Cheltenham Town F.C.


Cheltenham Town F.C.
Cheltenham Town
Cheltenham Town FC logo.png
Full name Cheltenham Town Football Club
Nickname(s) The Robins
Founded 1887
Ground Abbey Business Stadium
(Whaddon Road)
Cheltenham
(Capacity: 7,066)
Chairman Paul Baker
Manager Mark Yates
League League Two
2010–11 League Two, 17th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Cheltenham Town Football Club (play /ˈɛltnəm ˈtn/) is an English football club playing in League Two, the fourth tier of English football. Founded in 1887, the team has played at four different grounds, namely Agg-Gardner's Recreation Ground, Carter's Field and now the Abbey Business Stadium, although it is more commonly known as Whaddon Road. Their nickname is The Robins. The club appointed Mark Yates on 22 December 2009 to manage the side after the departure of Martin Allen.

Cheltenham have played as high as League One, the third tier of English football, and have played a total of four seasons there. Their best FA Cup run saw them reach the last 16 (fifth round) in 2002. The last piece of silverware won by the club was the Football Conference title in 1999, when the club attained full League status for the first time. The club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA.

Contents

History

Formation

Cheltenham has a long history of football prior to The Robins. In 1849, the first use of three official referees in a match, two in field and one in tribune, was recorded in the town. However, the modern club was founded in 1887 by Albert Close White, a local teacher.

The club spent its first three decades in local football. Notable players from those days include cricketers Gilbert Jessop and brothers Charles Barnett and Edgar Barnett. In the early 1930s the club turned professional and joined the Birmingham Combination before joining the Southern League in 1935. They won promotion to the Alliance Premier League (now the Conference National) in 1985, but were relegated seven years later. They were promoted back to the Conference in 1997 and two years later gained promotion to the Football League. After two mid-table finishes in Division Three (now League Two) they won via the playoffs and were promoted to Division Two (now League One).

Cotterill era

Cheltenham Town's traditional colours

The appointment of Steve Cotterill as manager during the 1996–97 was the start of a revolution at the club. He is Cheltenham Town's most successful manager. Four months after taking charge he guided the club to runners-up spot in the Southern Football League Premier Division, but they won promotion to the Football Conference because champions Gresley Rovers were unable to meet the required ground capacity for Conference membership.

In 1997–98, Cheltenham surprised all observers by finishing runners-up in the Conference and giving champions Halifax Town a run for their money right up until the end of April. They secured a place at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, beating Southport 1–0 in front of a crowd of some 27,000, of whom 19,000 were from Cheltenham. In 1998–99 Cheltenham went one better and secured the Conference title—their passport to the football league.

After two mid-table finishes in Division Three, Cheltenham finally won promotion to Division Two (via the Division Three playoffs) at the end of the 2001–02 season. Shortly after winning promotion, Steve Cotterill left Cheltenham to pursue his career by joining Stoke City as manager.


Backwards and forwards

Meanwhile, Cheltenham replaced Cotterill with first-team coach Graham Allner who had won the Conference championship with Kidderminster Harriers in 1994. Allner and assistant manager Mike Davis, who was originally assistant to Cotterill, were sacked in January 2003, after just six months in the job, with Cheltenham hovering near the foot of Division Two. Cheltenham turned to Bobby Gould, one of the most experienced managers in English football whose exploits include an FA Cup victory with Wimbledon in 1988. Cheltenham continued to struggle, and defeat in their final game of the season condemned the club to relegation back to Division Three after just one season.

Gould resigned as Cheltenham Town manager in November 2003 and was replaced by the experienced John Ward, who has been an assistant manager with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Watford, and a manager with Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and York City.

During the 2005–06 season, a new stand for visiting fans was added (The Carlsberg Stand) and a small electronic scoreboard was installed. The club punched above its weight and finished the season in 5th, earning a place in the play-offs. In the semi-final Cheltenham beat Wycombe Wanderers 2–1 away and drew 0–0 in the second leg at Whaddon Road. In the play-off final, Cheltenham beat Grimsby Town 1–0, securing a place in League One for 2006–07. The match at the Millennium Stadium on 28 May 2006 was attended by 29,196 people, making it the club's largest ever stadium audience. However despite promotion, the average attendance did not increase as the club had hoped, though it increased to 4359. The club were knocked out of the various cup competitions in early stages and were finding it difficult to muster funds to invest in additional players. However, with the prudent guidance of chairman Paul Baker and the rest of the board of directors the club gained a stable financial position, preferring not to risk this stability by taking gambles on expensive signings.

