Frickley Athletic FC

Frickley Athletic FC

Frickley Colliery Football Club was formed in 1910 and played initially in the Sheffield Association, followed by a spell in the Yorkshire League. In 1924 the club joined the old Midland League where they remained members until 1960 when the League disbanded upon which they moved to the Cheshire County League.

In 1970 the 'Blues' returned to the reformed Midland Counties League and four years later the club changed its name to Frickley Athletic F.C. Although Frickley were runners-up in the League in 1971-72 it was after their change of name that their climb up the ladder really began. After winning the Midland League Cup in 1976 they were accepted into the Northern Premier League. The stay in the Northern Premier League was only a short one as in 1979-80 Frickley finished in third position in the League and after their ground, Westfield Lane, was given a 'B' grading they took the place of Redditch United in the Alliance Premier League, now the Nationwide Conference.

In season 1985-86 the 'Blues' had their most successful season ever when they defeated a Football League side for the first time when beating Hartlepool 1-0 away in the 2nd Round Proper of the F.A. Cup. History was also made as it was the first time the club had reached the Third Round Proper however a 1-3 home defeat was to follow against local rivals Rotherham United. Frickley then went on to lift the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup and also finished runners-up in the Gola League. Then to top things off the manager, Sean Marshall was elected 'Gola League Manager of the Year'.

The following season saw a complete turn around as the 'Blues' were knocked out of both the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy in the first games and they finally finished next to the bottom of the League and were relegated back to the Northern Premier League.

Since season 1987-88 Frickley consistently finished around mid-table in the N.P.L. and in the 1991-92 season, when finishing 14th, they reached the Final of the H.F.S. Loans League Cup only to lose 1-0 to a last minute Marine goal at Manchester City's Maine Road ground. The following two seasons saw Frickley finish 7th and 5th respectively but since then the club have struggled to find success and have finished in the lower reaches of the table.

Season 1999/2000 saw the Blues finish in 16th position in the League for the third season in succession but a first piece of silverware for ten years was gained when Emley were defeated in the final of the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup at Hillsborough. However, Ian Thompson resigned as manager and several of the squad left the club He was replaced by former Barnsley and Newcastle United player Stewart Barrowclough who brought in numerous young players but, unfortunately, some of theses were not yet ready for UniBond League football and the Blues struggled at the foot of the table from the start of the season.

Barrowclough resigned at the end of September immediately following a 12-0 defeat at Worksop Town, with former Gainsborough Trinity and Guiseley manager Steve Richards taking over a few weeks later. Richards slowly reshaped the side and form started to improve with just one defeat in the last eight games, including a last day victory at Lancaster City, enabling the Blues to retain their Premier Division status by one point. Richards also steered the side to an FA Cup First Round appearance for the first time in twelve years but the Cup dream ended in a 4-0 defeat which flattered the Division Two side.

The club had a poor start to the 2001/02 season and this resulted in Steve Richards resigning as manager in mid September with the club yet to record a League win after 8 matches. His Assistant, Gary Marrow took over team affairs on a caretaker basis with the first victory of the season being obtained at Whitby Town in the next game. As results picked up Marrow was given the manager's job on a permanent basis and the season improved steadily with the Blues eventually finishing in 13th place - their highest position for ten seasons. However, immediately after the last match Marrow resigned to take over at his hometown club, Belper Town, with several of the players following him.

Marrow was replaced by Phil Sharpe, who was previously assistant manager at Guiseley, and he slowly rebuilt the side. After a disastrous start to the season which saw the club lose the first 7 games Sharpe turned the side round and a fantastic sequence of results towards the end of the season saw the club pull clear of the relegation places. The following season the club were looking to build on the previous season's improvement and, like all other clubs in the Premier Division, were looking to do well to try and gain a place in the new Conference North Division. At the turn of the year the Blues were well placed but a disastrous run from mid-January saw the Blues eventually finish second-bottom.

The Club made a stuttering start to the 2004/05 season and at the start of September Sharpe resigned, with stalwart Gary Hatto taking temporary charge of team affairs until the Club re-appointed Gary Marrow as manager on 3rd October 2004. Marrow soon made drastic changes to the side and steered the Club clear of the relegation zone, although safety was only certain on the last day of the season.

The 2005/06 season saw the Blues enjoy their most successful season for twenty years as they pushed Blyth Spartans all the way in the quest for the UniBond Premier Division title but the North East club eventually pipped the Blues by three points to leave Frickley as runners-up. This gave them a home tie in the promotion play-offs against fifth placed North Ferriby United but, unfortunately, the Blues were defeated on penalties. Incredibly, this was the Blues’ fourth penalty shoot-out defeat of the season after earlier defeats to Warrington Town in the FA Trophy, Lincoln United in the League Cup and Blyth Spartans in the UniBond League Chairman's Cup!

The Club made a good start to the 2006/07 season but results and performances soon started to falter which prompted Marrow and his management team to leave for pastures new at the end of September. By early October the Club's Committee had appointed the highly rated former Bridlington Town manager Billy Heath as Marrow's successor and despite the departure of a large number of players, many of whom followed Marrow to Grantham Town, he achieved his primary objective of keeping Frickley Athletic in the UniBond Premier Division.

Hopes were high of a good season last season but Heath resigned after the Club failed to win any of their first 15 matches in all competitions. He was replaced by former Frickley favourites Mark Hancock and Andy Hayward but despite managing to record the Club's first win of the season performances deteriorated and Hancock and Hayward were dismissed after just a month in charge. Heath returned to the hot-seat in a caretaker capacity and slowly turned the Club's fortunes around so much so that he was re-installed as manager in a permanent capacity. After looking relegation certainties Frickley eventually avoided relegation with two matches to spare.

In the F.A. Cup Frickley have reached the First Round Proper on eleven occasions. These are as follows:

1936 Southport (Home) 0-2

1957 South Shields (Away) 2-3

1963 Notts County (Away) 1-2

1971 Rotherham United (Home) 2-2 (Away) 0-4

1973 Halifax Town (Away) 1-6

1983 Altrincham (Home) 0-1

1984 Stalybridge Celtic (Home) 2-1

1985 Halesowen Town (Home) 1-1 (Away) 3-1

1986 Altrincham (Home) 0-0 (Away) 0-4

1988 Northwich Vic. (Home) 0-2

2000 Northampton Town (Away) 0-4

It was against Rotherham United in 1971 that the record attendance for Westfield Lane was set of 6000 although, at the time, the club's average crowd was about 600.

The Second Round Proper has been reached on two occasions:

1985 Darlington (Away) 0-1

1986 Hartlepool Utd. (Away) 1-0

The only Third Round appearance to date is the 3-1 home defeat to Rotherham United in 1985/86.

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League Tables

The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier » Premier Division

1 Skelmersdale United 19 40
2 Buxton 18 34
3 Curzon Ashton 18 32
4 Ramsbottom United 17 31
5 Kings Lynn Town 16 30
6 Grantham Town 18 28
7 Ilkeston FC 17 26
8 FC United of Manchester 17 26
9 Stourbridge 15 25
10 Barwell 16 25
11 Ashton United 16 24
12 Whitby Town 17 24
13 Workington 17 23
14 Stamford 15 23
15 Rushall Olympic 18 22
16 Halesowen Town 17 20
17 Frickley Athletic 18 19
18 Matlock Town 17 18
19 Nantwich Town 18 17
20 Trafford 17 16
21 Blyth Spartans 14 15
22 Marine 16 14
23 Witton Albion 18 13
24 Belper Town 19 12

Last updated Thursday 30th October, 10:00