Halesowen Town

Halesowen Town FC was formed in 1873, making it one of the oldest clubs in the Midlands, and initially played in the Birmingham Combination. In 1946, it joined the Birmingham and District League and was champions in its very first season. The 1960s saw it consistently finish high in the league, but by contrast the 1970s saw it struggle, finishing bottom of the table twice.

In the 1980s there was a sudden reversal of the Yeltz’ fortunes, with four successive championship titles between 1983 and 1986, as well as three appearances at Wembley Stadium in the final of the FA Vase. The 1983 final saw the club lose 1–0 to VS Rugby, but in 1985 it returned to Wembley and beat Fleetwood Town 3–1 to win the Vase, before retaining it the following year with a 3–0 win over Southall.

In 1983, the club also beat Heybridge Swifts in the final of the Thorn EMI six-a-side tournament at the Alexandra Stadium and won a £20,000 set of floodlights for their ground.

In 1986, the club’s successes in the newly named West Midlands (Regional) League were rewarded with promotion to the Southern League, with promotion to the Premier Division following in 1988–89 when the club was crowned Midland Division champions.

The early 1990 were dominated by players leaving to join league clubs, including Dean Spink (Aston Villa), Stuart Cash (Nottingham Forest), Andy Pearce, Tim Clarke, Sean Flynn (all Coventry City) and Evran Wright (Walsall).

For its first eight seasons at this level Halesowen never finished outside the top 10, including being narrowly beaten to promotion by Rushden and Diamonds in 1996. Financial difficulties, however, led to a slump which culminated in relegation in 2001. Although Halesowen bounced back in style, winning the Western Division championship at a canter, the club was relegated once again in 2003. The club failed to return to tier two of the non-league pyramid the following season, finishing fourth and missing out on the new Conference North.

New manager Paul Holleran led the club to the FA Cup first round in 2005, losing out to Yeading in a closely fought contest,[1] but the club failed to make any impact in league competitions in the next eighteen months and Holleran was dismissed.

The club appointed the former Walsall and Birmingham City captain Martin O’Connor as manager in late 2006. Halesowen came close to gaining promotion in 2006–07, losing to Hitchin Town in the last game of the season, which meant missing the playoffs.

In October 2007, the club was sold to an unidentified owner who brought in former Kettering FC manager Morell Maison. On October 18, former Manchester United and Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson was appointed as a consultant to the new manager.

In autumn 2009, insolvency experts Marshman Price were appointed as the club’s administrators. The team enjoyed a successful start to the 2009–10 season after receiving a 10-point deduction for entering administration. Brendan Phillips left the club and the club rose to fifth position by the turn of the new year but overall ended up in eighth place despite only losing 4 games all season.

The 2010–11 season started with Rob Elmes and former Luton Town forward Tony Thorpe being appointed joint managers, the side impressed with a string of decent results and England Schoolboy’s Under 18’s Manager Phil Nardiello was brought in as Technical Director to work alongside the managerial partnership. However, Elmes stepped down due to work commitments and Thorpe also decided to take a lower level of responsibility at the club by becoming an occasional coach resulting in Nardiello gaining full control of first team affairs.

Unfortunately for the new manager, the side saw several important regulars leave the club in quick succession including top goalscorer Stefan Moore and winger Daryl Taylor, this led to a run of nine consecutive defeats and Nardiello soon left the club by mutual consent.

Tony Thorpe returned to the club as Manager, bringing in former West Brom player Shaun Cunnington as his number two, results improved and fan-favourite Nick Bussey returned to the side in goal, however in the face of a relegation battle, Thorpe made the decision to step aside and allow Cunnington to take the helm. Shaun Cunnington appointed Paul Tomlinson as his assistant manager and made staying up his top priority.[2]

Credit: Wikipedia.com

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