Cheltenham opened up the 2007–08 season with a 1–0 win against Gillingham, but suffered an early exit to Southend United 4–1 from the Carling Cup. By the beginning of October, Cheltenham had failed to win at home since the opening day of the season. Results took a turn for the worst with the club going four games without a win. Following Cheltenham's 3–0 defeat to Port Vale, John Ward announced he had agreed a four year contract with League One side Carlisle United and would begin his tenure the following day on 3 October 2007. Ward said he couldn't turn down the possibility of managing a team who could soon be playing in the English Championship. He left the club lying 23rd in the league, above only one team and are now expected to struggle to avoid relegation.

Keith Downing was appointed caretaker manager until the position could be filled. Martin Allen was linked with the club, as many fans believed that Downing was the wrong choice due to his close links to Ward. Cheltenham's results after Downing took charge were mixed, which left many fans disgruntled with Downing's tactics, which appeared as one-dimensional as Ward's were.

On 25 November 2007, a sell-out Whaddon Road enjoyed a brave performance against Leeds United, which, after riding their luck, the Robins won 1–0 thanks to an 86th-minute winner by in-form striker Steven Gillespie. The result is now one of the most famous in the club's recent history. The reverse fixture was even more impressive as the Robins became the first team to complete a double over Leeds during their first visit to the third tier of English football.

In January 2008, Cheltenham won four games in a row, the first time the club had achieved this feat since joining the Football League in 1999. During these games they didn't even concede. They however narrowly lost out on two awards for that month—Manager and Player of the Month—after losing to Millwall in the final game of January.

Cheltenham's survival was secured on the final day of the season as they beat Doncaster Rovers 2–1 at Whaddon Road, denying their opposition automatic promotion.[1]

New leadership

Early in the 2008–09 season Keith Downing parted company with Cheltenham Town[2] and was replaced—within two days—by Martin Allen, who had been a candidate after Ward's departure a year earlier.[3] Allen's team started poorly with a club-record seven defeats in a row, part of a 15-game run without a victory. The club narrowly avoided administration, and the 10-point penalty that would go with it, before Allen revealed that all the players at the club were up for sale.[4]

The season finished on a low note: even though Cheltenham had used 51 players, they had conceded over 100 goals in all competitions, and they were relegated back to League Two on the penultimate day of the season after three seasons in League One.

As the 2009–10 season started in July, Allen sold a few players and brought in new ones, including Robins legend Julian Alsop and former Tottenham Hotspur winger David Hutton. Although they would be thought of as one of the favourites to make an immediate return to League One after being relegated, most bloggers and league analysts said that a mid-table finish would be the most realistic scenario.[5] Cheltenham won their first match of the season against Grimsby Town 2–1, but fell dramatically down the table soon after. On 20 October, Martin Allen was put on gardening leave amid allegations he racially abused a nightclub bouncer, and assistant manager John Schofield took temporary charge. Allen was formally cleared of misconduct but still left the club by mutual consent in early December. Cheltenham put out an advert for a new manager, which attracted "healthy interest".

Kidderminster boss Mark Yates was appointed manager on 22 December 2009. Neil Howarth, Yates' assistant at Kidderminster, also joined the League Two side as first-team coach. Cheltenham continued to struggle through the rest of the season, only managing to avoid relegation on the final day of the season, although they finished four points ahead of the relegated sides. John Schofield, who was in caretaker charge of the club while Allen was on gardening leave, returned to the post of assistant manager until the end of the season.

Yates, ahead of his first full season with Cheltenham, revamped the squad, releasing eight players,[6] including defender Shane Duff, who had just completed his tenth year with the club.

