The club was formed in 1894, with the first game played in January of that year. Wigton provided the opposition and a goalless draw was the outcome.
There was no league as such in those days with matches played merely on a friendly basis, until the introduction of the Cumberland cup 1885-86.
In 1890 reds became founder members of the Cumberland Association League where they remained until 1894…
A seven year spell in the Cumberland Senior league followed, and whilst there a 17-1 victory was recorded over c*ckermouth Crusaders.
Lancashire league status was obtained in 1901, although, after only two seasons Reds returned to the Cumberland Senior League for one year.
From 1904-10 Workington competed in the Lancashire Combination but, in an effort to economise it was decided in 1910 to switch to the North Eastern League. The club after only one year disbanded, going into voluntary liquidation.
Workington AFC was reborn in 1921 after a 10 year break.
North Eastern League
After election to the NEL for the start of the 1921-22 campaign, the club commenced with a game at South Shields Reserves losing 2-1. In 1938-9 the Reds finished in second position, and a memorable season included an unbeaten run of 18 league and cup matches. The NEL cup was won in 1935 and 1937 and was losing finalists in 1938. On eight occasions the team scored a century of goals with 147 in the 1933-4 season.
Complete NEL record:
P:923 W: 454 D: 150 L:319 F: 2205 A :1667
Saturday 18th of August remains a significant date in the club’s history. This was the day Reds made their Football League debut at Halifax Town.
Life was a struggle in the early Years and a record 8-0 defeat was inflicted upon us at Wrexham. Reds had their moments though and during the 1965-6 season the team defeated Swansea 7-0 home and 6-1 away.
Notable mangers were Bill Shankly Joe Harvey Ken Furphy Keith Burkinshaw, and Alan Ashman.
Promotion from the fourth Division was achieved in 1963-4 with manager Ken Furphy at the helm.
Failure to gain re election came in 1977 after four very painful seasons.
Reds won only 4 games and conceded 102 league goals during the 76-7 season.
Gates fell well below the 1000 mark and the club deservedly made way for Wimbledon who replaced the club in such a wonderful way.
They were to become the Darlings of those that loved to see David slay Goliath.
Complete FL record.
P: 1194 W: 385 D: 310 L: 499 F 1525 A 1810 Pts 1080
Football League Cup
During the mid sixties Workington developed a proud record of in the Football League Cup, twice progressing to the quarter final.
In 1963-4 West Ham prevented the team from reaching the semi final by virtue of a 6-0 win at Upton Park while, the following season Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw at Workington but knocked the team out 2-0 in the replay. Before the Chelsea tie, Reds had beaten First Division Blackburn Rovers 5-1 at Ewood Park and Second Division Norwich City at Borough Park.
Blackburn Rovers played at Borough Park on the 14th October 1964.
A 9-1 victory over Barrow in 1964 remained a record score in the competition until the 1983-4 season.
F.A. Challenge Cup
The club’s best season in the FA Cup was in the 1933-4 season when, as a non league club, the Reds reached the 4 th round, only to lose to Preston North End (1-2) in front of 15,00 fans at Lonsdale Park.
In 1951-2 the team lost 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in front of 52,581 spectators.
Manchester United came to Borough Park in 1958 (just prior to the Munich crash) and a although losing to a Denis Violet hat trick the team performed magnificently in front of a record gate of 21,000.
Several embarrassing cup defeats have been inflicted upon the Reds, with the team not having appeared in the first round proper since 1982.
Reds in the Non League
Northern Premier League
Workington became members of the NPL on the 18th June 1977-24 hours after losing Football League Status.
The first home game was against Stafford Rangers, who inflicted a 3-0 home defeat on the team.
The Reds struggled to make an impact for the first few seasons , but during the 1982-3 campaign, the side put together an unbeaten run of 14 matches and eventually finished 7th .
The club reached the final of the President’s cup in 2000 beating Marine and in 2003-4.
They lost against Barrow in a two legged affair in 2003-4 drawing on aggregate 6-6 but losing on the away goal rule…
Life had become a struggle in 1986, and only 11 league wins were recorded over 2 seasons.
Relegation to the newly formed First Division was inevitable, and they made the drop at the end of a disastrous 1987-8 campaign.
In 1998, a further relegation saw the tem become members of the North West Counties Football League.
Having struggled for so many years what happened during the 1998-9 campaign was remarkable.
The team won their last 14 league games to clinch the title going top for the first time after the final game.
It was the club’s first major championship in existence spanning 115 years.
In winning the title, Workington became the only club to regain Unibond League status at the first attempt and are now playing their 27th season on NPL football, passing the 1100 milestone at this level in the process.
As a result of a 7th place finish in 2004, the club moved up to the NPL’s Premier Division during the Non-league restructuring. They then continued their upward movement by winning the first-ever NPL promotion play-offs (after finishing in 2nd place) to win promotion to the Conference North.
Following a mid-table finish in their first season in Conference North, the 2006-07 season saw Workington finish in third place and qualify for the promotion play-offs where they lost 2-1 against Hinckley United.
Workington’s best run in the competition was during the 1999-2000 season when they reached the 5 th round only to fall to Kettering ,in front of a 1,600 home attendance.
Best win in the Trophy was obtained during the mid nineties- an amazing 7-1 away win at Northamptonshire side Rothwell Town.
Workington’s only involvement in the Vase was during their time in the North West Counties League (1989-9).
Reds fell at the quarter final stage to Bedlington Terriers.
- Best Season in Football League – 1965/66 (5th in Third Division)
- Promotion From Division Four – 1964 (3rd Place)
- Football League Cup Quarter Finals – 1964, 1965
- Best Season in FA Cup – 1933/34 (4th Round Proper)
- Best Season in FA Trophy – 1999/00 (5th Round )
- Best Season in FA Vase – 1998/99 (6th Round)
- Best Season in Conference North – 2006/07 (3rd Position)
- Best Season in Northern Premier League – 2004/05 (2nd Position)
- Northern Premier League Playoff Winners – 2004/05
- Northern Premier League Presidents Cup Winners – 1984
- Northern Premier League Presidents Cup Runners Up – 2004
- North West Counties Football League First Division Champions – 1998/99
- Cumberland County Cup Winners – 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1925, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1950, 1954, 1968, 1986, 1996, 2000, 2007
- Cumberland County Cup Runners Up – 1886, 1892, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1909, 1924, 1927, 1930, 1947, 1969, 1979
- North Eastern League Runners Up – 1939
- North Eastern League Challenge Cup Winners – 1935, 1937
- North Eastern League Challenge Cup Runners Up 1938
- Northern Premier League Fair Play Award – 2000/01