Nantwich Town F.C.
Nantwich Town Football Club is a semi-professional football club based in Nantwich, Cheshire, England. The club was founded in 1884 and is nicknamed The Dabbers, a reference to the town's tanning industry. The club is currently a member of the Northern Premier League Premier Division, the seventh tier in the English football league system, with home matches played at the Weaver Stadium.
|Full name||Nantwich Town Football Club|
|Founded||1884 (as Nantwich F.C.)|
|Capacity||3,500 (300 seated)|
|League||Northern Premier League Premier Division|
|2018–19||Northern Premier League Premier Division, 4th of 21|
In 1995, in an F.A. Cup preliminary round tie against Droylsden, Andy Locke scored the fastest ever F.A. Cup hat trick. Locke completed his hat trick in 2 minutes 20 seconds. This record still stands for a hat trick in any round of the F.A. Cup, including the preliminary rounds before the First Round Proper.
Nantwich followed up their FA Vase winning season of 2005–06 with another successful campaign in 2006–07 (their last at Jackson Avenue). Finishing 3rd in the North West Counties League Division One they were promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One South for the 2007–08 season and then gained a second consecutive promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
Founded in 1884, Nantwich has a long and proud football tradition. Early years were spent playing friendly and cup matches but in 1891 the club joined the Shropshire & District League, finishing as runners-up in the first season.
Nantwich moved into the stronger Combination the following season and on 15 October 1892 hosted Liverpool in the Merseysiders’ first ever FA Cup match (Liverpool won 4–0). Before the First World War, Nantwich also had spells in a variety of leagues including the North Staffs & District, the Crewe & District, Manchester and Lancashire Combination leagues.
In those early years, the club were honoured to have A.N. Hornby as President. Hornby captained England at rugby and cricket and, as well as being President, turned out for the club on a number of occasions.
After the war, the club became founder members of the Cheshire County League in which they were perennial strugglers, though they did finish 6th in 1921–22. The season before, a record home attendance of 5,121 watched the Dabbers play Winsford United in the Cheshire Senior Cup at their temporary home at Kingsley Fields. Ironically, this is the location where the club is now looking to build a new modern stadium and move to for the 2005–06 season.
Success, though, came in the Cheshire Senior Cup in 1933 when the Dabbers lifted the trophy after beating ICI (Alkali) at the Drill Field, Northwich in front of 8,000 fans. After the Second World War, the Dabbers joined the newly founded Mid Cheshire League and in 1952, the club entered the inaugural FA Youth Cup competition. Drawn against Manchester United in the second round, the young Dabbers crashed 23–0 on a November evening at the Cliff training ground to a United youth line up including names such as Duncan Edwards, David Pegg, Albert Scanlon and Ron Cope (who joined Nantwich in the twilight of his career).
However, the mid-1960s saw considerable success and in the 1963–64 season the club completed a treble, winning the Mid Cheshire League, League Cup and Cheshire Amateur Cup under manager Alan Ball (senior). According to former player the late Mike Brookes:
- "Mr Ball trained us very hard and taught us techniques that were new to us – or were rusty. He made us think ‘the game’ more. One ploy was when we were attacking – for me as centre forward to mark the centre half out of the game. The other forwards could still use me for the one–two wall pass to break through. I could still spin off the centre forward to join the attack. I did get a few bruises this way! At a corner – the other forwards would move away from the penalty spot, thus taking markers with them. I would be way out on the edge of the penalty box – running in at speed when the corner was taken – hoping the kick (as planned) ended up at head height on the penalty spot. Mr Ball used the fear factor to keep us ‘on the ball’. He would bring along ‘reputation’ players to training or ‘sign them on’ and have them turn up for matches; so we thought we could be dropped and sometimes we were."
Nantwich rejoined the Cheshire League in 1968 and in 1976 the Dabbers beat NPL champions Runcorn 5–4 in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final at Gresty Road in front of 2237. Five years later in May 1981 a crowd of 1078 saw Nantwich clinch the Cheshire League by beating eventual runners up Hyde United in the penultimate game of the season 2–1.
1982 saw Nantwich become founder members of the North West Counties League. Unfortunately Nantwich had the unenviable honour of finishing bottom and were relegated to Division 2 where the club remained (except for one season in Division 3 in 1986) until 1989 when the Dabbers were promoted to Division One. Since then, Town have maintained consistent mid-table form. The one exception was in 1993–94 season when they finished in their highest ever NWCFL placing of fourth. However the honours were to come on the cup front in 1994–95 when Nantwich defeated Trafford 1–0 in the League Cup Final on a memorable April evening at Gigg Lane Bury. This success atoned for the disappointment in 1993 when at the same venue Nantwich lost 2–1 to Burscough in another tight final. Ex-Stoke City player Nigel Gleghorn was appointed Manager in November 2001 and he helped steer Nantwich to a top six finish in 2003, when the club also attained the prestigious FA Charter Standard Community Club award.
