Warrington Town

Address

Address:
Cantilever Park Common Lane Latchford Warrington WA4 2RS
Directions:
Standing:
2500
Telephone:
01925 653044
Website:

Contacts

Chairman:
Toby Macormac
Secretary/Match Secretary:
Joint Managers :
Lee Smith & Stuart Mellish

Kit

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History

Formed in 1949 under the eye of their late president, Jimmy Drinkwater the club began life as Stockton Heath playing at a ground called London Road in Appleton. We 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 more appearances (five) in the Cheshire Amateur Cup Final than any other club.

Several players from this successful period went on to join Football League clubs, including Ian Weir (Scotland & Hibernian), John Green (Tranmere Rovers), and Alan Foster (Crewe). 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 clubs 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 areas skyline, and from which the ground now 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 League in 1982 proved to be a springboard 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 second divisions most powerful clubs, missing out on promotion by small margins on no fewer than three occasions.

1985-86 saw Town's first serious attempt at winning the F.A. Vase, but following a tremendous run, they bowed out to eventual winners Halesowen Town in an epic semi-final replay at Bucks Park, home of Telford United. Promotion to division one of the NWCL was achieved in 1986-87 and the club again excelled in the F.A Vase, making it all the way to Wembley sadly losing 3-2 to local rivals St Helens Town in the final.

Promotion to the Northern Premier League was gained in 1989-90. The club had consistency in the new division with three 7th place and a 5th place finish, but relatively little success until 1992-93 when a fantastic FA Trophy run ended in the quarter finals at Sutton United, earning them a cool £5.000 for being the furthest non-exempt team left in the competition. On the away to Sutton, Town had beaten 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 League 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 equaled the NPL transfer fee record when he moved to third division side Preston North End for £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 we did reach the semi final of the Cheshire Senior Cup, beating conference side Witton Albion on the way, and were in with a chance of promotion until the last few weeks of the season. The 1994-95 season was another successful year for Town, who made it into the draw for the F.A. Cup First Round Proper for the first time ever, a last gasp equaliser at Hyde United forcing a replay. The winners of the tie would entertain Darlington but sadly Town failed to make the first round proper, as Hyde won the replay 2-0. 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, namely promotion to the Premier Division. An amazing run saw them win eleven games of their last fifteen but this 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 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 than a match for anybody, finishing in mid table. 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 split 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 & Steve Jones. Relegation to the NWCFL Div 1 was followed by demotion on ground grading criteria to Division 2 and a rationalisation of the clubs finances coupled with the appointment of Dave Hughes as Football Manager & Ian Dick as his secretary saw Town's image improve dramatically. Sadly though Ian had to return to Scotland for personal reasons, and Dave stepped down to assistant manager, with Alan Blair becoming manager.

The 99/00 season saw Town win the Second Division Trophy beating Tetley Walker 2-0 at Prescot Cables. In 2000/01 Warrington won the Second Division title to return to Division One of the North West Counties League. Town finished 16th in their second season back in Div 1 and Alan Blair stepped down, Glenn Walker & Derek Brownbill took over to see Town finish 5th in the league and gain promotion back into the UniBond Division One after the league restructuring process had taken place (Conference North was created).

For the first five seasons in the UniBond (Northern Premier) League Town found life fairly difficult finishing each season in the bottom half of the table, which included a couple of close scrapes avoiding relegation. The period was not entirely without success though as we won the NPL Fair Play Award, numerous programme awards, youth team championships and cup wins for the reserves. We also had a four figure home attendance against Liverpool in the Senior Cup and reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.

A number of managers came and went in this time, namely Glenn Walker in sole control, Ian Street and Paul Moore. When the North South split came for Division One Town spent one season in the south in 2007/2008 before moving to the north. In season 2008/09 ex Town favourite Joey Dunn took over as team manager and gradually things started to improve. 2009/10 saw Town record their highest finish in the NPL since the mid 1990’s when ninth place was secured. Off the field the club continued to prosper under the leadership of a new board of directors headed by Gary Skentelbery and optimism was higher than for many years that better football times were not too far away as we sought further improve.

