Carshalton Athletic F.C.

Carshalton Athletic F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Carshalton Athletic

fullname = Carshalton Athletic Football Club
nickname = The Robins, The Cars
founded = 1905 (as Mill Lane Mission)
ground = War Memorial Sports Ground,
Colston Avenue, Carshalton
capacity = 8,000 (240 seated)
chairman = Harry Driver
manager = Haydon Bird
league = Isthmian League Premier Division
season = 2007-08
position = Isthmian League Premier Division, 18th

Carshalton Athletic F.C. is a semi-professional football club based in Carshalton in the London Borough of Sutton, London, England. They were established in 1905. Their best performance in the FA Cup came in the 1982/83 season when they reached the 2nd round of the competition. For 2008/09, they are playing in the Isthmian League Premier Division.


Early years

Carshalton Athletic traces its roots to two separate teams playing in the area of Wrythe Green in Carshalton in the early twentieth century. Whilst the club's history is dated to the formation of Mill Lane Mission F.C. in 1905 it also recognises the importance of officials, players and supporters of Carshalton St Andrews in its history.

"Mill Lane Mission F.C." was organised by the Mill Lane Mission recreational facility for teenage boys and began playing friendlies in 1903. They were formally registered with the Surrey County FA in September 1905 and continued to play only friendly matches until 1906 when they joined the Croydon & District League Division 2A. During 1905 and 1906 discussions were held with Carshalton St Andrews F.C. over amalgamation.

"Carshalton St Andrews F.C." was formed in 1897 by the vicar of St Andrews, Revd. C.W. Cleaver and began playing in the Surrey County Herald League. In 1902 they were promoted into the Southern Suburban League Division 2 West. They agreed to fold and amalgamate with Mill Lane Mission in 1906 but did not formally do so until they had honoured their remaining obligations at the end of the 1907/08 season.

Meanwhile, Mill Lane Mission registered their name change with the Surrey F.A. and began playing under the name Carshalton Athletic F.C. in 1907. The first ever match under this name was on 7 September 1907 at home on the Wrythe Green recreation ground in a friendly against Westbrook (Thornton Heath). The original club colours were red jerseys and white shorts.

After the name change the club went on to win successive promotions in 1908, 1909 and 1910 which were rewarded with election to the Junior Division of the Southern Suburban League. During this time the club put out a reserve side and a midweek Carshalton Wednesday side (many different clubs set up these sides to play after the shops had shut 'early' on Wednesdays) and these two sides both performed well - the reserves winning the Croydon and District League Division 2A in 1909 and Carshalton Wednesday were runners up in the inaugural Surrey County Midweek Cup.

Before the outbreak of the First World War further success in both league and junior cup competitions was achieved. In 1913 the club won the Suburban League Division 1 West and the following season added the Suburban League Division 1 East title to this. In the same period they also won the Surrey Junior Cup, Surrey Junior Charity Cup and the Croydon Charity Cup and were runners up in the London Junior Cup. The outbreak of the war curtailed this period of success and the club went into a period of suspended animation during the war as its home ground was given over to agricultural use.

Following the reformation of the club on 31 March 1919, and after playing on a number of different grounds, Carshalton Athletic finally moved into their new (and current) home in Colston Avenue during the 1920/21 season. This was built as a memorial to those members of the club who lost their lives in the War.

The interwar years were otherwise relatively uneventful. The only silverware the club won was the Surrey Intermediate Cup, in 1922 and 1932. In the league, the club remained in the Southern Suburban League, finishing as runners up in 1922 before becoming founding members of the Surrey Senior League in the 1922/23 season. At the same time the club gained Football Association senior club status and this allowed Carshalton Athletic to enter FA national competitions and county senior cups for the first time.

Post War and the Corinthian League

With the upheavals of the Second World War in Europe over, preparations for the resumption in football at Colston Avenue began 1945 with applications made to join the London League (senior side) Surrey Intermediate League (reserve side) and to enter the London Senior and Surrey Senior cups.

The club did not apply to enter the FA Challenge Cup or FA Amateur Cup because facilities at the ground were not up to standard for these competitions. The club did make it a priority to improve the standard of the ground and facilities to make them suitable for the higher reaches of the amateur game but all this work had to be funded and carried out by volunteers as the local District Council were unwilling to help support these improvements. Fortunately it proved possible to find volunteers and donors to enable this work to be carried out. The work on the ground proved to be needed the following season as Carshalton Athletic were elected into the Corinthian League, which had been setup in the previous year, for the 1946/47 season.

Several years of indifferent league form followed with only minor highlights in cup competitions, although the club continued to grow as evidenced by a record attendance of over 8000 for an FA Challenge Cup 3rd round qualifying tie against local rivals Tooting and Mitcham United. Behind the scenes the club was taking steps to improve the clubs chances on the pitch including hiring a coach for all sides for the first time but the club committee ensured that they retained the final say in selection decisions.

