Hucknall Town


Posted Image Hucknall Town

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History:

Hucknall’s rise from a Colliery side formed in 1945 has been impressive. The early years were spent in Junior Notts football, with first honours arriving in the shape of the 1963 Notts Junior Cup. Moves to the Bulwell and District League and Spartan League saw continued improvement, before the club gained entrance to the Notts Alliance League in 1970. They won division 2 in the first season, and followed that with a league and cup double in the following campaign. Having gained promotion to the Senior Division, they claimed the title in 1976 and 77 and the league cup in 1979.

Town in the 80’s

During the 1980’s Town won the title several more times, and made their name as cup fighters in the FA Vase, reaching the last 16 in 1984,85 and 88 and the last 8 in 1986. They were accepted into the Central Midlands League in 1989/90 winning the league and cup double in their first season, and repeating the feat the following year.

The Nineties

1991/2 saw Town retain the league cup for the 3rd successive season, and after finishing second in the league, they were promoted to the NCEL 1st Division.

Once again, success was instant, Town being promoted to the Premier Division in their first season, the following year they added the NCEL league cup, and established themselves as one of Nottinghamshire’s top non-league sides. 1996/7 saw Hucknall win both the League and Presidents Cup. After a Hugely successful 97/98 campaign, Hucknall were able to take their place in the Unibond league, and after just one season in the First Division, and much hard work off the pitch, Hucknall made it into the Unibond Premier Division in time for the 1999/2000 season.

The Noughties

After such a sustained period of success, it has taken Hucknall a while to settle at the top end of the Football pyramid. In 2002/2003 Hucknall finished in the top 8 of the Premier Division, and they also lifted the League Chairmans Cup. They were also successful in the Notts Senior cup for the fourth time. Once again, Town failed at the final hurdle in the FA Cup, losing out on a chance to join the league clubs in the first round.

steve burr in charge of Hucknall TownWith a new man in charge at Watnall Road, in Director of Football, Steve Burr, Hucknall looked to advance their position further, and make progress into the newly formed Northern Alliance.

A Season beyond all expectations followed, with Hucknall winning the League Championship and continuing to build the club off the field with the opening of a new Social Club. Steve Burr’s side were never out of the top 6, and deservedly won the season with 3 games to go, the only dark cloud was the Club being unable to take it’s place in the Conference National League due to not having a ground good enough to make the grade.

Ins and outs

More changes during the summer saw boss Steve Burr leave to take over the reins at Northwich Victoria, and in his place arrived Ernie Moss and his assistant Sean O’Neill from Matlock Town. Ernie had the difficult task of taking Hucknall into it’s first season in the new Conference North.

Expectations were still high at the club, despite the loss of Steve Burr to Northwich Victoria in the summer. Ernie Moss came in, and retained the nucleus of the side that won the league, adding some fresh faces.

Nine games in, and Ernie was gone, not a single win had been gained, and confidence seemed to be at an all time low. Ernie could be forgiven for thinking he had trodden on too many black cats, as luck deserted his side, but many fans could not forgive the dropping of Danny Bacon in the first game of the season.

Dean Barrick and Roy Hunter took over, as Manager and Assistant respectively, and suddenly there was a new spark around Watnall Road. Wins started to come with an uncanny ease, and a brief, but exciting cup run came to an end at the seaside in Morecambe, but most will remember Gary Ricketts scoring the winner in the last 5 minutes against Altrincham.

The FA Trophy run

League form continued to skip along nicely, with the New Year seeing a good win at rivals, and at the time, League leaders, Alfreton. The FA Trophy run was in it’s infancy, with wins against Bracknall, and Radcliffe leaving everyone waiting for an encounter at Southport.

A last minute equaliser by Southport was disappointing after such a good display, but a battling win in the replay restored supporters faith. An away draw at Northwich gave Deano the chance to put one over on Steve Burr, and he did not let anyone down. Another away hurdle, this time at Cambridge was jumped with surprising ease, and all of a sudden fans eyes were turning towards Villa Park.

League games were few and far between, but the side kept picking up points to move themselves to the edge of the play off race. The FA Trophy however was grabbing the headlines, yet another away tie saw the club travel to Hereford, and after a superb display to get a draw, it was time for one of those ‘special’ nights at Watnall Road, as Deans men fought out a wonderful 1-0 win. All of a sudden, the club was in the Semi-Finals.!

A veritable Yellow and Black army travelled darn sarf to take on Bishop’s Stortford in the first leg, and they were rewarded with a tremendous afternoon of football, and a 2-1 win. The next Tuesday just a handful of fans saw an almost totally different side gain an excellent point at Altrincham,and then it was the second leg in front of over 1800 fans at Watnall Road. Town sides have never made it easy for their fans, this time, an early 2-0 lead was squandered, before a late winner by Chris Timons pushed the side into the final, and sparked huge celebrations…….

There was the little matter of 13 league games to fit into 28 days, and 3 wins on the trot got everyone’s minds moving towards the Play offs. The players were starting to tire, and a defeat at home to Lancaster burst the bubble, and play off hopes faded. The league season finished on a high note however, as Town saw off the challenge of Conference National bound Altrincham.

The FA Trophy Final – Villa Park

Tickets for Villa park, and all things Yellow and Black were being snapped up, and the club followed a long tradition of cup final sides by releasing a song alongside local group, Brett Byron and the Flying Bedsteads. ‘Show me the way to Aston Villa’ becoming ingrained into the brains of all the fans.

So, to Villa Park, The Town and the Team did themselves proud, only bowing out to Grays Athletic on Penalties, with the gaffer spending most of the game in the local hospital. The sea of Yellow and Black was a wonderful sight to behold, with everyone storing up memories to no doubt be re-told over the seasons to come.

Honours:

  • FA Trophy: Runners-up 2004-05
  • Unibond League: First Division Runners up 1997-98 League Cup Semi-Finalists 1998-99 Chairmans Cup Winners 2002-03 League Cup Runners-up 2003-04 Premier Division Champions 2003-04
  • Northern Counties Eastern League: Premier League Champions: 1997-98 1st Division Runners-up: 1992-93 League Cup Winners: 1993-94, 1996-97, 1997-98 Presidents Cup Winners: 1996-97
  • Central Midlands League: Supreme Division Champions: 1989-90, 1990-91 Supreme Division Runners-up: 1991-92 League Cup Winners: 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92
  • Notts Alliance: Senior Division Champions: 1976-77, 1977-78, 1987-88, 1988-89 1st Division Champions: 1972-73, 1980-81, 1986-87 2nd Division Champions: 1970-71 Intermediate Cup Winners: 1972-73, 1978-79, 1979-80, 1980-81, 1983-84 League Cup Winners: 1978-79
  • Notts Senior Cup: Winners: 1984-85, 1990-91, 1997-98, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03 Runners-up: 1983-84, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1998-99, 2003-04 Semi-Finalists: 1995-96, 1996-97
  • Notts Intermediate Cup: Winners: 1987-88, 1997-98
  • Notts Junior Cup: Winners: 1963

Sources:
Official Hucknall Town Site

Entry author: Deus