Halifax Town A.F.C.

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Halifax Town
Full nameHalifax Town Association Football Club
Nickname(s)The Shaymen
Founded24 May 1911
Ground The Shay
2007–08 Conference National, 20th

Halifax Town Association Football Club was an English football club based in Halifax, West Yorkshire. They played in the Football League from 1921–1993 and 1998–2002.


The club was dissolved in 2008, but reformed that July under the name of F.C. Halifax Town. [1]

The club's stadium was The Shay.


Early years

The club was formed on 24 May 1911 at the Saddle Hotel. [2] It initially played in the Yorkshire Combination and the Midland League. It was one of the founder members of Football League Third Division North in 1921, and remained in that division until restructuring in 1958, when it became a member of the Football League Third Division. Its highest league position prior to World War II was second in 1934–35. [3]


They finished third, one place off promotion in the Football League Third Division in the 1970-71 season. [4]

The next season, they finished in 17th place despite scoring only 17 goals, 4th lowest goals for that season. They just avoided relegation on goal difference after Rotherham United lost on the last matchday to Tranmere Rovers for Halifax to move up. In 1976, they were relegated to Division 4.

In 1993 they were relegated to the Football Conference. [5]


The club found the Conference no easier than the fourth division. After several poor seasons with severe financial constraints, the club was demoralised as there seemed to be no way out. However, previous manager George Mulhall returned towards the end of the 1996–97 and avoided relegation from the Conference. The next season Mulhall and Kieran O'Regan made a number of additions to the squad including Jamie Paterson, Mark Bradshaw and Lee Martin to put together a title-winning team. The Shaymen were crowned champions of the Conference and thus regained Football League status. Free scoring Geoff Horsfield was also the top scorer in the Conference that season, scoring 30 goals. [6]

Back In the Football League

Previous club badge HalifaxTownAFC.gif
Previous club badge

At the start of the 1998–99 season, manager George Mulhall chose to retire and O'Regan was promoted to manager. Striker and top scorer Geoff Horsfield only played ten games before he was sold to Fulham for £300,000 in October 1998. [7] Halifax made a strong start to their league campaign and were amongst the leaders until December, after which their results started to drop off and they slipped into mid-table. Although only three points off playoff positions, O'Regan was sacked as manager by Chairman Jim Bown after a 0 – 0 draw with Rochdale in April 1999. [8]

Return to Conference

Chris Wilder was appointed Halifax manager in July 2002. [9] In their first season back in the Conference the Shaymen finished in eighth position. [5]

In 2005–06 they finished 4th, [10] and reached the Conference play-off final, losing to Hereford United. [11]

Financial failure and dissolution

In 2007, the club was placed into administration by a local consortium trying to buy the club. [12] [13] In spite of being docked 10 points for entering administration, the club again survived relegation on the last day of the season. However, the club failed to get a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) to bring the club out of administration, [14] [15]

Though the club appealed against the decision to remove it from the Football Conference, [16] the appeal was unsuccessful and the club was wound up. [17]

In May 2008 it had been revealed that following a major error, the club owed over £800,000 to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, making the club more than £2 million in the red. [15]

The Supporters' Trust prepared a back-up plan to form a new club should it be required. However, the club was re-formed by the same directors of the previous legal entity under the name F.C. Halifax Town and was accepted to play in the Northern Premier League Division One North in the 2008/09 season. [18]


The club moved to The Shay in 1921 (hence the team's nickname "The Shaymen") and remained there until it folded.

From the mid-1990s on the Shay underwent substantial development, and Halifax RLFC moved in and shared the venue. The Football Trust assisted in providing funds for the redevelopment. [19]

Players and managers

Notable players

For a list of notable Halifax Town players in sortable-list format see List of Halifax Town A.F.C. players; for all Halifax Town players with a Wikipedia article see Category:Halifax Town A.F.C. players.

Managerial history

Sources: [9] [22]

Honours and club records

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  2. Halifax Town at The FSF Ground Guide Archived 14 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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  20. The Definitive Halifax AFC by Johnny Meynell
  21. Taylor was the Halifax Chairman at the time and Booth was a club director – The Definitive Halifax AFC by Johnny Meynell
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