A far better period began with the first match Carshalton Athletic played against a team from overseas at the start of the 1952/53 season. Hengelo from the Netherlands were the opponents in what was to become a regular friendly fixture over following years. Carshalton went on to win the Corinthian League title by 3 points from Hounslow Town at the end of the season and the reserve team finished second in their league, 2 points behind Uxbridge. The 1953/54 season brought further success as Carshalton Athletic retain the league title, finishing 2 points ahead of Edgware Town, although cup success was still proving elusive. This was rectified somewhat in the 1954/55 season as the club reached the final of the Surrey Senior Shield and the quarter finals of the FA Amateur Cup for the first time in their history (this was also the first year in which two Corinthian League teams reached the quarter finals). The 1955/56 season was unremarkable on the pitch but did see further advances around the ground as Carshalton Athletic's success of recent season was reflected in the size of the supporters club with over 2000 members. It was also the club's last appearance in the Corinthian League as the summer of 1956 saw election to the Athenian League.

Athenian League

For the next 17 years the club competed in the Athenian League with very little success never really threatening to win the league, and finishing at the bottom of the table twice (1959/60 and 1960/61 seasons). Their best performance coming in the 1963/64 season when the club managed to finish the season in third place. Around the ground floodlights were finally erected on six pylons in 1967.

Limited cup success was achieved. A first appearance in the Surrey Senior Cup final came in the 1957/58 season, although Dulwich Hamlet won the final 1-0 and it would be another 31 years before Carshalton Athletic appeared in the final again. There was also success in the FA Amateur Cup as the club reached the quarter finals for the second time in 1959/60. In the same season the club won the Southern Combination Cup for the first time, after losing in the final the previous season.

Isthmian League 1973-2004

In the summer of 1973 Carshalton Athletic finally achieved a promotion of sorts when they were elected as founder members of the newly created Isthmian League Division 2. The first two seasons proved to be a struggle and in their third they just missed out on promotion finishing third in the league. Three years of struggle paid off in the 1976/77 season when promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division after finishing as runners up in the league in a year in which they also won the Surrey Senior Shield.

After promotion in the league the club entered another period of struggling in the league, not finishing in the top half of the league until the 1987/88 season, and this was accompanied with the start of years of upheaval in the organisation of the ownership and running of the club both on and off the field. The best that could be offered to supporters in this period was a solitary cup run as the club reached the second round proper of the FA Challenge Cup for the first time before losing 4-1 to Fourth Division Torquay United. Over this period Carshalton Athletic had a succession of 8 different managers and it was only the final appointment of Billy Smith in August 1986 that began to turn the clubs fortunes around.

The first Billy Smith era lasted for nearly 9 years and was the most successful period in the club's history. During his time in charge of the club twice reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Challenge Cup, winning the Surrey Senior Cup three times in four years and reaching the final 5 times in 7 years, recording its highest ever placing in the league at the end of the 1988/89 season and winning the London Challenge Cup in 1991. This period came to an end when Billy Smith left to take charge of Kingstonian.

The next four seasons saw the club use five managers. John Rains produced an extremely successful side in the first season. Carshalton Athletic having their best FA Trophy run for many years while also challenging for the Championship title, before dropping away at the end of the season. The following season Robins appointed Tony Jennings to the Colston Avenue hot seat after John Rains moved onto Sutton United, but Carshalton never really gelled under his management and he left in November. Towards the end of the season, with the club facing a relegation battle, Carshalton Athletic appointed former player Chris Kilby, who had been coaching at Banstead Athletic, to manage the club. The club eventually reached league safety and also the Surrey Senior Cup Final but lost to Crystal Palace.

In the 1997/98 season the club reached the FA Cup First Round Proper again but as on previous occasions failed to draw a Football League side at home. Carshalton achieved a creditable home draw with Stevenage Borough before losing the replay. A slump in form after Christmas caused Kilby to resign and towards the end of the season the club appointed Ian Dawes as their new manager.

Ian Dawes barely lasted four months in charge and following a 6-0 thrashing at home in the Fourth Qualifying Round against Salisbury City also resigned. With the side a long way adrift at the bottom of the table Gary Bowyer took over as player manager guiding the club to eventual safety in the league and the final of the Surrey Senior Cup where they lost to local rivals Sutton United 3-0. Gary once again saw the club to safety the following year, on the last day of the 1999/2000 season with a 3-0 win over Aldershot Town.

