Wealdstone F.C.

Wealdstone F.C.

Infobox Football club
clubname = Wealdstone

fullname = Wealdstone Football Club
nickname = The Stones, The Royals
founded = 1899
ground = Grosvenor Vale,
capacity = TBC (250 seated)
chairman = Howard Krais
manager = Gordon Bartlett
league = Isthmian League Premier Division
season = 2007/08
position = Isthmian League Premier Division

Wealdstone Football Club is an English semi-professional football club based in Ruislip [http://www.wfcsc.co.uk/page.php?HomeGround.html] , in the County of Middlesex. The club are currently members of the Isthmian League Premier Division. They play in blue and white quartered shirts and are nicknamed "The Stones", or "The Royals".


Early History

There were, in fact, two separate Wealdstone Football Clubs in existence as far back as the 19th century, but the present club was formed at the start of the 1899-1900 season. They began with a friendly match on 7 October 1899, winning 6-1 at Northwood. Unfortunately, just 7 years later, the club were forced to close down, largely through lack of interest among both players and fans.

They reformed in time for the 1908-09 season, enjoying a successful period before another closedown during World War I, which claimed the lives of a great many of its members. From the 1920s onwards, though now drawing very sizeable crowds for amateur football, the club had little success on the pitch until the 1950s.

Wealdstone took part in the first televised broadcast of a football match in 1946 when they played at Barnet in an Athenian League game. They also participated in the first live showing of an FA Cup tie in 1949 v Colchester United at Lower Mead. Fact|date=December 2007

Finally, in 1952 they won their first major trophy when they were champions of the Athenian League. The club then began a period of sustained growth, winning three Middlesex Senior Cup titles, in 1959, 1963 and 1964. Major national success was achieved in 1966 when the club won the FA Amateur Cup at Wembley Stadium, beating local rivals Hendon

Great success followed by disaster

The club decided to turn semi-professional in 1971, and the Southern League Division One title was won in 1974.

The early 1980s proved to be the club's most successful period to date, to the extent that they became the top non league side in the entire country. Highly talented full back Stuart Pearce was sold to Coventry City and went on to become a stalwart for the England national side. The club won the both the Southern League Championship and Southern League Cup in 1982. In 1985 they became the first ever club to achieve the non league "double", captained by no nonsense centre half Paul Bowgett they won both the FA Trophy, beating Boston United at Wembley Stadium, and also the Gola League (now the Conference National). The club played at Wembley in three finals, and won all of them.

With an experienced and talented squad, which contained future Wimbledon and Wales midfielder Vinnie Jones, the club confidently applied for election into the Football League (the voting system for entry into the Football League was then in its penultimate season, prior to automatic promotion as now happens). However, they lost out, and with a change of managership in 1987 and an aging team they were relegated from the Conference three years later, back into the Southern League.

At this point, the club were then forced to move from their Lower Mead stadium in central Harrow when the then chairman, Alan Clifton, controversially sold the land to Tesco supermarkets in dubious circumstances with the club itself receiving very little money for the sale.

Ultimately, this proved financially disastrous for the club, and left them homeless for the next seventeen years. The club's new owners then entered into a prestigious but extremely costly two year ground share agreement at Watford, a move which may have destroyed the club entirely had it not been for the fund raising efforts of its fans. A much cheaper ground share at Yeading followed, and then a ten year period sharing with Edgware Town In 2005, they moved yet again to share with Northwood

The Wilderness Years

Throughout this long period of homelessness, the club has been run on a very tight budget because of its minimal income sources, as the massive financial damage caused by the sale of the old ground is slowly repaired.

On the pitch, although the team initially slipped rapidly downwards as a result of the severe lack of funds, the decline was eventually reversed. The club requested that the Football Association move it from the Southern League into the equal standard but less geographically wide-spread Isthmian League, in order to save on travelling expenses. The FA agreed to this but insisted that the club join the Isthmian League at its lowest level, which effectively meant the club voluntarily taking two steps down in playing standard.

The Isthmian League Division 3 title was won in 1997, and then promotion from Division 2 was gained the following season. In 1999, the club finished third in Division One and thereby earned promotion to the Premier Division. However, this was frustratingly denied to them when Edgware Town's ground, at which Wealdstone were then tenants, failed a ground grading inspection. In 2004, the club finally returned to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League, having won the First Division Play-Off Final against Dulwich Hamlet on penalties.

With very little money to spend on wages to attract players, the club found itself relying on a large number of inexperienced youngsters, but narrowly avoided relegation in both 2005 and 2006.

In the summer of 2006, following non league re-organization, the club were very reluctantly reassigned back to Southern League for the 2006-7 season.

A New Home Ground

Since being forced to leave Lower Mead, the club and its supporters have sought to be in a position to afford the building of a new home stadium within the London Borough of Harrow. This plan finally found substance when a suitable site was found at the Prince Edward Playing Fields in Canons Park, a facility which had fallen into disuse and disrepair. Planning permission for a new stadium with substantial community amenities was attained, and partial funding given from the national lottery.

Construction began in 2003, although the project has been dogged with various financial problems and the work was halted in 2004, when a private company paying the builders went into liquidation. However, good progress has been made in sourcing alternative funding, and it was hoped that the stadium would be completed and open in 2007...

In early 2008, the club issued a [http://www.wealdstonefc.co.uk/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=78&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0 press release] stating that the chairman and vice-chairman of Wealdstone FC had acquired a majority shareholding in Ruislip Manor Sports and Social Club (RMSSC), the sports club that owns the lease to the football stadium, currently used by Ruislip Manor and Wealdstone's Youth Team. With the ground share agreement at Northwood coming to a close and no finish date in site for the club's long term Prince Edward Playing Field development, Wealdstone intend investing in the Grosvenor Vale stadium to upgrade the playing facilities as a priority in order to meet the necessary ground grading requirements to play Isthmian League Premier Division football in the 2008-09 season.

So a new ground finally after 17 years for Wealdstone to call their own, opening in August 2008 being their stadium for the forseable future until the Prince Edward stadium is completed.

Current squad

"NB Fixed squad numbers are not used in the Isthmian League"

External links

Some unofficial sites

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