Eastleigh F.C.

Last updated

Eastleigh
Eastleigh fc.png
Full nameEastleigh Football Club
Nickname(s)The Spitfires
Founded1946;75 years ago (1946)
as Swaythling Athletic
Ground Ten Acres
Capacity5,192 (2,700 seated)
Manager Ben Strevens
League National League
2020–21 National League, 9th of 22
Website Club website

Eastleigh Football Club is a professional association football club based in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England. They currently compete in the National League , the fifth tier of English football, and play their home matches at The Silverlake Stadium.

Contents

History

Formation to Wessex League (1946–1986)

The club was formed on 22 May 1946 by Derik Brooks and a group of friends in the Fleming Arms public house in Swaythling, Southampton and originally known as Swaythling Athletic, which then changed to Swaythling. The club began playing home matches firstly on Southampton Common and then at ‘Westfield’ in Swaythling. In 1950 they joined the Hampshire League. In keeping with their early progress, the club moved to a new ground at Ten Acres in 1957 – which remains their home to this day. In 1980 the club were renamed Eastleigh. Eastleigh were consistently one of the stronger teams in the top tier of the Hampshire League, Division One, in the early 1980s and they achieved their highest final position of 4th (three times: in 1982, 1984 and 1985.) Their first match in the FA Cup was a 2–1 success against Southern League side Poole Town in 1981. They went on to beat Melksham Town in the next round before succumbing 2–4 to another Southern League side, Dorchester Town. [1]

Wessex League (1986–2002)

In 1986 Eastleigh F.C. were accepted as one of the founding members of the Wessex League and managed an 8th-place finish in their first season in 1986–1987. Eastleigh didn't manage a top seven finish until the 1995–96 season when a 4th-place finish was achieved, the first of six consecutive top-seven finishes. Paul Doswell joined the club in 2002 as manager and oversaw three successive promotions.

Rise up the leagues (2002–2005)

In 2002–03 they won the Wessex League and were promoted to Division One East of the Southern League. After finishing fourth in their first season, the club were promoted due to the formation of the Conference North and South taking clubs from the division above, and were transferred into the Premier Division of the Isthmian League.

The club finished third in its first season in the Premier Division, qualifying for the promotion play-offs. After beating Braintree Town 2–0 in the semi-final, they were promoted to the Conference South after a 2–1 victory over Leyton in the final. The club also won the Russell Cotes cup, beating Gosport Borough 3–1 in the final.

Conference South (2005–2014)

Eastleigh's first game in the Conference South was a 1–0 defeat to Hayes. Eastleigh finished their first season in the Conference South in a creditable eighth place. They narrowly missed out on a play-off place in the 2007–08 season coming sixth after a final day defeat at Thurrock (4–1). In 2008–09, they finished third, but lost to Hayes & Yeading United in the play-off semi-finals despite holding a 4–0 advantage at one stage during the first leg. In the 2009–10 season, Eastleigh reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time narrowly losing to Barrow (2–1).

The ownership of the club changed in late 2011. On 26 November 2011, following a meeting of the board, it was announced that an offer from Bridle Insurance Limited for the majority shareholding of the club had been recommended for acceptance by the current shareholders. Bridle Insurance were then the primary sponsors of Oxford United. [2] Chief executive Stewart Donald and chief operations officer Neil Fox would both come on to the Eastleigh board as directors, with Paul Murray remaining as chairman.

The takeover by Bridle Insurance was eventually confirmed when the club announced the company had acquired the club's shares on 1 February 2012. [3] On 23 March 2012, chairman Paul Murray stood down from his post. Murray had formally stood down as chairman when the club was sold to Bridle Insurance, but had remained at the club in a non-executive chairman role. Mick Geddes was later appointed as his successor. [4]

On 16 May 2012, Eastleigh won their first silverware for seven years, beating Totton 2–0 in the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup.

On Tuesday 11 September 2012, following three successive league defeats, the last 4–0 away to newly promoted side Billericay Town, the club announced, following a meeting between manager Ian Baird and Stewart Donald, that it had been agreed that Ian Baird would leave the club with immediate effect. [5] Baird's replacement was announced the following day as ex-Stevenage Borough manager Richard Hill. Hill has also had spells assisting John Gregory at both Wycombe Wanderers and QPR, and Brian Little at Aston Villa. He has also been employed as assistant manager at Gillingham, Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town. [6]

Eastleigh came close to achieving promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time during the 2012–13 season, by making the Conference South play-offs through finishing 4th in the league. After initially losing the first leg of the semi-final against Dover Athletic at home 3–1, Eastleigh overturned this with a 2–0 away win in the second leg, so the match went to penalties, with Eastleigh losing 4–2. [7] Eastleigh won the Conference South in 2013–14, sealing the title in front of a crowd of over 1,500 on 18 April 2014 when they beat Basingstoke Town 2–1 [8] and achieved promotion to the Conference Premier for the first time in the club's history for the 2014–15 season.