The summer of 2000 was hectic and confusing. The sale of the club twice in a matter of weeks in conjunction with the destruction of the club house in an arson attack and the sacking of Gary Bowyer as manager. [.cite news
last = O'Donnell
first = Gary
title = Club Torched By Arsonists
publisher = Sutton Guardian
date = 2000-06-23
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-30
] The eventual new owners, Steve Friend & Barry Gartell, brought in Tony Rains as manager and, although briefly threatened by eviction from the ground, [.cite news
last = Samuel
first = Mithran
title = Carshalton Fc Faces Eviction
publisher = Sutton Guardian
date = 2000-12-08
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-29
] began to reorganise the club's finances. However by December and with 8 successive defeats that saw Carshalton drop into the relegation zone, Tony Rains was sacked. After considering a number of applications for the job, Steve Rogers was promoted from the Reserves to take charge with Paul Smallwood as his assistant, but the change did little to avert Carshalton Athletic's relegation to Division 1 after 24 years in the Premier.

At the end of the season Steve Rogers was told he was relieved of 1st team affairs and the search for a new Manager was begun and in June Frank Murphy, formally of Hendon and Dulwich Hamlet, was appointed to spearhead the club's return to the Isthmian Premier. This did not prove to be easy and in December he was sacked because the team were not progressing in the league. Graham Roberts was appointed in his place to try and restart a promotion push.

This was not achieved in his first season in charge but the following season, 2002/03 the club won the Isthmian Division 1 South title to gain promotion to the Premier Division. Unfortunately the costs associated with the push for promotion and internal differences between the chairman and manager led to a budget cut and the departure of Graham Roberts. Billy Smith was appointed as manager for a second time in June 2003 and the club eventually ended the 2003/04 season in 7th which was enough to clinch qualification to the new Conference South.

Conference South

With the failure of the £12 million rebuilding project, which was withdrawn from the planning permission process due to local residents' objections (see Grounds below), Steve Friend resigned from the chairmanship of the club and passed the club into the ownership of the Board of Directors who jointly took on the responsibility of reducing the clubs debts, while maintaining football at Colston Avenue.

With the changes off the pitch, and the changes in finance, Billy Smith struggled with the squad the following year, lost his Assistant George Wakeling to Bromley and decided to resign early in 2005. Jimmy Bolton who was coaching the senior side was appointed Manager and he brought back in former club goalkeeper Les Cleevely (Walton & Hersham F.C. assistant manager) as his Assistant. [.cite news
last = Basham
first = Ross
title = Bolton named new Robins boss
publisher = Sutton Guardian
date = 2006-01-06
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-30
] They managed to secure the Robins place in the Conference South, with a 4-1 win on the last day of the season away to Eastbourne Borough.

The 2005/06 season, the club's centenary season, was not a successful one. Despite some impressive performances against Conference National winners Accrington Stanley in the FA Trophy [.cite news
title = Match Report Carshalton Athletic 2 Accrington Stanley 2
publisher = Lancashire Telegraph
date = 2006-01-16
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-29
] and against Conference South winners Weymouth [.cite news
last = Biddlecombe
first = Nigel
title = Terras rocked by strugglers
publisher = Dorset Echo (published in full on Weymouth F.C. official website)
date = 2006-01-31
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-29
] , Carshalton Athletic were relegated on the last day of the season to drop back down to the Isthmian Premier League for the 2006/07 season.

Carshalton finished mid table in 06/07 but the following season saw disappointing early results and Dave Garland left the club in October 2007. First team coach Hayden Bird was appointed to take the helm.

Hayden made some high profile signings and there was a noticeable commitment to playing attractive, passing football but the Robins still faced another nail-biting fight for survival in the Ryman Premier. It went right to the wire and, miraculously, last day results elsewhere fell perfectly and Carshalton’s home win over Tonbridge Angels was enough to secure their status.


From the formation of Mill Lane Mission until 1906 the club played on a pitch hired in Carshalton Park moving to a pitch in the Wrythe Recreation Ground (and using the Cricketers pub opposite as a 'clubhouse') when they joined the Croydon & District League. Here they remained until the outbreak of war in 1914. During the war many open spaces and parks were used for agricultural purposes which meant that when football finally resumed in 1919 the old pitch needed to be levelled and resown with grass and so was unavailable for use. A temporary ground was loaned to the club by a market gardener named G. Mizen, in what was known as Culvers Park (now covered by housing as Culvers Avenue) and it was here that the club resumed playing in the Southern Suburban League.

Knowing that the Culvers Park ground could only ever be a temporary measure, the Secretary and committee of the club continued to investigate alternative arrangements. Eventually a local area of land, known as Shorts Farm, was discovered to be for sale. Whilst the club certainly did not have the funds to purchase all 37 acres of land, it was hoped that they could negotiate a separate sale of convert|4|acre|m2 to be set aside as a War Memorial and dedicated to sports. After several convoluted sales and purchases the local District Council acquired the land and the club were able to lease the land they needed and to build the facilities they desired on the land. The opening match on the ground took place on 1 January 2001 against Thornville in the Sutton Hospital Charity Cup.