Steve Davis eraEdit
Gleghorn left the club in the 2004 close season and former Crewe Alexandra, Burnley and Barnsley defender Steve Davis was appointed as head coach. Davis, ably assisted by former Nantwich and Macclesfield striker Peter Hall, proved to be the most successful manager in the club's history. His five years in charge saw two promotions and both FA Vase and County cup glory.
Davis led Nantwich to FA Vase glory in 2005–06 when the Dabbers beat Hillingdon Borough 3–1 in the Final at Birmingham City’s St Andrew's stadium. En route to the final, Nantwich kept a clean sheet in 8 out of 9 ties including impressive victories over Buxton (1–0) and Cammell Laird (5–0 in the two-legged semi-final). Andy Kinsey hit two goals in the final, but dislocated his shoulder celebrating the second. Following the victory, the club paraded the Vase in an open-top bus. In the league, Nantwich equalled their highest ever finish (4th) but narrowly missed out on promotion.
In 2006–07 they finished third and secured promotion to the Northern Premier League. They amassed 95 points and 108 goals from 42 games. During the season Nantwich recorded their highest post-war league attendance (1,536) against FC United of Manchester. To sign off the home campaign, a crowd of 1,071 saw the last game at the 123-year-old Jackson Avenue ground when Nantwich beat Squires Gate 5–2 on 28 April 2007.
In the 2007–08 season Nantwich Town finished third in the Northern Premier League Division One South. This qualified them for the play-offs in which they came from behind to beat Grantham Town 2–1 and then beat Sheffield 4–1 on penalties after a 2–2 draw in front of a season's best crowd of 1,354. This double promotion meant Nantwich played the 2008–09 season in the Northern Premier League Premier Division. They also won the Cheshire Senior Cup beating higher-ranked teams Hyde United and Northwich Victoria en route to a win in the final on penalties over Conference side Altrincham after a 3–3 draw.
In 2008–09 Nantwich finished third in the table but lost to Ilkeston Town in the play-off final. Nantwich also had a good run in the FA Cup beating United of Manchester 4–3 in a replay, Halifax Town 4–1 and Whitley Bay 5–1 before losing to Fleetwood Town 4–3 in the 4th Qualifying round. Stand-out results in the league were 5–0 home and away defeats of Boston United, a 3–0 home win over FC United.
In the 2009 close season Steve Davis left for the assistant manager's job at Crewe to be replaced by his long-time assistant Peter Hall. Former West Ham United defender Julian Dicks and former Port Vale players Dave Brammer and Dean Glover applied for the job before Hall's appointment.
The pre-season was mixed, with the highlight being a 2–0 win over a Stoke City side featuring several first-team players. The club also celebrated its 125th anniversary with a new badge and the release of a book chronicling the history of the club, entitled Proud To Be The Dabbers.
The season saw disappointing results for the Dabbers, with the team languishing towards the bottom of the table with plenty of goals conceded. The defence has been a weakness with heavy defeats to United of Manchester (1–6 at home, 0–4 away) and Boston United (0–4 at home, 0–5 away) being particular low points. The cups saw a 1–0 defeat to lower division Warrington Town in the FA Cup, a 3–0 home defeat to Stalybridge Celtic in the FA Trophy, and the Dabbers were defeated 4–3 by Cammell Laird in the Cheshire Senior Cup. The poor form resulted in Head Coach Peter Hall losing his job in late March. After Hall's departure, Kevin Street and Darren Tinson took over on a caretaker basis; there was an immediate improvement in results, with their 6 games in charge having 5 wins and 1 draw. The Dabbers finished in 10th position.
The season was blighted with a number of late postponements, with home games against Bradford PA and Worksop and away games against Durham City and Kendal all being postponed within an hour of kick-off. Crowds were also down, with most home games attracting around 300 fans, well down from the 500–600 crowds of the previous two seasons.
The season did not begin in a good way, with several heavy pre-season defeats followed by losses in the first 3 league games. After a win over Northwich Victoria, several other defeats followed including a FA Cup defeat to lower league Whitley Bay. This left Nantwich 21st in the table. On 13 October Nantwich were involved in a classic game with Mickleover Sports, when they came back from a 6–2 deficit to draw 6–6. This comeback seems to have sparked a revival in the fortunes of the Dabbers, with only one defeat in the next 10 games and the managerial duo of Street and Tinson received the Manager of the Month award for November.
