Harrogate Town F.C.

Harrogate Town F.C.

Infobox Football club
clubname = Harrogate Town
fullname = Harrogate Town Football Club
nickname = The Sulphurites
founded = 1914 (as Harrogate AFC)
chairman = flagicon|England Bill Fotherby
manager = flagicon|England Neil Aspin
ground = CNG Stadium
capacity = 3,300 (500 seated)
league = Blue Square North | position = Conference North, 6th
season = 2007–08

Harrogate Town F.C. is an English semi-professional football club from Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The club was founded in 1914 and currently competes in the Conference North division of the Football Conference.


The club was founded as Harrogate AFC in 1914. Previously the town of Harrogate had tried to put together a football team as far back as 1907 but nothing emerged until 1914. They were entered into the Northern League upon their year of founding, and were set to play their home fixtures at the County Ground. However, due to World War I all fixtures were postponed.

After World War I ended, a meeting was held around the idea of putting the club back together. A man named Robert Ackrill Breare instigated this, and he later became the Secretary of the club. Harrogate were entered into the West Riding League.

Early years

Harrogate AFC finally played in their first competitive fixture on 30 August 1919 at Starbeck Lane Ground against Horsforth FC. They won the name 1-0 and the scorer was L. Craven with a headed goal. They were entered into the FA Cup the same year. Harrogate also won their first trophy; the Whitworth Cup with a 4-0 victory against Ripon City.

For the 1920/21 season they were one of the founding teams in the new Yorkshire League, yet they also continued to field a team in the West Riding League. The club had relocated to a new ground; Wetherby Lane. Around the holiday periods, they took part in friendlies against higher league opposition including Liverpool at their Anfield ground, and another at fellow Yorkshire side Sheffield United in front of 15,000 fans.

They moved league once again for their third season, leaving the West Riding League and moving into the Midland Football League. It included the reserve teams of Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley. The club remained in the Yorkshire League, fielding a reserve team. However, the club resigned from the Midland's league after only one season and reverting to fielding a first team in the Yorkshire League. The West Riding County Challenge Cup was won by Harrogate in 1925, with their 3-1 victory against Fryston Colliery at Elland Road.

League victory was secured in 1926/27, as Harrogate became the Yorkshire League champions, with Bob Morphet scoring 44 goals. The club then moved into the Northern League. Their second West Riding County Challenge Cup was won the same season against against Selby Town. The team disbanded in 1932.

Climbing the Pyramid

The town's club was brought back in 1935 as Harrogate Hotspurs. After World War II, the club was renamed as Harrogate Town and played in the West Yorkshire League. Harrogate Town joined the Yorkshire League again in 1957. They spent many years in the Yorkshire Leagues during the 1960s and 1970s, and then became a founding member of the new Northern Counties East Football League in 1982. The club was looking to climb the newly instated football pyramid and so began to improve their ground, installing floodlights. They played a friendly to mark the occasion against Leeds United, with Eddie Gray being the first to switch the lights on.

After a West Riding County Cup win in 1986, and five seasons in the Northern Counties East league, they became founding members of the Northern Premier League First Division in 1987-88, after having been invited to join the new league. In 1990 the club became a Limited Company in order to fund the construction of a new main stand, and in the same year the club won the Northern Premier League First Division Cup under the captaincy of club stalwart Paul Williamson. They would spend fifteen seasons in this league, and on two occasions the club only narrowly avoided relegation back to the Northern Counties East Football League. Finally being promoted after the 2001-02 season, Manager John Reed led the club into the Northern Premier League Premier Division. During their first season in that division they finished sixth, and for the first time in the club's history they reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup, bowing out 5-1 to Farnborough Town of the Football Conference. Town also won the West Riding County Cup in both the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons.

They became founders of the newly established Conference North League, which feeds into the Conference National League, in 2004. During the first season they finished an impressive sixth, and the following season in 2005-06 they finished fifth winning entry into the Conference North play-offs; they lost the Play-Off Semi-Final 1-0 to the eventual Play-Off winners Stafford Rangers.