Conference Premier / National League (2014–)

Eastleigh's first game in the Conference Premier was a 3–0 victory at Nuneaton Town. Their second game was their first ever live televised game on BT Sport; [9] Eastleigh beat Aldershot Town 1–0 with an injury-time winning goal. The 2014–15 season also saw Eastleigh's second appearance in the FA Cup 1st round proper, where they reached the second round for the first time, beating Lincoln City in the first round with a last-minute goal. [10] Eastleigh lost 2–1 at Southport in their first ever FA Cup second-round fixture. [11] Eastleigh spent their entire first season in the top half of the league and enjoyed an unbeaten run at home until into the new year. As home form dipped their away form soared, the club picking up victories at Braintree, Chester and most notably Bristol Rovers, whom they beat 2–1. [12] Eastleigh featured again on television with a convincing 4–0 home win over Macclesfield. [13] Eastleigh eventually secured a 4th-place finish after five consecutive wins culminating in a 2–1 win at home to Kidderminster in front of a record crowd of 4,024. The playoffs proved a bridge too far for Eastleigh, who were beaten 2–1 at the Silverlake Stadium and 3–0 at Blundell Park by Grimsby Town to lose 5–1 on aggregate.

After a run of just one point from five games, on 23 September 2015, Richard Hill resigned as Eastleigh manager. Chris Todd was quickly appointed caretaker manager, and after three victories from four matches he was confirmed as the new manager [14] on 15 October 2015. Eastleigh had a fine run of form under Todd and rose to third place in the league table by Christmas. [15] Meanwhile, the club was gaining national coverage for its FA Cup exploits. Eastleigh travelled to Crewe in the 1st round and achieved their first ever giant killing, courtesy of a 1–0 win with a Ben Strevens penalty. [16] In the second round, Eastleigh won 2–0 at minnows Stourbridge to record their first ever appearance in the Third round. On 9 January, Eastleigh drew 1–1 with Bolton. The game took place after much speculation it would be postponed, and sold out giving Eastleigh a new record attendance of 5,025. Ten days later Eastleigh travelled to Bolton and lost 3–2, having led 1–0 through a Joe Partington strike. As Eastleigh exited the FA Cup, league form dipped and they eventually finished seventh, missing out on a play-off place.

After just four games of the 2016–17 season, with Eastleigh languishing in 16th place, Chris Todd was relieved of his duties as Eastleigh manager. [17] Ronnie Moore was appointed and enjoyed an unbeaten run to start his time at Eastleigh. On 4 October, Eastleigh beat Maidstone 3–0 [18] to move up to 5th in the league after offering free admission for all, which attracted a crowd of 4,114. However Eastleigh's form dipped and Ronnie Moore left the club on 30 November with personal circumstances cited. [19] Eastleigh promptly appointed Martin Allen, who had won the league with Barnet in 2015. Unfortunately, Allen had little success with Eastleigh and was sacked on 22 February after just two wins from fourteen games. [20]

Whilst Eastleigh struggled in the league they again enjoyed success in the FA Cup. A first round home tie with Swindon Town was selected by the BBC for live coverage, [21] and Eastleigh drew 1–1. Eastleigh won the reply 3–1 at the County Ground. Eastleigh again required a replay to beat FC Halifax Town in the second round triumphing 2–0 at the Shay having drawn 3–3 at the Silverlake. In the third round Eastleigh travelled to Brentford, followed by a record ever away following of nearly 1,500 fans. [22] Eastleigh were 5–1 down at half-time and lost the game 5–1.

Richard Hill was brought in as director of football and in April 2017 was announced as the new Eastleigh manager for the 2017–18 season with Andy Hessenthaler as his assistant. Eastleigh had a poor start to the season and, on 18 December, Hessenthaler was appointed manager with Hill reverting to director of football. Eastleigh finished the season 14th, missing out on a top half placing for the second year in a row.

The summer of 2018 brought change off the field as Chairman Stewart Donald left for League One side Sunderland. His share of Eastleigh F.C. was transferred to Mark Jewell, the new Chairman, and 3 other directors, Kenny Amor, Tom Coffey and Joanne Sprigg.