Gradually improvements were made to the ground. In 1926 a grandstand was acquired from Epsom Downs Racecourse, dismantled, moved and rebuilt on the ground to provide much needed seating. This survived until it was finally blown down by gales in March 1968. Slowly each side was converted from grass banking to terracing (this work finally being completed in 1991) and various offices, dressing rooms, coverings for terraces and a clubhouse and function room were added to the site. Floodlights were added in 1967 and a new grandstand was built in 1972 and extended in 1996. A great many of these structures were destroyed in an arson attack in 2000 which gutted the clubhouse, a new 'temporary' clubhouse has been in place since 2000.

In August 2003 the club submitted plans [.cite web
last = London Borough of Sutton
title = Full detail for planning application C2003/51124
publisher = London Borough of Sutton
date = 2003-11-19
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-29
] for a £12 million rebuild of the current stadium to include additional community facilities. The intention was to increase the level of usage of the site to allow the club to become self financing. Local residents objected to the proposed increase in use and in light of the number of local residents opposed to the expansion the club withdrew their application for planning permission. [.cite news
last = Judge
first = Daniel
title = £12M Stadium bid kicked out of play
publisher = Surrey Comet
date = 2003-11-21
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-29
] The club have no plans for any major changes to be made to the site for the foreseeable future.

Former players and staff

*Players progressing to Football League:

*Ernie Taylor (Newcastle United)
*Roy Lunnes (Crystal Palace)
*Les Burns (Charlton Athletic)
*Ron Walker (Watford)
*Terry Stacey (Plymouth Argyle)
*Frank George (Leyton Orient)
*Tommy Williams (Colchester United)
*Allen Eagles (Leyton Orient)
*Derrick Razzell (Queens Park Rangers)
*Gus Caesar (Arsenal)
*Murray Jones (Crystal Palance)
*Darren Annon (Brenford)
*Ian Cox (Crystal Palace)
*Richard Thompson (Wycombe Wanderers)
*Paul Smith (Brentford)
*Carl Asaba (Brentford)
*Paul Harding (Sheffield United)
*Steve Grubb (Bristol Rovers)
*Sam Saunders (Dagenham & Redbridge)
*Adam Federici (Reading)
*Jack MacLeod (Hereford United)
*Mark Marshall (Swindon Town)
* Liam Harwood (Bristol Rovers)

Players progressing to Scottish Football League:
*Romauld Bouadji (Clyde)

Staff progressing to professional management
*Lennie Lawrence (Charlton Athletic)
*Roy Hodgson (Switzerland , Finland)

Club records since 1945

*Club Record Attendance: 7,800 v Wimbledon - London Senior Cup - Jan 1959 won 2-1
*Career Goalscorer: Jimmy Bolton - 242 goal in 7 seasons
*Highest Transfer fee Paid: £5,000 Junior Haynes from Sutton Utd in 1998
*Highest Transfer fee received: £40,000 for Ian Cox from Crystal Palace in 1994
*Record Win: 13-0 v Worthing - Loctite Cup 3rd rd - Feb 1991
*Record Defeat: 11-0 v Southall - Athenian Premier - April 1963

Club honours since 1945

*Isthmian League
**Isthmian League Division One
***Winners 2002/03
**Isthmian League Division Two
***Runners-up 1976/77
*Corinthian League
**Champions 1952/53, 1953/54
*FA Challenge Cup
**Second Round Proper: 1982/83
**First Round Proper: 1969/70, 1987/88, 1993/94, 1997/98
*FA Amateur Cup
**Quarter Finalists 1954/55, 1959/60
*London Challenge Cup
**Winners 1990/91
*Surrey Senior Cup
**Winners 1988/89, 1989/90, 1991/92
**Runners-up 1957/58, 1992/93, 1994/95, 1996/97, 1998/99
*Isthmian League Cup
**Runners-up 1990/91
*Surrey Senior Shield
**Winners 1976/77
**Runners-up 1954/55, 1956/57
*Corinthian League Memorial Shield
**Runners-up 1953/54
*Southern Combination Cup
**Winners 1959/60
**Runners-up 1958/59



*cite book
last = Fear
first = Roger
title = Carshalton Athletic Football Club the First One Hundred Years 1905-2005
publisher = Privately published by Carshalton Athletic F.C.
date = 2005
location = Carshalton

*cite web
last = Cross
first = Dane
title = Carshalton Athletic F.C. A Written History
url =
accessdate = 2006-11-28

External links

* [ Official Club Site]
* [ Unofficial Club Forum]

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