On 7 February 2011 Clive Jackson stepped down from his role as Chairman to become the vice-chairman due to work commitments in Dubai. Jon Gold (the club's commercial and marketing director) stepped up and took over the role of chairman. On 10 March 2011 it was announced that joint managers Kevin Street and Darren Tinson were leaving by mutual consent with director of football Jimmy Quinn taking temporary charge of first-team affairs. The announcement came after Nantwich recorded a run of 0 points from their last 6 games.
The close season was a busy one for new boss Jimmy Quinn. After saving the club from relegation, he set about improving the squad, by bringing in experienced players. The new NPL season started poorly, with 3 poor defeats against Mickleover Sports, Marine and Bradford P.A. Also joining the ranks at Nantwich was Ben Mills, who signed from Stafford Rangers. The striker went on to score 12 goals for the club until his January move to Macclesfield Town. Nantwich finished midtable in 10th place, but the season ended in triumph when the Dabbers lifted the Cheshire Senior Cup beating Stalybridge Celtic in the final.
2011–12 FA Cup RunEdit
Nantwich Town reached the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history when they beat Nuneaton Town of the Conference South in October. This saw the club draw MK Dons away, and resulted in a 6–0 defeat in front of 4070 fans. Previous rounds saw Nantwich beat Ramsbottom United, Northwich Victoria and Kendal Town
After an impressive pre-season, and an opening day 5–0 away win over Matlock Town hopes were high for Nantwich, but after a good start performances declined, and boss Jimmy Quinn was fired in February. Darren Moss took over as a player manager and Nantwich ended the season 14th. Chorley ended the Dabbers FA Cup dreams in the 1st Qualifying Round and Fylde overcame Nantwich in the FA Trophy.
In 2013–14 under the management of Danny Johnson, Nantwich finished 19th in the table, after not winning any of their last 9 games but with a positive goal difference. The FA Cup run ended in the 1st Qualifying round after Rugby Town beat the Dabbers 2–1 at the Weaver Stadium. The FA Trophy was exited in the 3rd Qualifying Round by Northwich Victoria
The 2nd season under Johnson did not lead to much improvement, and he lost his job in February, to be replaced by ex player Phil Parkinson and assisted by Neil Sorvel and Danny Griggs. The new managers appointment led to an improvement in results and performances and Nantwich finished lower mid-table. Again there was not much of a cup run, with an FA Cup defeat to Salford City and an FA Trophy defeat to Ramsbottom United.
In 2015/16 Nantwich embarked on an FA Trophy run, beginning in the 1st Qualifying Round with a 2–1 home victory over Salford City, they then beat Kings Lynn Town 5–1 with a hat trick from Liam Shotton. Next up was an away game against higher league Stockport County that the Dabbers won 2–0. Now into the competition proper, Nantwich beat Matlock Town 2–0 at home, before an away tie against Bradford Park Avenue, this was a 1–1 draw, Nantwich won the replay 5–0. Stourbridge were the next opponents at the Weaver Stadium, after 2 postponements, a last minute header from Steve Jones gave Nantwich a 1–0 win and put them into the quarter finals. Conference team Dover Athletic were the opponents, and another last minute goal from Liam Shotton gave the Dabbers a 2–1 victory The semi-finals were against Halifax Town, in front of a record crowd of 2,078 at the Weaver Stadium, Halifax won the first leg 4–2. The second leg at the Shay ended in a 2–2 draw, giving Halifax Town a 6–4 aggregate victory.
The club also finished in 8th place in the League that season, finishing with 75 points. They also scored 94 goals in the league, the 2nd highest total.
Nantwich finished 5th in the Northern Premier League table and qualified for the play-offs for the first time in 8 years, however a 2–0 defeat to Spennymoor ended the promotion hopes. There was also an FA cup run to the 4th qualifying round with wins over Ashton United, Marine and Halesowen Town but Stourbridge ran out 3–1 winners at the Weaver Stadium. There was a 3–2 Cheshire Senior Cup final defeat to neighbours Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Rd. At the end of the season, manager Phil Parkinson left the club to go to Altrincham along with several of the team.
The 2017/18 season saw Nantwich get to the 1st round of the FA cup for only the 2nd time in their history. They beat City of Liverpool FC 2–1, Shepshed Dynamo 1–0, Nuneaton Town 3–1 and Kettering Town 1–0 in a replay. They lost 5–0 in the first round to Stevenage F.C.
After a 16th place finish in the League, Nantwich moved on to their second consecutive Cheshire Senior Cup final, where they picked up a 3–0 victory against Stockport Town to claim their fifth Senior Cup.