In October 2018, following 4 victories manager Andy Hessenthaler left to join Dover Athletic. Ben Strevens was appointed as the new manager. Some good form in early 2019 contributed to Eastleigh finishing the season 7th and in the playoffs. Eastleigh faced a tie at Wrexham and won 1–0 in extra time through a superb Danny Hollands strike. In the semi-final, Eastleigh travelled to Salford. The game finished 1–1 after 120 minutes. Eastleigh led early in the penalty shoot out but eventually lost 4–3 after Chris Zebroski missed the decisive penalty.

The 2019–2020 season was shortened by 9 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eastleigh spent most of the season in the middle of the table, eventually finishing 16th. However in the FA Cup, Eastleigh again reached the Second Round, having beaten Welling in the Fourth Qualifying Round (0-0, 4-2r) and Stourbridge in the First Round (2-2, 3-0r). Eastleigh faced Crewe Alexandra in a televised game at the Silverlake, drawing 1–1 with their League Two opponents thanks to a late equaliser from Southampton loanee Marcus Barnes. The Spifires lost the replay at Crewe 3–1.

Stadium

Eastleigh moved to Ten Acres in 1957 from their previous ground, Walnut Avenue. The club's record attendance is 5,025 for an FA Cup third round match against Bolton Wanderers on 9 January 2016. [23]

In 1976 floodlights were added to Ten Acres.

In 2004, following promotion to the Isthmian League Premier Division, the old wooden stand was knocked down, and a new 352-seat grandstand was built on the half-way line stretching for just under a third of the pitch. Behind the motorway end hard standing was hard pitchside standing with a cover: this was named the Silverlake Stand. In 2006, the roof was widened across the Silverlake Stand to cover the whole width of the pitch.

Until 2006, the area opposite the grandstand was just hard standing backing into tall fir trees. During the summer of 2006, a metal back and roof were added, along with an electronic scoreboard on the roof of the Premier Telecom stand.

In 2009, 150 seats were added to the middle of the Silverlake Stand to give Eastleigh the necessary ground grading to compete in the Conference South play-offs.

The ground was, again, extensively redeveloped during 2014. New pitch-side fencing was installed following damage to the previous fencing during Eastleigh's championship winning game against Basingstoke. The former East Stand at Sandy Park (home of Exeter Chiefs RFC) was rebuilt along the Premier Telecom side of the ground as well as behind the clubhouse goal, providing a covered terraced accommodation for 2,000 spectators. On 2 December 2014, the newly completed 2,290-seater South Stand was opened for the first time in a Conference Premier game against Dartford, with the club allowing spectators in for free to celebrate the occasion. [24]

In early 2018, the 352-seat grandstand was extended to bring its capacity to 900 seats. This brought the stadium's capacity to 5,500.

Club colours, nickname and mascot

Eastleigh's colours are blue and white. They play in predominantly blue shirts with a white trim. They have white shorts and blue socks.

The club were without an official nickname until 2005 when a competition was run amongst the fans and "Spitfires" was chosen by supporter Mike Wimbridge. The Spitfire aeroplane was built in Southampton and first flown from Eastleigh Aerodrome, now Southampton Airport.

After the club gained its official nickname the club had an irregular mascot, Sammy the Spitfire, who was a dog. However, in 2015 a new mascot was selected, Brooksy the Bear, in honour of Mr Derik Brooks, who founded the club in 1946.

Rivalries

In Eastleigh's earlier Wessex League days they had rivalries with Sholing Sports, Hamble as well as a continued rivalry with A.F.C. Totton, who beat them 2–1 in the Wessex League cup final in the 2002–2003 season. As Eastleigh rose through the leagues their main rivals became Salisbury City whom they enjoyed a 4–0 victory over in the 2003–04 season. They have also had a rivalry with Havant & Waterlooville in recent years, largely sparked by the appointment of Ian Baird as Eastleigh manager in 2007.

As Eastleigh joined the Conference it lost any league games to teams within a radius of 40 miles, but regularly contested the Hampshire Derby with Aldershot Town.

