Halesowen Town

Address
The Grove, Old Hawne Lane, Halesowen B63 3TB
Website
Founded
1873
Stadium

From website:
Halesowen Town is one of the oldest teams in the country and claims to have been formed in 1873 although without much certainty. Local historian Norman Jones wrote:
"there is evidence which shows that for the first ten years of the team's existence it was the James Grove Button Factory team and that it adopted the present name in the early 1880's. The earliest records that the Football Association have on file relating to Halesowen Town F.C. are dated 1882.
I've still got a photograph taken of one of the early Halesowen Town teams. It was taken after they'd won the Dudley Hospitals Shield in about 1882. The team had been formed out of the Groves Button Factory team and most of the players worked at the factory. They played on a pitch in Gypsy Lane then."

When peacetime returned after World War II, the Club reformed. In season 1951/52 both Birmingham & Worcestershire Senior Cup Finals were reached. In front of a 6,000 crowd at Stourbridge, we lost in the Birmingham final to Brierley Hill Alliance but triumphed over Hednesford in the Worcestershire final, played at Bromsgrove. The same season saw us suffer our worst ever post-war defeat when we travelled to Merthyr Tydfil in the Herefordshire Senior Cup and were soundly beaten 0-9.
1955 brought our first major achievement when we reached the FA Cup Round 1 but lost 2-4 at home to Hendon in front of a packed Grove. In March 1955, Ronnie Dugmore notched an incredible 7 goals when we won 10-0 at Dudley in a Birmingham League match. In August 1957, we achieved our highest post-war winning margin when we beat Coventry Amateurs 13-1 in the Birmingham Senior Cup.

The 1960's saw us regularly competing strongly in the Birmingham League. For 9 seasons in succession we scored between 96 and 126 goals in all competitions. Ronnie Dugmore, Billy Hargreaves, David Timmington, David Eades and Eddie Bell were high goalscorers and other club stalwarts included Albert Farrow, Gordon Field, Stan Purvis, Dave Culwick, Mel Adams, Sammy Roberts, Alan Parsons, Alec Wood and Tony Cotterill. Towards the end of that decade, local rivals such as Stourbridge, Tamworth, Bromsgrove and Kidderminster left the Birmingham League and progressed to join the newly formed Southern League while our fortunes went in the opposite direction.

The 1970's brought a period of struggle for The Yeltz. Twice out of 3 successsive seasons we finished bottom of the West Midlands League. At times, the only thing keeping us running was the effort of 'Mr Halesowen Town' - Harry Rudge. Before his untimely death in 1990, 'H' filled every role in the club at one time or other, including player, manager, groundsman, secretary and anything else you can think of.
Then suddenly something strange happened - we got a decent team together and started winning things. Manager Paddy Page assembled a squad of promising youngsters, and in 1982-83 we had an unbelieveable year. We won the West Midlands League for the first time, as well as winning the League Cup, but more importantly we reached the final of the FA Vase at Wembley. Our 12 heroes that trod the hallowed turf on 30th April1983 were:
Phil Coldicott, Mark Penn, Stuart Edmonds, Mark Lacey, Les Randle, Robert Shilvock, Malcolm Hazelwood, Geoff Moss, Johnny Woodhouse, Paul Joinson, Lee Joinson and sub Don Smith. Despite having already beaten our opponents VS Rugby twice in the league that year already, we froze on our big day and lost 1-0.
Not to worry, two years later we were back at the home of football. This time there was no mistake, as we beat Fleetwood 3-1 in the greatest day in the history of the club. By the next year we were getting a bit blase about the whole thing, as we once again won the Vase by beating Southall 3-0 in front of over 17,000 people, most of whom had come down from Halesowen.

Despite winning the West Midlands League for four years running between 1982-83 to 1985-86, the Southern League wouldn't let us be promoted into their league. They said our ground wasn't up to coping with the bigger crowds of the higher leagues, despite the fact that we were already getting bigger crowds than any teams in the Southern League. People in Halesowen were getting very angry about the whole business, feeling that the Southern League clubs who were voting against us were simply jealous of our continuing success. However, all this spurred the club into completely renovating the ground, erecting the Harry Rudge Stand, flattening the pitch (pictures below) and constructing new terracing along one side of the ground. Finally the Southern League relented and in 1986-87 we were finally allowed to progress up the non-league pyramid.

From 1985 to 1991, Halesowen reached the 1st round of the FA Cup for 7 consecutive years. On 4 occasions we played professional teams, and each time we were unlucky to lose. SOUTHEND beat us 4-1, but were extremely flattered by that scoreline, breaking away in the last five minutes to clinch the game after we had been all over them in the second half. We lost 2-0 to BRENTFORD, again in a very even game. Against CARDIFF CITY, we lost 1-0 to a hotly disputed penalty and were by far the better team, and lost 2-1 to an excellent TRANMERE ROVERS side after taking the lead.
In 1990, we finally gained promotion to the Beazer Premier League by winning the Midland Division with a side that contained several players that have subsequently gone on to play professional football.
A record fee of Β£40,000 was received for Jim Rodwell when he was sold to Rushden and Diamonds F.C. 1995-96 was the club's most successful season when they finished runners-up to Rushden with 92 points and just failed to gain promotion to the Football Conference. The early nineties were dominated by players leaving The Grove to join league clubs. Amongst those leaving were Dean Spink (Aston Villa), Stuart Cash (Nottingham Forest), Andy Pearce, Tim Clarke, Sean Flynn (all Coventry City) and Evran Wright (Walsall).

Season 2000-01 saw the club relegated after eleven seasons in the Premier Division but they bounced straight back when season 2001-02 saw Halesowen win the Western Division title to return to the Dr Martens Premier Division, at the first time of asking under the guidance of manager Brendan Phillips. Then came disappointment with an immediate return to the Western Division despite picking up 49 points. Season 2002-03 saw Halesowen finish 4th in the Western Division to reclaim a place in the newly formed Southern Premier Division.

Town enjoyed a highly successful 2004-05 season finishing just outside the play-offs after their best start to a league campaign for 15 years under manager Paul Holleran. They were narrowly beaten at Yeading in the first round proper of the FA Cup. Success was also achieved when the Worcestershire Senior Cup was lifted for the second time in three seasons.

The club appointed the former Walsall and Birmingham City captain Martin O'Connor as manager in late 2006. They came close to gaining promotion in 2006-07 when they lost to Hitchin Town in the last game of the season, which meant they missed the playoffs.

In October 2007, the club was sold to an unidentified new owner who then brought in new manager Morell Maison. On October 18, former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson was appointed as a consultant to the new manager. For the first time ever, the Southern League end of season play-offs were reached in April 2008. The semi-final against Chippenham Town was initially abandoned at half-time due to a waterlogged pitch but in the replay an Eldon Maquemba strike gave The Yeltz a 2-1 win in a thrilling match. The final was played at Team Bath's ground on 3rd May, 2008 and the university side netted a winner with 90 seconds remaining after a close encounter. So promotion to the Conference was again so near but yet so far.
Expectations were high at the start of season 2008/09, although only a respectable 10th place was achieved in the Southern Premier League. By the start of the following season, ex-Yeltz right back Matt Clarke was Manager but troubles on and off the pitch continued and the Club went into administration amidst fans unrest. Godfrey & Graham Ingram took the Club out of administration and Matt Clarke worked wonders and the play-offs would have been reached if not for a 10 point deduction because of the administration. Hot-shot Stefan Moore scored 39 goals.

Season 2010/11 saw one of the poorest playing records in the Club's history finishing the season in bottom place, scoring only 24 goals and conceding 107. Shortly after the season ended, the Club was taken over by businessman Steve Lynch. A lot of hard work went on at The Grove in the summer of 2011 to spruce up the ground, Halesowen Town consolidated their league position in the Southern League South and West, finishing mid-table in 12th position.

 

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