Players

As of 31 May 2011.[7]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Scott Brown
2 England DF Keith Lowe
3 England DF Danny Andrew
6 England DF Steve Elliott (Vice-captain)
7 England MF Marlon Pack
8 Wales MF Josh Low
9 Scotland FW Darryl Duffy
10 England FW Jeff Goulding
11 England MF Brian Smikle
12 England GK Jack Butland (on loan from Birmingham City)
14 England FW James Spencer (on loan from Huddersfield Town)
15 Republic of Ireland DF Alan Bennett (Captain)
No. Position Player
16 England MF Russell Penn
17 England FW Theo Lewis
19 England DF Luke Garbutt (on loan from Everton)
20 England FW Ethan Moore
21 England MF Bagasan Graham
22 Portugal DF Sido Jombati
23 Wales FW Kaid Mohamed
24 England DF Harry Hooman
25 England MF Luke Summerfield
32 England Charlie Hitchings
40 England GK Steve Book

On loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
4 England MF Dave Bird (on loan to Kidderminster Harriers)
5 England DF Andy Gallinagh (on loan to Bath City)
No. Position Player
18 England DF Kyle Haynes (on loan to Hednesford Town)

Timeline

Southern League History

Season Southern League Division Pos P W D L F A GD Pts FA Cup FA Trophy Notes
1935–36 Southern League Western Section 6th 16 6 2 8 32 28 +4 14 Played in two Southern League sections
1935–36 Southern League Central Section 9th 20 5 5 10 32 45 -13 15 R1 Played in two Southern League sections
1936–37 Southern League 11th 30 10 4 16 61 70 -9 24 QR4
1937–38 Southern League 11th 34 13 5 16 72 68 +4 31 R1
1938–39 Southern League 13th 44 16 9 19 76 105 -29 41 R1
1939–40 Southern League 7th 13 3 2 8 21 38 -17 8 Season interrupted by outbreak of World War II
World War II
1945–46 Southern League 4th 18 9 8 1 35 54 -19 22 R1 Statistics for this season are incomplete
1946–47 Southern League 9th 32 14 3 14 68 75 -7 32 R1
1947–48 Southern League 10th 34 13 9 12 71 71 0 35 R2
1948–49 Southern League 9th 42 19 14 9 71 64 +7 47 QR4
1949–50 Southern League 20th 46 13 11 22 75 96 -21 37 QR4
1950–51 Southern League 6th 44 21 8 15 91 61 +30 50 R1
1951–52 Southern League 18th 42 15 4 23 59 65 -6 34 QR4
1952–53 Southern League 13th 42 15 11 16 70 89 -19 41 QR2
1953–54 Southern League 21st 42 11 12 19 56 83 -27 34 QR1
1954–55 Southern League 4th 42 21 8 13 85 72 +13 50 QR1
1955–56 Southern League 2nd 42 25 6 11 82 53 +29 56 QR1
1956–57 Southern League 4th 42 19 15 8 73 46 +27 53 R1
1957–58 Southern League 6th 42 21 10 11 115 66 +49 52 QR1
1958–59 North West Section 4th 34 20 4 10 65 47 +18 44 PR
1959–60 Premier Division 4th 42 21 6 15 82 68 +14 48 R1 Southern League two division structure created
1960–61 Premier Division 17th 42 15 7 20 81 82 -1 37 QR4
1961–62 Premier Division 22nd 42 9 7 26 48 86 -38 25 QR4 Finished last in table and relegated to First Division
1962–63 First Division 9th 38 18 7 13 83 52 +31 43 R1
1963–64 First Division 3rd 42 25 10 7 91 49 +42 60 QR3
1964–65 Premier Division 12th 42 15 11 16 72 78 -6 41 QR4
1965–66 Premier Division 18th 42 13 9 20 69 99 -30 35 QR4
1966–67 Premier Division 13th 42 16 11 15 60 71 -11 43 QR4
1967–68 Premier Division 4th 42 23 7 12 97 67 +30 53 QR4
1968–69 Premier Division 19th 42 15 5 22 55 64 -9 35 R1
1969–70 First Division 10th 42 20 5 17 78 81 -3 45 R1 R1 FA Trophy created
1970–71 First Division 15th 38 8 15 15 44 58 -14 31 R1 QR3
1971–72 First Division North 3rd 34 20 4 10 72 51 +21 44 QR4 QR3
1972–73 First Division North 3rd 42 24 8 10 87 47 +40 56 QR3 R1
1973–74 First Division North 3rd 42 24 8 10 75 51 +24 56 Did not participate in FA Cup or FA Trophy rounds
1974–75 First Division North 6th 42 21 9 12 72 53 +19 51 R1 R2
1975–76 First Division North 5th 42 20 10 12 87 55 +32 50 QR4 R1
1976–77 First Division North 2nd 38 23 8 7 85 35 +50 54 QR4 R1
1977–78 Premier Division 14th 42 12 14 16 43 52 -9 38 QR2 R1
1978–79 Premier Division 18th 42 11 10 21 38 72 -34 32 QR4 R3 Not invited to join the Alliance Premier League