Former players

Amongst the players who have played for Eastleigh and went on to play in The Football League are:

Current squad

As of 10 April 2021 [25]

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

No.Pos.NationPlayer
1 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Joe McDonnell
2 DF Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Joe Partington
3 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Michael Green
4 MF Flag of Jersey.svg  Jersey Cavaghn Miley
5 DF Ulster Banner.svg  NIR Pierce Bird
6 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Andrew Boyce
7 MF Flag of Sierra Leone.svg  SLE Abdulai Bell-Baggie
8 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Payne
9 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Dan Smith
10 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tyrone Barnett
11 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Sam Smart
12 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Callum Baughan
No.Pos.NationPlayer
13 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Ross Flitney
14 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tom Bearwish
15 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Alex Wynter
16 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ben Scorey
17 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Joe Tomlinson
18 FW Flag of Scotland.svg  SCO Ben House
19 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Danny Hollands
20 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ryan Hill
21 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Lewis Beale
22 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Adam Marriott
24 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tom Blair
31 GK Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  WAL Charlie Philpott

Non-playing staff

According to Club website [26]

Notable managers

NameNationalityFromToPWDLGFGAGDWin% [27] Honours
Jenner Brown [28] Flag of England.svg  England 1982/831983/84TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Dick Donohoe [28] Flag of England.svg  England 1984/851986/87TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Tony Noble [28] Flag of England.svg  England 1987/881989/90TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Dave Saunders [29] Flag of England.svg  England unknownJune 1990TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Don Gowans [29] Flag of England.svg  England June 1990Mid way through 1994/95 seasonTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Roger Sherwood [28] Flag of England.svg  England Mid way through 1994/95 season1996/97TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Ray Light [28] Flag of England.svg  England 1997/981998/99TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Derek Holloway [28] Flag of England.svg  England 1999/20002000/01TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Trevor ParkerFlag of England.svg  England TBCNovember 2001 [30] TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
John Diaper (Caretaker Manager)Flag of England.svg  England November 2001 [30] 1 May 2002TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC
Paul DoswellFlag of England.svg  England 1 May 2002 [30] 4 December 2006 [31] TBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC2003 Wessex League title, 2004 Southern League Eastern Division 4th (promotion), 2005 Isthmian league playoff winners, Russell Cotes cup winners
Jason Dodd Flag of England.svg  England 4 December 2006 [31] 9 July 20072791173524+1133.3%
David Hughes Flag of England.svg  England 9 July 20073 October 2007116051615+154.5%
Ian Baird Flag of England.svg  England 3 October 200711 September 20122551185087452370+8246.3%2012 Hampshire Senior Cup
Richard Hill Flag of England.svg  England 12 September 201223 September 2015160882745290200+9055%2014 Conference South champions
Chris Todd (Caretaker)Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 23 September 201515 October 2015430187+175%
Chris Todd Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 15 October 201517 August 2016421811135547+842.9%
Ben Strevens (Caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 17 August 201622 August 20161010000%
Ronnie Moore Flag of England.svg  England 22 August 201630 November 20162211744022+1850%
Martin Allen Flag of England.svg  England 1 December 201622 February 2017152581628−1213%
Richard Hill Flag of England.svg  England 22 February 201717 December 2017411114165163−1227%
Andy Hessenthaler Flag of England.svg  England 18 December 20178 October 201839158164863-1538%
Ben Strevens (Caretaker)Flag of England.svg  England 8 October 20185 November 2018512245-120%
Ben Strevens Flag of England.svg  England 5 November 2018Present91392527140126+1443%
As of 16:48 16 December 2020

(Up to and including match vs Maidenhead United on 05 December 2020)
(Above stats include matches in the League, Play-Offs and all rounds in the FA Cup, FA Trophy, Hampshire Senior Cup and Conference League Cup)

