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|Full name||Northwood Football Club|
|Ground||Acretweed Stadium, Northwood Park, Chestnut Avenue, Northwood|
|Capacity||3,075 (308 seated)|
|League||Isthmian League South Central Division|
|2020–21||Isthmian League South Central Division (season curtailed)|
Northwood Football Club is an English football club based in Northwood in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The club is affiliated to the Middlesex County Football Association. – the road on which the ground is located. The club are currently members of the Isthmian League South Central Division.They play their home games at the Acretweed Stadium in Northwood Recreation Ground, also known as Chestnut Avenue
This article or section appears to be slanted towards recent events.(July 2013)
A club in the Northwood area was established in 1899, however Northwood as they are today were not believed to have been formed until 1926. Their early history is largely unknown and it is unclear what leagues they played in until 1931, when they joined the Harrow & Wembley League. They were champions of this league for six years in a row just prior to World War II and three more times after the war. This success did not last, however, and the 1950s and 1960s were mainly spent playing local junior-level football. In 1969 the Woods joined the Middlesex County Senior League. Northwood began life as Northwood Rovers and later United, but after The Second World War they dropped the suffix, to become what they are today – simply Northwood FC.
In 1978, Northwood won the Middlesex League Championship and were able to step up to the Hellenic League Division One, which they won in their debut season. This led to promotion to the Premier Division, where they spent five, mostly mid-table, seasons.
The club moved across the pyramid in 1984 to the London Spartan League, which was renamed back to the Spartan League in 1992. In an eight-season spell, Northwood finished in the top three on four occasions, culminating with the Premier Division title in the 1991–92 season, leading to admission to the Isthmian League in 1992. In 1994, the club progressed to the final of the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup but were beaten by Staines Town.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the club enjoyed their best spell in their history with strikers Lawrence Yaku, Steve Hale and Scott Fitzgerald – who joined Watford in 2003 – forming a potent strike force. In fact, Yaku's tally of 54 goals in his first season (1999/2000) remains the most by any Woods player in a single season, and he sits second on the list of Northwood's all-time top goalscorers with 137 goals. Club legends Chris Gell – who made a club record 489 appearances for the club, and Dave Nolan and Dave Sargent who both also played more than 400 games for the club, were also mainstays throughout the period and played a key part in the success.
Northwood gradually climbed through the divisions of the Isthmian League under Tony Choules winning the Isthmian Charity Shield in 2002, and then reaching the Premier Division in 2003 after winning the 2002/03 Isthmian Division One North. The side was then switched to the Southern League in 2005, where they remained until 2007. However, after relegation from the Southern League Premier Division they were moved "sideways" to the Isthmian League Division One North. Despite relegation, Northwood did lift the 2006/07 Middlesex Senior Cup as they beat Conference South outfit Hayes 4–2 on penalties, although it was the only real bright point in a disappointing season. Since then Northwood have seen several managers come and go. Dave Anderson was the most successful in that period as he helped the club finish 6th and 10th, in the 2008–09 and 2009–10 respectively, before departing in March 2010.
Northwood were then shuffled across from the Isthmian League Division One North in 2010 to the Southern League Division One Central where they remained until 2018. When Anderson departed in March 2010, his assistant Mark Barnham took the reins at the club, but he resigned in November of the same year due to the poor league position and after a run of eleven games without a win stretching back to September.
Then (in November 2010) it was the turn of former Woods favourite Steve Hale to have his crack as manager at Chestnut Avenue, and despite instigating a brief turnaround in fortunes in late 2010 and early 2011, the form faded quickly and after a series of heavy defeats, and a run of just one win in twelve matches, he was dismissed in March 2011 following a 6–2 mauling at the hands of Biggleswade Town.
Northwood chairman Ian Barry acted quickly replacing Hale with 27-year-old Gary Meakin who arrived from Hillingdon Borough. Meakin enjoyed three spells as a Northwood player making 47 appearances and helped guide the team to safety with three games remaining. His first Northwood win came on 2 April 2011 – in what was his first home game in charge – as Northwood came from behind to beat Soham Town Rangers 2–1. Following their 1–1 draw with Aylesbury at Chestnut Avenue a fortnight later, the club's safety was confirmed, as results elsewhere went their way. Northwood competed in the same division in the 2011–12 campaign having just avoided relegation in 2010–11, finishing 20th – just one spot above the drop zone with 39 points from 42 games.