During their FA Cup run in the 2005-06 season, Harrogate were drawn to play away at Torquay United, their first ever cup game against Football League opposition. The game was played on Saturday 5 November and Harrogate achieved a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor to reach the 2nd round draw for the first ever time. In the replay on Tuesday 15 November at Wetherby Road, Torquay United won 6-5 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 after extra-time. The crowd was a record with a capacity 3,300 packing into the ground.

Recent times

The current Manager of Harrogate Town is Neil Aspin, who was appointed in January 2005. A former Town player (and coach), Aspin gained extensive Football League experience with Leeds United, Port Vale and Darlington. At the same time as Aspin's appointment, the job of Player/Coach was given to Lee Philpott, who had originally signed as a player in November 2004. Philpott was another player with substantial Football League experience including spells at Leicester City and Cambridge United. In August 2007 Philpott signed for Hinckley United as a player. The current chairman is Bill Fotherby, the former chief executive and chairman of Leeds United.

Over the past few seasons Harrogate have nearly managed to clinich promotion to the Football Conference (Blue Square Premier Division). In the 2005–06 season they lost in the semi-finals of the play-offs, while the following season they missed out on the play-offs by a single point.

The 2007–08 season saw Harrogate Town start the season at the top the league by going on a 13 match unbeaten run. This came to an end when Town were beaten in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round 2–1 by neighbours Harrogate Railway Athletic. Despite a slight rally in March, Harrogate Town slipped down the table and by the final whistle at the end of the season occupied the unwanted 6th spot yet again.


:"As of 7 October, 2008."

Current squad

Current staff

Board of Directors

*Chairman: flagicon|England Bill Fotherby
*Deputy Chairman: flagicon|England Andrew Thirkill
*Vice-Chairman: flagicon|England Howard Matthews
*Commercial Director: flagicon|England Robert Hassell
*Director 1: flagicon|England Roy Abel
*Director 2: flagicon|England Bernard Fotherby
*Director 3: flagicon|England Cameron Hardcastle

Other Staff

*Life President: flagicon|England George Dunnington
*Vice President 1: flagicon|England David Batty
*Vice President 2: flagicon|England Dave Callaghan
*Vice President 3: flagicon|England Clive Dunnington
*General Manager and Secretary: flagicon|England Alan Williams
*Programme Editor: flagicon|England Peter Arnett


*Manager: flagicon|ENG Neil Aspin
*Head Coach: flagicon|ENG Trevor Storton
*Fitness Coach: flagicon|ENG Keith Gilespie
*Physio: flagicon|ENG Steve Bradbury
*Reserve Team Manager: flagicon|ENG Dave Heard

Notable former players

*flagicon|England Neil Aspin
*flagicon|England Ernest Baines
*flagicon|England Ian Blackstone
*flagicon|England Paul Musselwhite
*flagicon|England Clayton Donaldson
*flagicon|Trinidad and Tobago Clint Marcelle
*flagicon|England Ross Marchant
*flagicon|England Bob Morphet
*flagicon|England Barry Waddington
*flagicon|England Martin Pemberton
*flagicon|England Lee Philpott
*flagicon|England Chris Timons
*flagicon|England Andy Watson
*flagicon|England Tony Hackworth

"See also, "


*Northern Premier League First Division
**Champions - 2001-02

*Northern Premier League First Division Cup
**Winners - 1989-90

*Yorkshire League
**Champions - 1926-27
**Runners-up - 1962-63

*Yorkshire League Division Two
**Champions - 1981-82

*Yorkshire League Division Three
**Promoted - 1971-72, 1980-81

*West Riding County Challenge Cup
**Winners - 1925-26, 1926-27, 1962-63, 1972-73, 1985-86, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2007-2008

*Whitworth Cup
**Winners - 1919-20

External links

* [http://www.harrogatetown.com/home.shtml Official site]
* [http://www.harrogatetown.com/fixtures/Fixtures and results]
* [http://www.thisisharrogate.com Harrogate Advertiser sports news]
* [http://www.yabbers.com/phpbb/index.php?mforum=wetherbyroad Main Harrogate Town Forum]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/northyorkshire/content/articles/2006/08/10/harrogate_audio_2006_feature.shtml BBC Radio York Match Audio Reports]

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