Football League System History

Season Division Pos P W D L F A GD Pts FA Cup FA Trophy Notes Manager
1979–80 6 Southern League Midland Division 19th 42 13 5 24 49 70 -21 31 QR2 R2
1980–81 6 Southern League Division 1 Midland 8th 42 18 12 12 70 59 +11 48 QR2 R1
1981–82 6 Southern League Division 1 Midland 16th 42 11 14 17 65 68 -3 36 QR4 R1 Relegated after reorganisation of Southern League
1982–83 7 Southern League Midland Division 1st 32 22 5 5 65 29 +36 71 QR4 R1 Promoted to Southern Football League Premier Division
1983–84 6 Southern League Premier Division 8th 38 16 7 15 63 56 +7 55 QR4 QR3
1984–85 6 Southern League Premier Division 1st 38 24 5 9 83 41 +42 77 QR3 R2 Promoted to Alliance Premier League
1985–86 5 Alliance Premier League 11th 42 16 11 15 69 69 0 46 QR1 QF
1986–87 5 Conference National 11th 42 16 13 13 64 50 +14 61 QR1 R3
1987–88 5 Conference National 13th 42 11 20 11 64 67 -3 53 R1 QF
1988–89 5 Conference National 15th 40 12 12 16 55 58 -3 48 QR2 R2
1989–90 5 Conference National 11th 42 16 11 15 58 60 -2 59 QR3 R3
1990–91 5 Conference National 16th 42 12 12 18 54 72 -18 48 R1 R3
1991–92 5 Conference National 21st 42 10 13 19 56 82 -26 43 QR3 R2 Ally Robertson
1992–93 6 Southern League Premier Division 2nd 40 21 10 9 76 40 +36 73 R2 R1 Lindsay Parsons
1993–94 6 Southern League Premier Division 2nd 42 21 12 9 67 38 +29 75 QR4 R3 Lindsay Parsons
1994–95 6 Southern League Premier Division 2nd 42 25 11 6 87 39 +48 86 QR4 R2 Lindsay Parsons
1995–96 6 Southern League Premier Division 3rd 42 21 11 10 76 57 +19 74 QR2 R1 Chris Robinson
1996–97 6 Southern League Premier Division 2nd 42 21 11 10 76 44 +32 74 R1 R1 Promoted to Conference after Gresley F.C. ground failed Conference requirements Chris Robinson/Steve Cotterill
1997–98 5 Conference National 2nd 42 23 9 10 63 43 +20 78 R3 Winners 1997–98 FA Trophy winners (def. Southport 1–0) Steve Cotterill
1998–99 5 Conference National 1st 42 22 14 6 71 36 +35 80 R1 SF Promoted to The Football League for the first time Steve Cotterill

Football League History

Season Division Pos P W D L F A GD Pts League Cup FA Cup Notes Manager
1999–00 4 Third Division 8th 76th 46 20 10 16 50 42 +8 70 R1 R1 Steve Cotterill
2000–01 4 Third Division 9th 77th 46 18 14 14 59 52 +7 68 R1 R2 Steve Cotterill
2001–02 4 Third Division 4th 72nd 46 21 15 10 66 49 +17 78 R1 R5 Highest position achieved in FA Cup Steve Cotterill
2002–03 3 Second Division 21st 65th 46 10 18 18 53 68 -15 48 R2 R1 Graham Allner/Bobby Gould
2003–04 4 Third Division 14th 82nd 46 14 14 18 57 71 -14 56 R1 R3 Bobby Gould/John Ward
2004–05 4 League Two 14th 82nd 46 16 12 18 51 54 -3 60 R1 R1 John Ward
2005–06 4 League Two 5th 73rd 46 19 15 12 65 53 +12 72 R2 R4 Promoted to League One after play-offs John Ward
2006–07 3 League One 17th 61st 46 15 9 22 49 61 -12 54 R2 R1 Highest position achieved in English football system John Ward
2007–08 3 League One 19th 63rd 46 13 12 21 42 64 -22 51 R1 R1 Keith Downing
2008–09 3 League One 23rd 67th 46 9 12 25 51 91 -40 39 R2 R3 Worst goal difference and win percentage (19.6%) in club history Keith Downing/Martin Allen
2009–10 4 League Two 22nd 90th 46 10 18 18 54 71 -17 48 R1 R1 Martin Allen/John Schofield/Mark Yates
2010–11 4 League Two 17th 85th 46 13 13 20 56 77 -21 52 R1 R2 Mark Yates
Champions Runners-up Promoted Relegated

