Gainsborough Trinity Football Club was formed in 1873 as Trinity Recreationists, set up by the vicar of the Holy Trinity Church for young parishioners. In 1889 they became members of the Midland Counties League, losing their first match 1-2 to Lincoln City and going on to finish 7th out of eleven clubs. The club quickly became well known, and won their first Midland League championship in 1890/91 and after finishing runners-up the following season were elected to the Football League Second Division.
Their first match was against Newton Heath, who went bankrupt ten years later before reforming as Manchester United. Trinity held on to their place in Division Two but based in an area with a small population it was always a struggle and the club returned to the Midland League in 1912.
Here they were to settle and earn more success, winning the championship in 1927/28, 1948/49 and 1966/67, also finishing in second place on two occasions. In 1960/61 the league was suspended for one season and Trinity competed in the Central Alliance. On returning to the Midland League the club remained there until becoming founder members of the Northern Premier League in 1969.
Gainsborough has never won the NPL although the club twice finished in 4th place and has taken league cup honours on two occasions along with the Chairman’s Charity Shield. Trinity was the longest-serving member of the NPL, ending a 36 year stay after finishing tenth in the Premier Division to earn a place in the extended Conference Nationwide North for 2004/05. The club ended that first season last May in mid-table, claiming 11th place. Last season saw a young squad assembled which finished the campaign in 16th place and with most of the team staying together an improvement is hoped for in 2006/07.
Trinity has long been noted for finding players who have gone on to play in the Football League and the man who was to become their Honorary Manager for over 30 years, Charles Caldicott, arranged the transfers to League clubs of 19 players in the 1930s and 40s. Several former Trinity stars went on to play for England; goalkeeper Ronnie Sewell, who also played for Burnley, Jackie Morton who was sold to West Ham United and left winger Fred Spicksley who went to Sheffield Wednesday and played seven times for his country, twice scoring hat tricks against Scotland.
Trinity also has a proud record in the FA Cup, and between 1927 and 1939 established a non-league record by appearing eight times in the Second Round Proper. In 2003/04 they reached the First Round Proper for the 35th time in their history before losing at Brentford. As a Midland League side they have recorded five victories against Football League opposition, beating Crewe twice in 1928 and 1931, Port Vale in 1937 and Gateshead the following year. The first competition after the Second World War saw most rounds played over two legs, and Trinity recorded a First Round aggregate victory over Mansfield Town.
The club’s best performance in the FA Trophy saw them reach the Fourth Round in 2002/03 before losing at home to Forest Green Rovers whilst the Lincolnshire Senior Cup has been won on 18 occasions, the most recent success coming in 2002/03.
Trinity’s Northolme ground has been a home of sport for nearly 150 years, beginning life as a cricket ground, later sharing it with Trinity before it became owned by the Trinity Supporters Club. The record attendance for a football match was recorded in the Midland League during the 1940s when 9760 witnessed a game against near neighbours Sc**thorpe United.
- Midland League: 1890-91, 1927-28, 1948-49 1966/67
- Midland Counties League: 1966-67
- Northern Premier Cup: 2 times
- Chairmans Charity Shield: 1 Time
- FA Cup Second Round: 8 Times
- FA Cup First Round: 35 Times
- Linconshire Senior Cup: 18 Times
Official Gainsborough Trinity Site