Welton Rovers F.C.


Welton Rovers F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Welton Rovers
fullname = Welton Rovers Football Club
nickname = Rovers
founded = 1887
ground = West Clewes,
Midsomer Norton
capacity = 2,400
chairman =
manager =
league = Western Football League
Premier Division
season = 2007–08
position = Western Football League
Premier Division, 9th

Welton Rovers Football Club is an English non-league football club who play at West Clewes, North Road, Midsomer Norton, Somerset in the Western Football League Premier Division.

Early Club History

Founded in 1887, Welton Rovers provided the opportunity for the mining community of Midsomer Norton and Radstock to play and watch football. One of a number of long-established clubs in the North Somerset coalfield, their ground, West Clewes, is the oldest in the area.

Welton Rovers joined the Western League in 1903-04, along with near neighbours Radstock Town and in 1906-07 they won the Somerset Senior Cup for the first time. They also won the league title for the first time in 1911-12, losing only two games and finishing four points ahead of Barry District. In 1911-12 they won the Somerset Senior Cup for the second time, a trophy they retained for the next two seasons.

On their return to football after the Great War, Welton won their fifth Somerset Senior Cup but unfortunately in 1922-23 after finishing as runners up by two points to Weymouth, went into liquidation. The ground at West Clewes was sold to the Miners Welfare and it was only the generosity of local miners contributions that enabled the club to stay in existence.

The club rejoined the League in 1924-25 and throughout the remainder of the 1920s achieved high league placings without adding another championship. They did, however, win the Somerset Senior Cup in 1924-25 and again the following season.

The 150 seat grandstand at West Clewes was built just before the Second World War but when football resumed afterwards, Welton finished bottom of the single division league in 1945-46. The following season was notable for the havoc caused by the weather with only two of the 31 clubs in the League completed their fixtures. Welton, in Division One, completed only 20 games out of 34 and were relegated. They remained in Division Two until 1959-60, when they finished as champions, four points ahead of Stonehouse. In 1960-61 they again won the Somerset Senior Cup, and retained it for the following two seasons. In 1961-62 Rovers played all their home games at nearby Radstock Town, while the pitch at West Clewes was levelled.

Return to Professionalism

The return to professional status and the arrival of former Huddersfield Town and Bristol City striker Arnold Rodgers as manager led to a period of unprecedented success in the mid 1960s. They won the Championship on three successive occasions: in 1964-65 they finished three points ahead of Bideford; in 1965-66 they finished eleven points clear of Portland United; and in 1966-67 they were five points ahead of Minehead.

In 1964-65 Welton also reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, losing to Weymouth after a replay. In 1965-66 Welton Rovers were unbeaten for the entire league season, Ian Henderson scored a club record 53 goals (including six hat-tricks) and on 11 September 1965 Welton won 10-0 at Dorchester Town.

The following season Welton again reached the first round proper of the FA Cup, losing 3-0 at Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic. However financial problems affected the club and Rodgers departed to Bath City, followed by ten players. With the decline of the coal industry at this time (the last coal was mined in 1975), the Miners Welfare donated the ground to the local authority for continued use for football and since then, Welton have leased West Clewes from the local council.

After a number of mid table finishes, in 1973-74 the club, now managed by former Bristol Rovers player David Stone, won their fifth championship by a single point from Taunton Town. However, a long period of decline followed, culminating in relegation at the end of the 1981-82 season and it took six years to regain their Premier Division status. This was achieved when Steve Coles led the club to the First Division championship in 1987-88, finishing a single point ahead of Chard Town.

Their status was lost again with relegation in 1991-92 until 1999-2000 when, under manager Adrian Britton, Welton returned to the Premier Division, finishing as runners up to unbeaten Devizes Town. Since then they have maintained their status and with new manager Chris Mountford, 2005-06 was the most successful season since the 1970s, ending with a fourth place finish. In June 2007 part of the main stand was damaged by fire.

Honours

*Western League Champions 1911-12, 1964-65, 1965-66, 1966-67, 1973-74
*Western League Division One Champions 1959-60, 1987-88
*Somerset Senior Cup Winners - 1906-07, 1911-12, 1912-13, 1913-14, 1919-20, 1924-25, 1925-26, 1960-61, 1961-62, 1962-63
*Somerset Senior League Division One Champions 1999-00 (reserves)

ources

Miller, Kerry: "The History of Non-League Football Grounds" (1996)

Webb, Doug & Sandie: "A View From The Terraces: One Hundred Years of the Western Football League 1892-1992" (1992)

External links

* [http://www.weltonroversfc.co.uk/ Club website]


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