After Northwood managed to survive the drop the previous season, Meakin assembled a strong squad as he set about trying to improve the side's fortunes in the 2011-12 season. In the early part of the campaign, consistency was a problem as they slipped into mid-table in the league and crashed out of the FA Cup, FA Trophy and Middlesex Senior Cup's at the first hurdle. However success was to follow in both the Southern League Cup and Middlesex Charity Cup's as the Woods made decent progress. The arrivals of Cockfosters duo Mitch Swain and John Christian – who both made over 100 appearances in previous spells with the side – and St Albans City defender Reece Yorke added much needed depth to the squad and all three would play crucial roles later on in the season. Top scorer and eventual Supporters Player of the Year Oliver Hawkins would prove the major catalyst in their assault up the table scoring several goals in a ten-game period.
Victory over Bedworth United on New Year's Eve saw Northwood move into the play-off places for the first and only time in the season. The club were then knocked out of the League Cup by Chesham United but did progress to the semi-finals of the Middlesex Charity Cup setting up a meeting with near neighbours Uxbridge. A dip in form around the February/March time saw Northwood seemingly slip out of play-off contention, yet hard fought wins over several top half teams saw the side close the gap. Spencer Bellotti who had joined the Woods in February from Oxhey Jets scored a brace to send Gary Meakin's side into their fourth Middlesex Charity Cup final appearance, this time against Ashford Town (Middlesex), aiming to lift the trophy for the first time following defeats in the 1994, 2003 and 2005 finals.
Bellotti followed up that superb showing to net a last gasp winner at home to Burnham in the penultimate game of the league season to take the race for the last play-off position down to the final game, although the Woods would let that slip away against Leighton Town as they conceded four times in the opening half-hour to narrowly fall short of a top five finish, ending up in a respectable 7th position. Undeterred by their heavy final day defeat, Northwood raced into a 2–0 half time lead in the Middlesex Charity Cup final thanks to goals from Lee Grant and Oliver Hawkins. And when – two minutes after the interval – Hawkins scored his second it appeared the trophy was heading to Chestnut Avenue for the very first time. Yet, young Ashford striker Kofi Lockhart-Adams scored four times in twenty minutes to give his side an unlikely 4–3 lead with minutes to go. However, Romaine Walker scored a late leveller to take the game to penalties, but Jack Hutchinson and Walker saw their spot kicks saved, and Ashford subsequently claimed the trophy.
Meakin kept much of his squad intact from the previous season which saw a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for the club, and even signed two players to contracts. But in November 2012, after a solid start to the season, Meakin left to step up and take the reins at Isthmian League Premier Division side Wingate & Finchley. Former Northwood player Mark Burgess, who had a spell as player-caretaker manager after Mark Barnham's departure in 2010, was appointed as Meakin's successor on 14 November 2012. After several players joined Meakin at Wingate & Finchley, Burgess strengthened his own squad with the short term loan signings of Brentford duo Terrell Miller and Sam Beale. Burgess then signed both Jerome Federico and George Nicholas on dual registration in early 2013, but was dealt a sizable blow as Northwood lost top scorer Spencer Bellotti to Wingate & Finchley in February 2013, teaming up with former manager Meakin in the process. Northwood finished the 2012/13 campaign in a solid position of 13th, six places and nine points worse than their finish in 2012.
Prior to the 2013/14 season, player-manager Mark Burgess brought in a host of new faces including former Norwich City youngster Ramil Sheriff. In his first full season in charge, Northwood were looking to build on last season's 13th-placed finish and found themselves in 7th place around the Christmas period. Having been in contention for the play-offs for most of 2014, Northwood's form took a turn for the worse, ending their hopes of finishing in the top five as they finished the 2013/14 season in 9th. In the 2014/15 season, Northwood recovered from an inconsistent first half of the season, to once again finish in the top half of the table, finishing in 10th place. At the beginning of the 2015–16 season, Northwood made their best start to a league season since 1991–92 after winning their opening four league matches before that run was ended by Aylesbury United. They responded, however, by beating the same opponents 2–1 in the FA Cup Preliminary Round in August 2015, overseen by former Watford midfielder Jamie Hand due to the absence of manager Mark Burgess and assistant Simon Huggett.
Northwood would later progress to the final of the Middlesex Senior Cup in 2016 for the first time since 2007, when the club won the competition, knocking out Hendon, Spelthorne Sports and Staines Town en route to the final where they faced Enfield Town. Northwood secured their second ever Middlesex Senior Cup title with a 2-0 win in the final against Enfield Town on 7 May 2016, handing them their first silverware since they last lifted the competition in 2007. The cup success was therefore both player/manager Mark Burgess's first as a manager and first in charge of Northwood. Having flirted with the play-off positions, Northwood finished eight points adrift in 7th place in the league, during a successful 2015-16 season.
In June 2016, the club appointed former Watford and Stoke City striker Gifton Noel-Williams as to be their Reserves and Under-18's manager. It was expected that there would be closer ties between the first team and the other age groups at the club, a vision spearheaded by chairman Ian Barry, however in early October Noel-Williams left his role and Dave Fox was re-appointed shortly after.Manager Mark Burgess suffered the blow of losing eight of the 2015-16 squad, including George Nicholas, Max Holland, player of the year Andy Lomas and captain Steve Brown to Harrow Borough in the summer of 2016.
The 2016-17 season would prove to be a difficult one on the pitch as Northwood struggled to built on their excellent 2015-16 campaign. The team were in mid table around the Christmas period, but a dreadful run of just one win in 2017 (against bottom club Petersfield Town) and seven points from their final 21 league fixtures saw the club sucked into a relegation battle. A late rally by Histon left Northwood just four points above relegation heading into the final weeks with survival only secured on the penultimate weekend of the season. The club finished in 20th with 39 points - their lowest finish and points tally since the 2010-11 season when the club finished with the same number of points and in the same position. The poor end to the season resulted in the club parting company with Burgess after four and a half years in the role. In total, Burgess played well over 200 games over two spells with the club, also helping Northwood to the Middlesex Senior Cup in 2016.
The departure of Burgess after four and a half years following a disappointing season led to an extensive search for his replacement, undertaken by chairman Ian Barry. His replacement was confirmed on 17 May 2017, with Simon Lane taking the hot-seat. Lane's career in non-league football was curtailed by injury, but he arrived with a wealth of experience at a higher level. Lane had previously served as manager at Berkhamsted Town and Windsor & Eton, coached at Maidenhead United, while most recently serving as Director of Football and manager with Wingate & Finchley.Lane surprisingly left his post in January 2018 to move to league counterparts Egham Town. Assistant Jake Heracleous took temporary charge before also departing due to being offered a role with Manchester United FC. Jake brought in ex Bishop Stortford manager Gordon Boateng and when Jake took the job opportunity he was offered with Manchester United Gordon was then appointed manager until the end of the season.
After finishing 17th in the 2017-18 season Northwood returned to the Isthmian League after an eight year absence, being placed in the newly created South Central division following the biggest shake-up of the Non-League pyramid since 2004. With the club still searching for a permanent replacement for Simon Lane, chairman Ian Barry confirmed the arrival of Dean Barker as first team manager on 16 May 2018. Barker arrived from Wingate & Finchley where he had presided over their hugely successful Under 23 side. His reign ended at the end of October 2018.
Barker's assistant Scott Dash then took charge between 2018 and 2019, before being replaced by Jamie Leacock. Former Northwood midfielder Rob Ursell then had a spell in charge between 2020 and 2021, a stint largely interrupted by Coronavirus pandemic related disruptions. Ursell left his post in April 2021.
In May 2021, Ben Murray was appointed as Northwood boss replacing Rob Ursell who had departed in April 2021.
The club plays their home games at The Fenton Civil Engineering Stadium, Northwood Recreation Ground, off Chestnut Avenue, Northwood, Middlesex, HA6 1HR.
The FCE Stadium (also known as Chestnut Avenue or Northwood Park) is also home to the Northwood Under-18 midweek side and has a capacity of 3,075, of which there are around 900 terraced places and approximately 250 seats. The stadium was officially opened in 1978, as prior to this Northwood had played on local playing fields in the surrounding park area.
The highest attendance at the ground is recorded as 1,642 for a friendly match versus a Chelsea XI in 1997.
Last updated: 18th May 2021
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
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