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Witney Town Info and History
President:Sir Peter Barker
Press Officer:Kieran Bushnell
13 Colwell Drive, Witney, Oxon, OX8 7NJ
Tel:01993 200913 Mobile:041 007 3207
Commercial Man/PRO:Dermot Gallagher
Safety Officer:Roger Alder
Asst Manager:Gary Ackling
Coach:Peter Bridgewater/Paul Holden
Newsline:0930 555 901
Ground:Marriott Stadium, Downs Rd, Witney, Oxon OX8 7LY. Tel: 01993 702549
Capacity:3,500 Cover:2,000 Seats:280 Floodlights:Yes
Club Shop:Selling programmes and souvenirs. Contact
Clubhouse:Members bar open seven days a week 6.30-11pm. Open all day Saturday.
Hot food on matchdays.
Leagues:Reading & Dist., Oxfordshire Senior, Hellenic 53-73
Name:Witney F.C. Ground:Marriotts Close, Welch Way (pre-1992)
Attendance:3,167 v Chelsea 16/11/98 Stand Opening. Competitive: 734 v Wealdstone 8/10/92
Career Goalscorer:Kenny Clarke 145 Career Appearances:Kevin Alder 402 (+6 sub)
Transfer fee paid:£3,000 for Steve Jenkins (Cheltenham Town)
Transfer fee recieved:£5,000 for John Bailey (Worcester City)
FA Trophy:Second Rd 78-79 FA Amateur Cup:Second Rd replay - 3 times, 66-67, 71-72, 72-73
FA Cup:1st Rd 71-72, 0-3 v Romford (H)
Southern Lg Div 1 Nth 77-78; Hellenic Lg (8) 54-55 57-58 64-65 70-73 (R-up 53-54 67-68 69-70), Lg Cup (6), Prem Div Benevolent Cup 59-60 63-64; Oxon Snr Lg(5); Oxon Snr Cup(12)
Players progressing: Herbert Smith, Frank Clack (Birmingham City), Arthur Hall(Bristol Rovers 1959), David Moss (Swindon 1969), Jack Newman.
Formed in 1885 as Witney Football Club, they were almost immediately successful in local circles of the football world. Within fifteen years of their formation, they had won the County Senior Cup three times.
They played in the County Senior League and produced one of the countries finest amateur full-backs of that era, Herbert Smith. He moved to Oxford City where he won a number of amateur international honours with England, and was a member of the Great Britain side which won Gold in the 1908 Olympic Games. Other players who progressed from the club in later years included Frank Clack who in the 1930s joined Birmingham City, and David Moss who went on to enjoy a career with Luton Town and Swindon Town.
The club reformed as Witney Town F.C. in 1922 and played in the Oxfordshire Senior League, winning the championship five times over a number of years. But it was since the end of the Second World War that the club's greatest strides were made, particularly when they became founder members of the Hellenic League in 1953. For 20 years, they reigned supreme in that league, winning the championship eight times, coming runners-up a further three times, and never finishing lower than eighth position.
This success bred ambition and the club applied for membership of the Southern League in 1973 and were successful at the first attempt. During their first season at the higher level, the club finished in sixth place in Division One (North), and by the end of the 1977/78 season, they added that Division's championship to their list of honours.
Season 1978/79 witnessed the club's debut in the Premier Division of the Southern League and they finished a creditable tenth. At the end of this season, the formation of the Alliance Premier League took place, and the Southern League was re-organised into a Midland and Southern section with Witney being placed in the Midland section. A successful spell of results towards the end of the 1981/82 season brought the club a final eighth position, and with the re-organisation of the leagues, they were placed in the Premier Division for season 1982/83.
The Premier Divsion proved to be a tough competition, but Witney finished an excellent fifth in the inaugral season. A year later, they had slipped back to twelfth, and in season 1984/85 they finished 17th which was a relegation spot. However, they recieved a last minute reprieve with the summer demise of Hastings United. There was another relegation escape the following season when they again finished 17th, but with the increased numbers being admitted into the competition, their Premier Division status was retained. However, it was by then almost inevitable that the drop would overtake the club, and they suffered relegation for the first time in their history at the end of the 1987/88 season.
By the end of the 1991/92 season, the club's fortunes took another twist with the move from Marriotts Close to a new purpose built stadium at Downs Road, Curbridge. Having moved, the club through no fault of it's own, ran into financial difficulties. Having fought off a winding up petition, it was then resurrected as a limited company in March 1993 to secure its future.
The club then went through another purple patch, narrowly missing promotion two seasons in a row. In 1992/93, they finished third after one of the most exciting run-in's for years, then came even closer the following season, with heartbreak on the final day when they needed just a point at Sudbury Town to earn the second placed spot. Sudbury won the game 2-1 and they took the second spot themselves. There was some success though, as Witney won the Senior Cup for the first time in 21 years after defeating Peppard in the final. Witney retained this in 1994/95 beating North Leigh.
A disappointing 1995/96 campaign saw the appointment of John Murphy as manager and he steered Witney to sixth place in 1996/97. However, he left the club in the summer taking with him almost his entire squad of players, leaving Witney with a difficlut rebuilding job. The task was admirably undertaken by Andy Lyne who returned to the hot seat for a second spell, and he steered "The Blanketmen" to a very respectable eighth place, and masterminded the lifting of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup, beating Oxford Cirby on penalties in the final at the Manor Ground.
Last season was a somewhat mediocre one for "The Blanketmen" although they did have a memorable afternoon in mid-October when they pushed F.A. Cup heroes Stevenage Borough all the way in a Third Qualifying Round F.A Cup tie, leading their far more illustrious opponents for most of the first half before going down by two goals to one. The club also enjoyed their best ever run in the F.A Umbro Trophy, reaching the Third Round for the first time in their history. In the league - a satisfactory eleventh position was achieved, but the big disappointment came in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup where the holders were knocked out by Carterton Town in the Quarter Final's on a freezing March evening in very dubious circumstances.
For the 1999/2000 season, Witney have concentrated their thoughts very much on the future and have, through much hard work, established an excellent youth policy which, it is hoped in time, will rival the best youth set-up's in the area and bring on some much needed new talent. Already, two of the Under 18 side have made their senior bows with several very talented youngsters in the various age groups from Under 14's right up to Under 18's.
This season has started better than anyone could
have expected. As well as another good F.A Cup run, which was only ended
by Yeovil Town at the Fouth Qualifying Round stage, they have also produced
some fine form in the League which sees them in the top half of the table
with much to build on in the New Year.