Nantwich finished fourth in the Northern Premier League table, their second-highest finish in the league, and missed out on promotion after suffering defeat to Warrington Town in the play-off semi-final. They also claimed their second consecutive Cheshire Senior Cup, beating North-West Counties Football League outfit Cammell Laird in the final 5-2. The run saw them claim scalps of three higher-division sides, with wins at Gresty Road against Crewe Alexandra, and at home against Chester FC and Stockport County.
Striker Joe Malkin won the league's Young Player of the Year award, while Sean Cooke was voted into the league's Team of the Season. Manager Dave Cooke also grabbed national headlines in January by bringing in former Premier League and Stoke City striker Ricardo Fuller to the club.
The club plays at the Weaver Stadium at Kingsley Fields. The ground cost £4 million, and was opened in 2007 before the start of the 2007–08 season; previously the club had played at Jackson Avenue.
Although bad weather set back the opening of the ground, with Nantwich having to play the majority of their pre-season games away from home, the first match at the Weaver Stadium took place on 7 August 2007 with League One side Port Vale the visitors for a friendly that ended 6–3 to the League side. Port Vale's Ross Davidson scored the first goal at the ground after just 3 minutes with Glyn Blackhurst becoming the first Nantwich Town player to find the net. The ground was officially opened before Nantwich's match on 10 October 2007 by Sir Trevor Brooking. Moving to the new stadium coupled with success on the pitch has helped contribute to a dramatic increase in Nantwich's attendances from an average of 118 in 2005–06 to an average of 664 in 2008–09
Baker Wynne and Wilson StandEdit
The Baker Wynne & Wilson Stand is the main stand at the Weaver Stadium and is situated to the south of the pitch. It seats around 300 people. It also contains bar facilities and also a snack bar.
Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Vans StandEdit
The Whitby Morrison Ice Cream Vans Stand is a low terrace situated to the north of the pitch at the Weaver Stadium. It can hold around 295 standing supporters. It is home to the more vocal of the Dabbers' support
At present both ends of the ground are flat and undeveloped.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- Dave Cooke
- Assistant Manager:
- Danny Griggs
- First Team Coach:
- Goalkeeping Coach:
- Paddy Chesters
- Tony Davison
- Clive Jackson
- Club Secretary:
- Carl "Schume" Thorpe
- Life Vice-Presidents:
- Albert Pye
- Peter Temmen
- Tony Davison
- John Dunning
- Jon Gold
- Clive Jackson
- Bob Melling (Non-Executive)
- Sports Therapists:
- Vincent Tang
- Stacey Green
- Media Officer and Programme Editor
- Steve Sharman
- Assistant Media Officer
- Ryan Batty
- Kit Men
- Kieran MacDonald
- Jason Clarke
Honours and recordsEdit
- FA Vase
- Winners 2005–06
- Cheshire County League
- Champions 1980–81
- Cheshire Senior Cup
- Champions 1932–33, 1975–76, 2007–08, 2011–12, 2017–18, 2018-19
- Finalists 1889–90, 1897–98, 1903–04, 1913–14, 1929–30, 2008–09, 2016–17
- North West Counties Football League Challenge Cup
- Champions 1994–95
- Finalists 1992–93
- Mid-Cheshire League
- Champions 1963–64
- Runners-up 1950–51, 1961–62, 1964–65
- Mid-Cheshire League Cup
- Winners 1961–62, 1963–64
- Finalists 1948–49, 1964–65
- Crewe Amateur Combination
- Champions 1946–47
- The Combination
- Runners-Up 1902–03
- Cheshire League Division One
- Runners-Up 1900–01
- Shropshire & District League
- Runners-Up 1891–92
- Manchester League
- Runners-Up 1966–67
- Northern Premier League Division One South
- Play-Off Winners 2007–08
- Fee Received:
- Record League Victory:
- 20–0 v Whitchurch Alexandra, Cheshire League Division 1, 5 April 1901
- Record win margin: 20
- as above
- Record League defeat:
- 2–16 v Stalybridge Celtic, 22 October 1932
- Most Goals scored in one Season:
- 60 Bobby Jones, 1946–47
- Record Attendance:
- Kingsley Fields, Nantwich 5,121 v Winsford United, 19 February 1921
- London Road (Jackson Avenue), Nantwich 4,000 v Crewe Alexandra Reserves, 21 April 1924
- The Weaver Stadium, Nantwich 2,078 v Halifax Town, 12 March 2015 FA Trophy Semi Final 1st Leg
- League: 1,547 v F.C. United of Manchester, 7 February 2009
- FA Cup Best: