Alfreton Town


Posted Image Alfreton Town

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History:

The present Alfreton Town Football Club was formed in 1959 following the merger of Alfreton Miners Welfare and Alfreton United Football Clubs. The newly constituted club, playing on a new ground on North Street provided by the local council, was admitted directly to the Central Alliance Division One (North) and progressed sufficiently in the first two seasons to gain entry to the re-formed Midland Counties League.
The record attendance at North Street of 5,023 was recorded for the visit of Matlock Town in 1960. After holding the wooden spoon in 1961/62 Alfreton seldom looked back and took the Midland League title in 1969/70 after several near misses.

The triumph was repeated three years later and again in 1976/77. Alfreton won the Midland League Cup in three successive seasons in the 1970’s and the trophy was presented to the club as a permanent memento of the feat.Further success came in the Northern Counties East League following the merger of the Midland and Yorkshire Leagues in 1982. They won the League Cup in season 1984/85 and were champions in 1986/87 before accepting a place in the newly formed First Division of the Northern Premier League for season 1987/88.

Early seasons in the new League were not very successful and Alfreton finished bottom of the League in 1990/91. However, reorganisation of non-league football in Wales meant a number of clubs left the NPL and Alfreton were saved from relegation.

In the 1994/95 season, after leading the table for most of the season, the Reds missed out on promotion as they contrived to lose three of their last four matches.

This disappointment was forgotten the following season when they finished runners-up to Lancaster City and were promoted to the Premier Division of the Northern Premier League for the first time ever.

A two-year tenure proved difficult and after escaping a return to UniBond Division One in the 1996/97 campaign, a downward spiral struck and successive relegations saw the club slip back into the Northern Counties (East) League at the end of the 1998/99 season.

After a slow start, a great run of results at the turn of the year saw the Reds still in with an outside chance of promotion but they eventually finished 5th.
The same campaign saw the club enter the FA Vase for the first time and they reached the last 16 of the competition before bowing out 1-0 at Mossley of the North West Counties League, after extra time.

The following season, a poor first half of the season again cost the club dearly and despite winning 19 out of 25 league matches played since the turn of the year they had to settle for a final position of third place.The club were also proud to receive the prestigious FIFA Fair Play Award – the first non-league club to be awarded it.

The 2001/02 campaign saw Jason Maybury replaced as player/manager in late October by Chris Wilder and unprecedented success followed as the Reds landed four trophies – the Northern Counties (East) League Premier Division championship, League Cup, President’s Cup and Derbyshire Senior Cup.
Wilder departed to manage former club Halifax Town in the summer of 2002 but, in his first full season in charge, manager Dave Lloyd and assistant Charlie Williamson guided the Reds to a second successive championship when they lifted the 2002/03 UniBond League First Division title and made it a double by retaining the Derbyshire Senior Cup with a 7-1 aggregate success over Mickleover Sports.

The season contained many highs as the side set new club records of 17 straight victories in all competitions, and went 26 games unbeaten. After a three-year absence from the competition, they also reached the FA Trophy 4th round for the first time – only bowing out after a replay to eventual competition winners Burscough.

The Reds are the highest ranking non-league club in the county and showed their pedigree by beating a full strength Chesterfield 2-0 in front of 918 to win the Derbyshire Centenary Cup at the first time of being invited into the competition in July 2003. It was the Reds’ seventh piece of silverware in 16 fantastic months.

A sound start to the 2003/04 UniBond League Premier Division campaign saw them lead the way at the top for 51 days before eventually finishing a very creditable fourth as the team ended the campaign with just one defeat in their last 13 outings.

The club’s highest ever finishing place comfortably earned the Reds a place in the brand new Conference North division.

The Reds started season 2004/05 with an impressive new £70,000 floodlighting system installed with the assistance of an award of over £45,000 from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund. The stadium also has several wheelchair access ramps to vantage viewing areas for the disabled and the club operates a massive Football in the Community coaching scheme in partnership with Derbyshire County Council with around 1600 children receiving fully qualified tuition each year from the full time coaching staff.

After a great start to the season in the new Nationwide Conference North Division the Reds led the table until the turn of the year when a complete reversal in form saw them slide down the table to eventually finish 14th.A good run in the FA Cup saw them beat local rivals Matlock Town 5-0, Cammell Laird 3-2 and Worksop Town 2-1 in a replay after a 1-1 draw away to reach the First Round Proper for the first time in 30 years.

