Wisbech Town F.C.

Wisbech Town F.C.

Football club infobox
clubname = Wisbech Town

fullname = Wisbech Town Football Club
nickname = The Fenmen
founded = 1920
ground = Fenland Park,
Wisbech, Cambridgeshire
capacity = 3,804
chairman = Barry Carter
manager = Steve Taylor
league = Eastern Counties Football
League Premier Division
season = 2007/08
position = Eastern Counties
Premier Division, 12th| pattern_la1=|pattern_b1=|pattern_ra1=

Wisbech Town F.C. is a football club based in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England. They joined the United Counties Football League in 1935 and reached the 2nd round of the FA Cup at least twice in their history. They are currently members of the Eastern Counties Football League Premier Division.


There was a Wisbech Town club in the 1890s who played occasional cup-ties and friendly matches. A decision was made in 1920 to amalgamate three local clubs to form a Town football club which then entered the Peterborough and King's Lynn Leagues, the latter won at the first attempt, while in the Amateur Cup they reached the First Round Proper in 1930/31 only to go out to the losing finalists Hayes.

The Peterborough League championship was won in 1925, 1928, 1929, 1932 and 1933. The club then turned semi-professional, a Limited Company was formed and entry made into the United Counties and the East Midlands Leagues. The first professional signed was ex-West Ham and Nottingham Forest star Sam Jennings and the UCL Cup was won at the first attempt.

When football restarted after the War, Wisbech reached the First Round Proper of the F.A. Cup, losing to Ipswich Town over two legs. In 1947 the club purchased its own ground, Fenland Park, where they still play and record crowds saw the UCL title won in 1947, 1948 and 1960.

A switch was then made to the Eastern Counties League, and, after winning the League Cup during a two-year stay, the club gained entry to the old Midland League. In the last of their six seasons there the Town finished as runners-up to Peterborough United in 1957/58, the 'Posh' provided the opposition when the record gate of 8,044 was set. That season they reached the Second Round of the F.A. Cup by beating Colchester United 1-0, only to lose 2-1 at Reading.

The Fenmen, as the team had then become known, went in for star players and former England Internationals Jesse Pye, Bobby Langton and Billy Elliott were just three who graced Fenland Park with their skills.

The club entered the Southern League in 1958 and remained there for 12 seasons, their only honours being their Inter-Zone Group title in the first campaign and the Division One title in 1962.

In 1961 Wisbech town football club beat Chelsea FC 4-1 in a friendly match. This was a milestone in the club's history the club has defeated teams like Peterborough and King's Lynn but no team as big as Chelsea.

Floodlights were installed in 1964, while in the F.A. Cup the First Round Proper was again reached in 1959, 1960, 1965, and 1966 - when the Fenmen lost by a 10-1 record score at Brighton & Hove Albion. It took 30 years to reach that stage again!

Lack of finance caused the return to the Eastern Counties League and the title was promptly won in 1972 and again in 1977 and 1991, while the League Cup was lifted in 1971, 1972 and 1995. In 1983/84 the Club set an ECL record sequence of 37 unbeaten matches finishing runners-up on goal difference.

In the F.A. Vase, Wisbech have a proud record having reached the semi-finals twice, losing over two legs to Halesowen in 1985 and to Southall a year later. In 1988 the club reached the quarter finals losing to eventual winners Tamworth.

In 1988 the East Anglian Cup was won for the first time after twice being losing finalists, while the club have claimed the Cambs Invitation Cup a record nine times.

In February 1996, a Shareholders extraordinary meeting was held and eight new directors were elected. The new Board stated its intention was to get the Club back into the Southern League and to this end the ground was brought up to standard with a new VIP lounge and Office complex, new terracing and the floodlights improved.

Promotion was won to the Dr Martens - Midland Division in 1997 and in the first season back in the league after 27 seasons the team finished in a creditable 5th. The next two seasons the Club finished midway before two seasons of struggling to avoid relegation. In 2001, the Club won their last game to climb clear but last season lost their last four games and were relegated. The saddest aspect of this was the undeserved relegation of the Reserve side who have to enter the Cambs League.

In the first season back in the ECL the Club enjoyed a good F.A. Cup run reaching the fourth qualifying round and enjoyed a 17-match unbeaten run in the League, eventually finishing in sixth place.

By comparison, recent seasons have been very disappointing, even flirting with relegation, which is previously unheard of for the Fenmen at this level.

In season 2004-05, following the departure of management duo Roy McManus and Jackie Gallagher, Ian ‘Jigger’ Jones and Mel Mattless were bought in to steady the ship as caretaker managers, before Dick Creasey was given the job on a permanent basis in December 2004.

In October 2005 the Club applied for promotion to the reorganised Step 4 of the National League System, but this application was withdrawn in late March 2006 due to uncertainty over the timescale of the Step 4 reorganisation and delays in securing a site for a new ground.

The team eventually finished 4th in the League, beating Bury Town on Monday 24th April to secure that position.

Former King's Lynn and Fakenham Town manager Kevin Boon was appointed joint-manager in March 2007. He left the club after just four weeks. The first team finished the season in 11th place in the League.

On Wednesday 9th May 2007, Dick Creasey announced his resignation as Manager after two-and-a-half years in charge.

His replacements, appointed on Wednesday 23rd May 2007, were former manager Ian 'Jigger' Jones and Mel Matless. Both acted in a caretaker capacity for twelve games in 2004 after the departure of Jackie Gallagher and Roy McManus. Jones was Wisbech manager when the team were promoted to the Southern League in 1997 but left a month into the season. As well as first team management duties, the duo were in charge of the Reserve side in the Cambs Kershaw League in 2002-2003.

After a poor start to the 2007-08 season, including a record 9-0 league defeat to Soham Town Rangers, Jones and Mattless resigned on Thursday 27th September 2007. Roy McManus was brought in as caretaker manager and then accepted the permanent position on Wednesday 10th October 2007.

On Thursday March 2008, The Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk planning committee voted 9-3 in favour of the club's plans to build a new stadium on land west of Lynn Road on the northern outskirts of the town. The nine acre site is approximately 0.7 miles (1.12 km) from Fenland Park on land currently used for a small fruit and veg business. Planning delays mean that the new ground will not be ready until sometime during the 2008-2009 season, not 2007-2008 as originally planned.

Roy McManus resigned as manager on 29th May and was replaced by Steve Taylor, who had most recently been in charge of Haverhill Rovers.

A statement by the Board of Directors on Tuesday 8th July 2008 announced that the final game at Fenland Park would be on Saturday 6th September 2008 and after this date, home games would be played at Outwell Swifts ground in Outwell. In order to bring the ground up to the required standard, a 100-seater stand and terracing would be erected temporarily, while the floodlights removed from Fenland Park would also be installed, but would remain once the club moved to the new stadium in Lynn Road.

Current squad

External links

* [http://www.wisbechtown.co.uk Official website]

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