a stand which dates from the 1930s, which the club claim is the only surviving stand of its type in England. This is where some of the more vocal home supporters can be found. Wolverhampton Wanderers visited the ground for its official opening. Over the last few years the ground has undergone a lot of renovations to bring it up to standard for step 5 football. Behind the far goal there is a memorial to the area's mining heritage, which lends the ground a very traditional feel. Oak Park is currently known as the ML Safety Stadium due to sponsorship reasons.

Club honours[edit]

  • Worcestershire Combination/Midland Combination
    • Winners 1951–52, 2012-13
    • Runners-up 1953–54, 1954–55, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1960–61
  • Midland Combination League Cup
    • Runners-up 2012–13
  • Walsall Senior Cup
    • Winners 1922–23 (joint), 1934–35 (joint), 1951–52, 1957–58, 1960–61
    • Runners-up 1925–26, 1946–47, 1950–51, 1956–57, 1958–59, 1959–60, 1981–82
  • Staffordshire FA Challenge Cup
    • Winners 1953–54
    • Runners-up 1922–23, 1934–35
  • JW Hunt Cup
    • Runners-up 1932–33, 1948–49
  • Wednesbury Charity Cup
    • Winners 2001–02, 2005–06
  • Midland Football League Cup

Club records[edit]

Walsall Wood vs Guernsey in the 2012–13 FA Vase
  • Best league performance: Worcestershire/Midland Combination champions, 1951–52, 2012-13
  • Best FA Cup performance: 2nd qualifying round, 1988–89
  • Best FA Vase performance: 6th round (quarter-finals), 2012–13
  • Best Midland Football League Cup performance: Runners-up, 2015-16

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°37′52.12″N 1°55′46.41″W / 52.6311444°N 1.9295583°W / 52.6311444; -1.9295583