League and cup history

Earlier records can be found at http://www.fchd.info/EASTLEIG.HTM

Season
League Contested Level
Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
League Position
Avg. Home
Attendance1
FA Cup
FA Trophy
Leading scorer
1994–95 Wessex League 842149196673−75114th of 22 [32] PR [32]  
1995–96 Wessex League 840211368350+33764th of 21 [32] PR [32]  
1996–97 Wessex League 840198137156+15657th of 21 [32] PR [32]  
1997–98 Wessex League 838201177431+43714th of 20 [32] PR [32]  
1998–99 Wessex League 83822886943+26744th of 20 [32] PR [32]  
1999–00 Wessex League 840208126746+21687th of 21 [32] 1Q [32]  
2000–01 Wessex League 8442310118748+39797th of 23 [32] PR [32]  
2001–02 Wessex League 844189179171+206313th of 23 [32] 2Q [32]  
2002–03 Wessex League 842327311532+831031st of 22
Promoted [32]
2Q [32]  
2003–04 Southern Football League Eastern Division 742274118840+48824th of 22 [33] 252 [34] PR [35] R2 [36] TBC
2004–05 Isthmian League Premier Division a742221378449+35793rd of 22
Promoted [37]
338 [38] 3Q [39] R1 [40] TBC
2005–06 Conference South 642213186558+7668th of 22 [41] 416 [42] 2Q [43] 3Q [44] TBC
2006–07 Conference South 6421115164853−54815th of 22 [45] 710 [46] 3Q3Q [47] Andy Forbes 24 (League) [48]
2007–08 Conference South 6421910137662+14676th of 22 [49] 710 [50] 4QR2Andy Forbes 26 (League) [48]
2008–09 Conference South 64225896949+20833rd of 22
Playoffs Semi final
723 [51] 3Q3QTony Taggart 15 (League) [48]
2009–10 Conference South 642179167166+56011th of 22543 [51] R13QRichard Gillespie 18 (League) [48]
2010–11 Conference South 642226147453+21728th of 22537 [52] 4QR3 Jamie Slabber 25 (League) [48]
2011–12 Conference South 642159185763−65412th of 22548 [53] 3Q3Q Jamie Slabber 11
2012–13 Conference South 642226147961+18724th of 22
Playoffs Semi final
593 [53] 3Q3QJai Reason 19
2013–14 Conference South 64226887140+31861st of 22
Promoted
707 [53] 3QQFCraig McAllister 15
2014–15 Conference Premier 5462410128761+26824th of 24
Playoffs Semi final
1,752 [54] R2 [32] R1 James Constable 19
2015–16 Conference Premier 5462112136453+11757th of 242,014 [55] R3R2 James Constable 17
2016–17 National League 5461415175663−75715th of 242,246 [56] R3R1 Mikael Mandron 15
2017–18 National League 5461317166572-75614th of 241,9594QR1 Chris Zebroski & Ben Williamson 10
2018–19 National League 546228166263-1747th of 241,8304QR1 Paul McCallum 27
2019–20 National League 5371113134355-124616th of 241,832R2R3 Tyrone Barnett 12
2020–21 National League 500000000TBCth of 24-TBCTBCTBC

Last Updated: 12:54, 22 September 2020

a: Moved to Isthmian Premier League after Non-League System restructuring

PR = Preliminary Round; Q = Qualifying Round; R = Round Proper; P = Position; Pld = Matches played; W = Matches won; D = Matches drawn; L = Matches lost; GF = Goals for; GA = Goals against; GD = Goal difference; Pts = Points

Previous seasons

Club records

Most appearances

Competitive matches only. After 29 May 2021 match v Solihull Moors [58]

#NameNationalityPositionEastleigh careerAppearancesGoals
1Ian KnightFlag of England.svg  England Left Back1975-9161112
2Keith CooperFlag of England.svg  England Full Back/Central Defender1974-865745
3Johnny WilliamsFlag of England.svg  England UnknownUnknown4493
4Bill RaganFlag of England.svg  England UnknownUnknown42810
5 Michael Green Flag of England.svg  England Full Back/Centre Back2009-4097
6Terry RawlinsFlag of England.svg  England UnknownUnknown37427
7Mel DavollsFlag of England.svg  England Full Back/Centre BackUnknown3726
8Frank MewFlag of England.svg  England Forward1946-60370100
9Malcolm HarrisFlag of England.svg  England Goalkeeper1969-813510
10Barry JoslinFlag of England.svg  England Unknown1982-903434

Player of the Season award winners

YearWinner
2005–06 Flag of England.svg Daniel Smith [59]
2006–07 Flag of England.svg Andy Forbes [60]
2007–08 Flag of England.svg Andy Forbes
2008–09 Flag of South Africa.svg Warren Goodhind
2009–10 Flag of England.svg Richard Gillespie [61]
2010–11 Flag of England.svg Jamie Slabber [62]
2011–12 Flag of England.svg Jamie Slabber
2012–13 Flag of England.svg Glen Southam [63]
2013–14 Flag of England.svg Ben Strevens [64]
2014–15 Flag of England.svg Ross Flitney [65]
2015–16 Flag of England.svg Joe Partington [66]
2016–17 Flag of England.svg Michael Green
2017–18 Flag of England.svg Samuel Matthews [67]
2018–19 Flag of England.svg Alex Wynter
2019–20 Flag of England.svg TBC
2019–20 Flag of England.svg Joe McDonnell [68]

Honours

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References

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Coordinates: 50°57′08.26″N1°22′18.37″W / 50.9522944°N 1.3717694°W / 50.9522944; -1.3717694