Honours

  • FA Trophy Winners (1997-98)
  • Football Conference Champions (1998-99); Runners Up (1997-98)
  • Division Three Play-off Winners (2001-02, 2005-06)
  • Southern League Champions (1984-85); Runners Up (1955-56, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1994-95, 1996-97)
  • Southern League Midland Division Champions (1982-83)
  • Southern League Division 1 North Runners-Up (1976-77)
  • Gloucestershire County Cup - Winners 32 times
  • Leamington Hospital Cup - Winners (1934-35)
  • Midland Floodlit Cup - Winners (1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88)

Notable former players

  • England Steve Cotterill - played non-professionally for the club before embarking on a professional career, later became manager taking Cheltenham from the Southern League up to the Football League. The most successful manager in the clubs history.
  • Republic of Ireland Martin Devaney - made 200 appearances for his hometown team and is currently the club's joint top scorer in the Football League with 38 goals.
  • Northern Ireland Michael Duff - made nearly 250 appearances for Cheltenham. His younger brother, Shane, also made nearly 200 appearances in a 10 year stay.
  • England Jerry Gill - made 180 appearances for the Robins, during which he was captain.
  • England Steven Gillespie - holds the record as the most expensive player sold, for £400,000 in 2008.
  • Scotland Andy Gray - Scottish international footballer, ended playing career with Cheltenham.
  • England Neil Grayson - Robins legend who spent five seasons at the club. Scored 17 goals in Cheltenham's promotion to the Football League in the 1999/2000 season.
  • England Shane Higgs - goalkeeper who was first choice from 2002 to 2009.
  • Northern Ireland Grant McCann - currently the most expensive player bought by Cheltenham, for £50,000 in 2003.
  • England Bob Taylor - former West Bromwich Albion legend spent a season with the Robins in 2003/04.
  • England Jamie Victory - spent 11 years at Cheltenham, from 1996 to 2007.
  • England Clive Walker - former Chelsea player, who currently holds the record as Cheltenham's oldest player, at 42 (in 1999).

Kit sponsors and manufacturers

Year Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor Back of Shirt Sponsor Short Sponsor
1977–1978 National Express
1982–1985 Umbro
1985–1986 Whitbread
1986–1988 Henson Duraflex
1992–1993 Technik Gulf Oil
1997–1999 Errea Endsleigh Insurance
1999–2004 Towergate Insurance
2004–2008 Bence Building Merchants
2008– Mira Showers
2009–2011 PSU Technology Group
2011– Barr Stadia Gloucestershire Echo

Rivals

Gloucester City. Traditional rivals, although now several leagues apart. Most supporters who have followed the Robins since the non-league days still have a hatred for the "Tigers" and consider them to be the enemy. This rivalry has died down somewhat given Cheltenham's rise up the leagues and the majority of the current fan base have not seen the teams play. Both teams currently share the same ground at Whaddon Road.

Kidderminster Harriers. Although not considered by some as a "real" derby match due to distance (34 miles apart), there is a genuine bad feeling between the two sets of supporters. Fixtures between these two teams normally require a higher than normal police presence due to the level of ill-feeling.

Local rivals

Other rivalries

Club records

  • Record transfer paid
  • Record transfer received
  • Record attendance
  • 10,389 vs Blackpool, FA Cup 3rd round, 13 January 1934 (game played at Cheltenham Athletic Ground)
  • Record attendance at Whaddon Road
  • 8,326 vs Reading, FA Cup 1st round, 17 November 1956
  • Record win
  • 12-0 vs Chippenham Rovers, FA Cup 3rd qualifying round, 2 November 1935
  • Record defeat
  • Record appearances
  • Roger Thorndale - 702 (1958-1976)
  • Record goalscorer
  • Dave Lewis - 290 (in 3 spells between 1967-1983) although Reg Smith scored well over 300 in the club's amateur era
  • Record goals in a season
  • Dave Lewis, 53 in all competitions (1974-1975)
  • Youngest player
  • Paul Collicutt
  • Youngest player in Football League
  • Kyle Haynes, vs Oldham Athletic, March 2009
  • Oldest player

Notes

Sources

External links


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