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The home of Hednesford
Hednesford Town FC
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Name: Hednesford Town
Nickname: The Pitmen
Honours: F.A Trophy Winners 2003/04
Address :Keys Park, Keys Park Road
Hednesford Town FC, a brief history
The Pitmen were formed in 1880 with the amalgamation of two teams, the Red & Whites (who were also known as West Hill) & Hill Top. The newly formed club played their games at The Tins, which was at the rear of The Anglesey Hotel in Hednesford & remained there until 1904 when they moved to The Cross Keys.
The Cross Keys was home to the Pitmen until the 1994/95 season when the club moved to the new purpose built Keys Park stadium, which is now one of the best stadiums outside The Football League. The stadium has a 6039 capacity & has obtained a Football League grade A standard. The facilities enable to club to raise funds by holding functions, conferences etc throughout the week.
On the up in the 90s
Hednesford Town may have a long & proud history but it was not until January 1990 that the clubs fortunes turned for the better. The 1989/90 season had been a long hard struggle & at the beginning of the year the club were in a deep relegation battle & with gates below 300, relegation from The Beazer Homes Midland Division looked a distinct possibility. In an effort to avoid relegation the club appointed former goalkeeper John Baldwin as manager and he gradually began to turn the club around & relegation was avoided.
The following season the team finished third and then gained promotion to the Beazer Homes League Premier Division after finishing the 91/92 season as runners-up to Solihull Borough. The club also in the 91/92 season became the first English football team to play at The Welsh National Stadium losing 1-0 to Cardiff City in the final of the Welsh Cup Final.
In the first season in the Premier Division the Pitmen finished in a creditable fourth position & reached the Staffs Senior Cup Final losing to Stoke City over two legs. The 93/94 season saw the club reach a cup final for the third year running, this time it was The Birmingham Senior Cup Final where at The Bescot Stadium the club were beaten 3-0 by a full strength Walsall team. In the league the club dropped down to thirteenth place.
The following season the club were crowned Beazer Homes League Premier Division champions and in April 95 the team defeated Leek Town at Keys Park in front of 2776 supporters to clinch the title and promotion to the Conference.
In the clubs first season in the top flight of non-league football the Pitmen finished in third place behind champions Stevenage Borough and Woking.
The 1996/97 season will go down as the best in the clubs history as the Pitmen reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in 72 years eventually losing in the fourth round at Middlesbrough in front of 27500 supporters. In the first round proper fellow Conference side Southport were defeated setting up an away tie at Blackpool. A goal by Joe O’Connor three minutes from time gave the Pitmen their first ever victory against a Football League team.
In the Third Round, York City were the visitors to Keys Park and a record crowd of 3169 went wild when a Keith Russell penalty was converted and a home draw against Middlesbrough was the reward. On police advice the game was switched to the Riverside Stadium and after taking the lead the Pitmen lost 3-2 in a thrilling game.
On the telly
The following season saw the club finish in seventh position and further FA Cup success was enjoyed as in front of millions on Match of the Day viewers the Pitmen beat Hull City 2-0 at Boothferry Park but in the second round lost to Darlington.
In the 98/99 season the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the third season running.The team beat Barnet 3-1 in the first round but lost by the same scoreline away at Cardiff City.
League success did not follow the cup runs and the 1999/2000 season saw the team drop to 17th position then after John Baldwin had stepped down during December 2000 the club were relegated for the first time in their history.
A number of managers were appointed to replace John Baldwin,they were Neil Pointon, Colin Lambert, Paul Raynor , Kenny Hibbitt and Ian Painter.The clubs first season back in the Southern League was a big disappointment and only a last day victory away at Newport (IOW) saved a consecutive relegation.
The team started the 2002/03 season with Ian Painter in charge but with the Pitmen hovering around the relegation zone Ian was replaced during February 2003 by Barry Powell who returned to the club after a spell at Stafford Rangers. Barry had previously been assistant manager with Kenny Hibbert.. Despite the clubs FA Trophy success in May 2004 when Canvey Island were defeated 3-2 at Villa Park Barry Powell was replaced by Chris Brindley .
The club failed during the 2003/04 season to finish high enough in the league to move into the new Conference set up but Promotion came twelve months later when a place in The Football Conference Northern Division was gained after winning play off games at Merthyr Tydfil and Chippenham Town.
After reaching this seasons First Round of The FA Cup when the team were defeated 4-0 at Histon the team continued to leak goals and as a result of a number of poor results Chris Brindley left the club by mutual consent early December 05. Chris’s assistant former Wimbledon star Steve Anthrobus was appointed Manager but unable to save the club from relegation to The Unibond Northern Premier League.
Former Nottingham Forest star Phil Starbuck was appointed manager July 2006 and despite challenging near the top of the table for the majority last season, a slump in form saw the team eventually finish in 7th position. During the summer Assistant Manager John Ramshaw left to take over at Lincoln United and vastly experienced Jimmy Mullen was quickly brought in as Phil’s Assistant. The new management team will be looking to build upon the foundations which were laid last season.
last updated: 11/03/2008 at 12:12
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