Wealdstone F.C.

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Wealdstone
WealdstoneCrest1-1-.png
Full nameWealdstone Football Club
Nickname(s)The Stones, The Royals
Founded1899;122 years ago (1899)
Ground Grosvenor Vale, Ruislip
Capacity4,085 (709 seated) [1]
ChairmanRory Fitzgerald [2]
ManagerStuart Maynard
League National League
2020–21 National League, 19th of 22
Website Club website

Wealdstone Football Club ( /ˈwldstn/ ) is an English semi-professional football club based in Ruislip, Greater London, and affiliated to the Middlesex County Football Association. [3] Established in Wealdstone in 1899, the club was based at Lower Mead stadium in Harrow from 1922 until being forced out in 1991. After a long period of homelessness and ground sharing with various local clubs, since 2008 they have been based at Grosvenor Vale in Ruislip.

Contents

The club currently plays in the National League, the fifth tier of English football, having been promoted as champions of the National League South for the 2019-20 season. Their traditional colours are royal blue shirts with white trim, white shorts and royal blue socks, and they are nicknamed "The Stones" or "The Royals".

The club were the first to achieve the famed non-league 'double', winning both the FA Trophy and the Alliance Premier League (now the National League) in the same season (1984–85). They also have the distinction of appearing in the first ever football match to be televised in the UK, when the BBC showed part of their league match against Barnet in October 1946. [4]

History

Grosvenor Vale in March 2016 Wealdstone FC's Grosvenor Vale 2016 (01).jpg
Grosvenor Vale in March 2016

The club was formed at the start of the 1899–1900 season. [5] Their first game was a friendly match on 7 October 1899 against Northwood, which they won 6–1. They joined Division Two of the Willesden & District League, and were promoted to Division One for the 1900–01 season after Division Two was scrapped. [5] In 1903 they moved to the College Farm Ground in Locket Road, Wealdstone. In 1905–06 the club won Division One, but on 20 October 1906 a notice was posted in the local newspaper stating that the club was to be disbanded due to 'a lack of interest' from players and supporters. [5]

The club was soon reformed in time for the 1908–09 season, rejoining Division One of the Willesden & District League. [5] In 1910 they moved to Belmont Road, and won Division One again in 1912–13. Following World War I the club joined the London League and the Middlesex Senior League.

They moved to the Lower Mead ground in central Harrow at the start of the 1922–23 season, when they also switched to the Spartan League. [5] The club had their record win on 13 October 1923, beating the 12th London Regiment 22–0 in an FA Amateur Cup game. In 1928–29 they switched leagues again, this time joining the Athenian League. [5] In 1929–30 the club won the Middlesex Senior Cup and the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup for the first time. [5] On Saturday 16 November 1929, Wealdstone played Dulwich Hamlet in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round, with the match ending in a record-breaking 7–7 draw; there has never been a 7–7 scoreline in any other FA Cup match before or since, and none either in the top four divisions of the League Pyramid (including play-offs), the League Cup, League Trophy, FA Community Shield, FA Trophy or FA Vase. Four days later, Dulwich won the replay 2–1.

During World War II the club continued to play, playing at Wembley Stadium in the final of the Middlesex Senior Red Cross Cup in 1942. In December 1944, they recorded their heaviest defeat ever, losing 14–0 to Edgware Town in the London Senior Cup. In 1946 the BBC showed part of Wealdstone's Athenian League match at Barnet, the first time a live match had been televised. [5] The club also appeared in the BBC's first two live FA Cup match broadcasts, with their games against Edgware Town in the third qualifying round and Colchester United in the fourth qualifying round being shown on television during the 1949–50 season. [5] [6] After beating Colchester, Wealdstone reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 1–0 to Port Vale. [7] [8] [9]

In 1951–52 the club won the Athenian League, and went on to win the Middlesex Senior Cup in 1959, 1963 and 1964. In 1964 they switched to the Isthmian League. In 1965–66 the club reached the first round of the FA Cup again, losing 3–1 at Millwall, but went on to win the FA Amateur Cup, beating local rivals Hendon 3–1 in the final. [7] The following season saw Wealdstone entered at the first round of the FA Cup, losing 2–0 at home to Nuneaton Borough. [7]

The club joined the Division One North of the Southern League in 1971, turning professional. [5] They were moved to Division One South the following season, and won the division in 1973–74, earning promotion to the Premier Division. In 1977–78 Wealdstone progressed beyond the first round of the FA Cup for the first time; after beating Third Division Hereford United 3–2 at Edgar Street in a first round replay, they went on to defeat Fourth Division Reading 2–1 at home in the second round , before losing 4–0 at First Division Queens Park Rangers in the third round. [7]

In 1979 the club were founder members of the Alliance Premier League, the new national top division of non-League football. After finishing 19th in 1980–81 they were relegated back to the Southern League, but then made an immediate return after winning the South Division of the Southern League the following season; a play-off ensued against Midland Division champions Nuneaton, with Wealdstone winning on penalties after winning the home leg 2–1 and losing 1–0 away. [7]

In 1984–85 the club had its most successful season to date, winning both the Alliance Premier League and also the FA Trophy, beating Boston United 2–1 in the final at Wembley Stadium. [7] This was first ever occasion that the non-league "double" had been achieved by any team.

However, a period of sharp decline soon set in; after finishing tenth the following season with an aging team, they finished 19th in 1986–87, and were eventually relegated at the end of the following season.

By the end of the 1990–91 season financial problems caused by boardroom impropriety were seriously exacerbated by the owner selling the club's Lower Mead ground for commercial development, for which the club, after protracted legal wranglings, received only a very small share of the sale proceeds. [5] They then signed up to an expensive ground sharing arrangement at Watford's Vicarage Road, and at the end of the 1991–92 season the club were relegated again, dropping from the Southern League Premier Division into the Southern League South Division.

Seeking to reduce expenditure, in 1993 the club began a two season ground sharing agreemment at The Warren, Yeading's ground. In 1995 the club re-joined the Isthmian League in order to further reduce its travelling expenses, having to agree to drop a level into Division Three in the process, and yet again they moved grounds, this time beginning a ground share with Edgware Town at their White Lion ground that was to last ten years. [5]

After winning the Isthmian League Division Three in 1996–97, they finished second in Division Two in 1997–98 and were promoted again, this time to Division One. However, after having finished third in Division One in the 1998–99, the Isthmian League then denied the club promotion to the Premier Division after required ground improvements at the White Lion ground were not completed until six days after a specified deadline. [5]

The club attempted to redevelop the local disused Prince Edward Playing Fields at Canons Park, owned by the London Borough of Harrow, into a new home ground. Construction of the new stadium started in 2003 but, when over 30% completed, building work was suddenly halted in April 2004 when the private company who were co-financing the project in partnership with the club went into insolvency. Unable to afford to complete the new stadium on their own, Wealdstone were forced to leave the site unfinished for two years, until Harrow Council, frustrated that the site was still unused and falling into disrepair, eventually sold the site lease to Barnet F.C., who used it as a training centre before later moving permanently in to what became The Hive Stadium in 2013.

In 2004 Wealdstone were promoted to the Isthmian League Premier Division as a result of the creation of the Conference North and South and winning a play-off final on penalties against Dulwich Hamlet. [7] In 2005 the club began a further new groundshare arrangement, this time moving to Northwood's Chestnut Avenue ground. [5]

In 2006 they were switched under FA reorganisation to the Southern League Premier Division for a single season, before returning to the Isthmian League the following season.

In January 2008, Wealdstone acquired Ruislip Sports and Social club and the associated lease at Ruislip Manor's Grosvenor Vale ground, starting the 2008–09 season there. [5] With the ground share agreement at Northwood coming to an end and still no specific completion date in sight for the club's Prince Edward Playing Field project, Wealdstone instead decided to invest 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. The Vale continues to be improved with the introduction of new terracing, safety barriers and in 2009 a new covered stand ('Brian Collins' Corner).[ citation needed ]

In the summer of 2012 a new club shop was added, along with a new tea bar located behind the dug-outs on the half-way line as well as additional raised terracing. In the summer of 2013, the supporters paid for and built a new mobile stand ('Bulla Stand') which has been positioned behind the goal at the old 'Tea Bar' end and more cover has been added at the Gun Turret end ('Roy Couch' stand) providing further covered accommodation for the fans.[ citation needed ]

In 2011–12 the club reached the FA Trophy semi-finals, losing 3–1 to Newport County. They also reached the promotion play-offs in the Premier Division, but lost 2–1 to Lowestoft Town in the semi-finals. The following season saw them losing in the play-off semi finals again, this time against Concord Rangers. However, in 2013–14 the club were Premier Division champions, earning promotion to the Conference South. [7]

Since moving to Grosvenor Vale, Wealdstone have seen steadily increasing home attendances year on year, and currently has the highest average home attendance for any non-league club in North London. During the 2013/14 season, Wealdstone had the second highest average home attendance in the Isthmian League (after Maidstone United) and the highest average away attendance (closely followed by Maidstone United and Dulwich Hamlet).[ citation needed ]

The summer of 2016 saw the club change ownership when Peter Marsden, previously chairman of Accrington Stanley, took over the club in late July. [10]

On 21 August 2017, Gordon Bartlett stepped down as Wealdstone manager after 22 years. [11] A day later, Bobby Wilkinson, formerly of Hungerford Town, was appointed manager. [12] Wilkinson left the club at the end of the 201819 season, [13] and on 21 May 2019 Dean Brennan was appointed as new manager. [14]

On 26 March 2020 the season was suspended due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, with Wealdstone top of the league. On 17 June it was confirmed that the club were to be promoted to the National League as champions of the National League South, on the basis of points won per game.

Brennan departed his role as manager on 2 February 2021, with the club subsequently appointing assistant manager Stuart Maynard as manager. [15]

Players

Current squad

As of 14th June 2021

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

No.Pos.NationPlayer
4 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ashley Charles
5 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Connor Stevens
6 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jerome Okimo (captain)
11 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Dennon Lewis
12 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Charlee Hughes
14 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Danny Parish
17 FW Flag of The Gambia.svg  GAM Jacob Mendy
18 MF Flag of Montserrat.svg  MSR Alex Dyer
No.Pos.NationPlayer
25 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Jake Askew
26 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Craig Fasanmade
29 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Tecane Shrowder
30 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Elijah Hearn
34 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Cawley
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Cook
FW Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.svg  ATG Rhys Browne

Notable former players

For all Wealdstone F.C. players with a Wikipedia article, see Category:Wealdstone F.C. players

The club's all-time leading goalscorer is George Duck. Duck scored 251 goals for Wealdstone in 370 appearances between 1972 and 1979, and additionally set unmatched scoring records for penalties and hat-tricks.[ citation needed ] In every season he played for the club Duck was top scorer in league and cup competitions.[ citation needed ]

Amongst former players who have gone on to notable careers at the highest level of professional football are Stuart Pearce, Vinnie Jones and Jermaine Beckford. Harold Smith was the first ever player to leave Wealdstone FC for a professional career, joining Notts County in 1930.

Non-playing staff

As of 29 March 2021

PositionStaff
ManagerStuart Maynard
Assistant Manager Matthew Saunders
First Team AnalystNathan McCann
Sports TherapistEllie Pritchard

Source: https://www.wealdstone-fc.com/management-team

Management

As of 29 March 2021 [16]
NameRole
Flag of England.svg Rory FitzgeraldChairman
Flag of England.svg Dominic WhyleyVice-Chairman
Flag of England.svg Nick SymmonsExecutive Director Operations
Flag of England.svg Mark RandallExecutive Director Communications
Flag of England.svg Andy LavinExecutive Director Commercial
Flag of England.svg Paul RumensPresident & Assistant Director
Flag of England.svg Peter WorbyAssistant Director
Flag of England.svg Paul FruinClub Secretary
Flag of England.svg Chris WoodsHead of Media

Managerial history

Records and honours

See also

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References

  1. https://www.wealdstone-fc.com/post/ground-grading-and-dcms-funding-application
  2. https://www.wealdstone-fc.com/news-blog/statement-from-the-executive-board
  3. Find a Club Middlesex County FA
  4. "BBC Television - 19 October 1946 - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 "Today's visitors: Wealdstone – club history" Boreham Wood Football Club
  6. "Port Vale's Amateur Opponents in F.A. Cup" . Evening Sentinel . Stoke-on-Trent. 19 November 1949. p. 4. Retrieved 8 May 2019 via British Newspaper Archive. Wealdstone share with Barnet the distinction of having been the first amateur club to be televised—in 1946. They were again before the television cameras last Saturday in their Cup-tie with Colchester.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Wealdstone at the Football Club History Database
  8. "Wealdstone defence held under heavy pressure" . The Essex Newsman-Herald. Chelmsford. 15 November 1949. p. 8. Retrieved 8 May 2019 via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. "Wealdstone's Great Cup Victory" . The Observer and Gazette . London. 17 November 1949. p. 7. Retrieved 8 May 2019 via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. "Appointment of Wealdstone FC Chairman". 20 July 2016.
  11. "Announcement – Gordon Bartlett". 21 August 2017.
  12. "Wealdstone announce Bobby Wilkinson as new Manager". 22 August 2017.
  13. 1 2 https://www.wealdstone-fc.com/news-blog/club-statement-bobby-wilkinson
  14. https://www.wealdstone-fc.com/news-blog/dean-brennan-appointed
  15. "Club statement:Dean Brennan". Wealdstone FC. 2 February 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  16. "Wealdstone FC Company Details". www.wealdstone-fc.com. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Mike Williams & Tony Williams (2020) Non-League Club Directory 2021, p511 ISBN   978-1869833848

Coordinates: 51°34′09.85″N0°24′59.90″W / 51.5694028°N 0.4166389°W / 51.5694028; -0.4166389