Coca Cola League Two Macclesfield Town provided the opposition at the Impact Arena and 2251 spectators saw Mark Sale bundle the ball over the line for a last minute equaliser that earned a replay in Cheshire. Unfortunately despite giving a very good account of themselves Alfreton went down 2-0 in the replay.
A good run was also had in the FA Trophy where the 4th Round was reached before bowing out to Woking of the Conference National Division.

At the end of the 2004/05 season the club parted company with the successful management team of David Lloyd and Charlie Williamson who ended their three year tenure at the end of a season which promised much.

A European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest and former Notts County manager, Gary Mills was installed as the first full time manager at the Impact Arena in the summer of 2005.

His is assisted by Darron Gee who has previously worked with Gary in successful management spells at Grantham Town, King’s Lynn and Tamworth. Indeed, it was Gee who took Tamworth into the Conference and to an FA Trophy final appearance in the 2002/03 campaign.

The pair faced a huge rebuilding job with several senior players being released and a dozen new players being brought in prior to the kick-off.
As the side took time to gel it was five games before a league victory was achieved and inconsistency proved a problem.

The team sank to the foot of the Conference North table although hopes of another FA Cup first round appearance fell very unluckily at the final hurdle when the Reds lost on penalties against Hereford United in a replay at the Impact Arena.

A narrow defeat at Conference South club Histon ended interest in the FA Trophy and a semi-final defeat at Ilkeston Town in the Derbyshire Senior Cup left the focus firmly on league survival.

A much improved run of form saw some notable wins achieved in the final third of the campaign and safety was achieved well before the final day of the season with the Reds finally finishing 17th out of 22, six points clear of the relegation zone.

Under the managership of another European Cup winner, Brynn Gunn, Alfreton Town Under-19s won the Northern Alliance U19s Southern Section Spring Mini Cup for the second time in three seasons.

The 2006/07 season saw a decent-looking rebuilt squad, albeit somewhat light in numbers, following summer budget cuts in a bid to keep the club on an even keel. A second budget cut came in a couple of months into the campaign and this was followed by manager Gary Mills departing 20 months into a three year full time contract when former club Tamworth came calling in January.His assistant Darron Gee presided over one game, a win, before teaming up again with his long term managerial and social best mate.

Marcus Ebdon was handed his first managerial reigns as player/manager and guided the club to the end of the season where the team finished a very creditable 14th, matching their best ever placing in non league’s second highest tier.

Whilst the side exited all cup competitions very early, the league position was achieved with a best ever Conference North points total of 54 – a good achievement considering all the upheavals of the campaign – and pleasingly, there had been no repeat of the previous season’s flirt with the relegation spots.
Bryn Gunn’s Under-19s side brought silverware to the club when they won the League Cup in fine style beating league champions Hallam 5-2.

For the 2007/08 season, former Chesterfield and Bradford City boss Nicky Law took over as Reds manager in June having had two highly successful seasons with Buxton. He too has had to rebuild the vast majority of the squad, but there look to have been some astute signings.

Holding a professional coaching licence, Law is the highest ever qualified manager to have held the Impact Arena post and the general consensus amongst fans and officials, is that this could be an exciting campaign.

Honours:

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS
UniBond League Division One 2002/03
Northern Counties (East) League 2001/2002, 1986/87
Midland Counties 1969/70, 1973/74, 1976/77
LEAGUE RUNNERS-UP
UniBond Division 1 1995/96
Midland Counties 1971/72, 1980/81, 1981/82
Central Alliance League 1963/64

LEAGUE CUP WINNERS
Northern Counties (East) League 2001/2002, 1984/85
Midland Counties 1971/72, 1972/73, 1973/74
LEAGUE CUP RUNNERS-UP
Midland Counties 1976/77, 1977/78

OTHER CUPS WINNERS
Derbyshire County FA Centenary Cup 2003/04
Derbyshire County FA Senior Cup 1960/61, 1969/70, 1972/73, 1973/74, 1981/82, 1994/95, 2001/2002, 2002/03.
Derbyshire County FA Beneficiaries Cup 2004/05.
Northern Counties (East) League President’s Cup 2001/02
Evans Halshaw Floodlit Cup 1987/88, 1995/96
Ladbrokes Gala Cup 1976/77

OTHER CUPS RUNNERS-UP
Midland Floodlit Cup 1975/76
Derbyshire Senior Cup 1962/63, 1964/65, 1977/78, 1979/80,
1984/85, 1987/88, 1992/93.

FA CUP 1ST ROUND APPEARANCES
1969/70, 1973/74, 2004/05

Sources:
Alfreton Town Official Site

Entry author: Deus