The club had a positive air about it in all departments and optimism was high. 2010/11 showed that hope to have definite grounding as we spent most of the season on the fringe of a play-off position. However a disappointing last few games saw us drop away and even lose sixth place which had been occupied for the last three months of the season, apart from the final game, finally finishing ninth once more. In the close season superb new 3G five a side facilities were added in the open end behind the goal and the main pitch itself also had a make over as we sought to end the days of the Cantilever bobble once and for all.

The 20011/12 season saw us threaten to take a play off position up until mid March when we slipped off the pace in a matter of one week. This resulted in the management team of Joey Dunn and Stuart Humphreys being replaced by Shaun Reid and former player Lee Smith. 2012/13 saw Shaun start to rebuild the squad and although success was hoped for it never really came to fruition and the season became a transitional one. A brief flirtation with a play off position did occur but with more games played than our rivals a mid table finish was the predictable outcome. 2013/14 saw a marked improvement in league form. Despite losing the two opening games Town then went on a long unbeaten run. A top five place was reached by the fourth Saturday of the season and from thereon was never relinquished. A good number of weeks were spent on top of the table but we eventually finished third, claiming a record number of wins (27) and points (87). Sadly promotion was not to be after a 1-0 play-off semi final defeat at home to Bamber Bridge meant we would start 2014/2015 still in Evo-Stik Division One North.

The 2014/15 season commenced with the adoption of a new club crest designed by Tom Greaves, it being chosen as a competition winner to replace the long standing old town coat of arms motif. Further improvement is now the target with a promotion place the ultimate aim. The club made huge steps forward in publicity terms in 2014 reaching the FA Cup First Round Proper for the first time in our history.

We were rewarded with a home draw against Football League club Exeter City that was shown live on BBC2 across the nation. We served up a cracker of a match and one that epitomised everything we love about the FA Cup as Town amazingly defeated our Football League opponents 1-0, thanks to a Craig Robinson header after just seven minutes. What an amazing evening. We went on to play Gateshead in Round Two in what was our ninth match in the competition all told, this time live on BT Sports, but sadly the adventure ended there as we lost 2-0. Gateshead went on to play away to West Bromwich Albion. It had been a fantastic adventure that will live long in the memory.

The cup success did have an effect on our league campaign as games in hand could not be turned into sufficient points and we finished the season in ninth. However the season was nicely rounded off with a Doodson Sports Cup Final win over Farsley at Stockport County’s ground. Twenty years after our first final appearance in this competition also saw the game decided on penalties, but this time we won, the score being 3-2 after the game had ended 0-0 after ninety minutes. It was the club’s first silverware in fifteen years and the highest ranking tournament we have ever won.

Town started the 2015/16 slowly but it did not last long and we led the table on a couple of occasions before returning there early in 2016 and opening a gap on our only challengers Northwich Victoria. However, on learning that his contract would not be renewed at the season,s end manager Shaun Reid decided to leave the club in February 2016. Assistants Stuart Mellish and Lee Smith took charge following Shaun’s departure. The good form was just as consistent and Town opened up a substantial lead firstly on Northwich and latterly on Spennymoor Town.

The lead would not be relinquished and Town won the championship on 16th April with two games still to play following a 6-1 thrashing of Prescot Cables in front of 1411 spectators and which took us up to 100 league points, a club record. The final two games were also won to see us finish on 106 points and score in every league game through the season. We also registered the most wins and goals scored in a season. It was without doubt the finest moment in the clubs history to date.

Previous Leagues:
Warrington & District 1949-52
Mid Cheshire 1952-78
Cheshire CO 1978-82
N.W.C 1982-90 & 1997-2004
NPL (Evo-Stik) Division One 1990-97 & Division One/One South/One North 2004/05-2015/16,
NPL (Evo-Stik) Premier Division 2016/17 - present

Previous Name: Stockton Heath 1949-62

Previous ground London Road, Appleton, Warrington, Cheshire.

Best performance in:
FA Cup 2nd Round Proper 2014/15
F.A Vase: Runners Up 1986/87
FA Trophy: Quarter Finalists 1992-93
NPL Doodson Sport (League) Cup Winners 2014/15

 
 

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