Club history (Updated June 2016)
The true history of Gornal Athletic is lost to the mists of time. Although the present club can trace its most recent incarnation back to 1945, there is evidence that it has root back in sides that were playing at the turn of the 20th century. One such club, Gornal Wood Excelsior was running as far back the early 1890s.
After World War II the club reformed as Lower Gornal Athletic, since when the club has played in a variety of leagues, including the Worcestershire Combination, Birmingham & District and currently the West Midlands (Regional) League.
The club’s most successful period was the decade following the mid-1960s until 1975. During this time, in 1964/5 the club recorded it highest ever position in the league (fourth behind Kidderminster Harriers in the Premier Division of the WMRL) and ten years later had its best ever FA Cup run, reaching the Third Qualifying Round before losing to Nuneaton Borough. It was also is this era that the club received its highest ever transfer fee when George Andrews and Gary Bell signed for Cardiff City in a deal worth £2,100. Subsequently George went on to play for Walsall and will be remembered by many for scoring the goal that knocked the mighty Newcastle United out of the cup.
After several years of struggling, however, the club were relegated to division one of the league in 1979/80 and it took until 1994 before they bounced back after finishing second to Stafford Town.
The second spell in the Premier came to an end in the 2002/3 season when the club finished rock bottom. However, the club bounced straight back the following season, winning the league after losing just four games and conceding just 12 goals.
The 2004/5 season started with the club’s successful youth team manager Simon Williams being promoted to First Team Manager and, with a blend of youth players and experienced campaigners, managed to finish in tenth, the club’s best position in over 20 years. They also reached the League Cup semi-finals where they lost 2—1 over two legs to league winners Tipton Town. The following season the club topped this, finishing runners up.
For five years the club struggled to maintain this standard, culminating in the 2009/10 season when Simon Williams again had to step in to help steady the ship. That season they ended up finishing 16th but reached the final of the Birmingham County Midweek Cup Final losing to Bartley Green, as well as the semis of the League Cup, losing to eventual winners Bustleholme.
At the start of the 2010/11 season, former Gornal striker Ian Rowe was appointed as manager and led the Peacocks to second-place in the league behind Tividale after a dramatic last-day leapfrogging of AFC Wulfrunians. The side also reached the final of the JW Hunt Cup, losing 3-0 to Wulfrunians.
The following season 2011/12 Ian Rowe and his team took Gornal to the highest level they have ever been, winning the league and getting promoted to the MFA (Now Midland Football League). Also winning the Birmingham midweek cup beating Black Country 3-0 at Solihull moors. Gornal had great wins in the FA Cup beating Rugby Town 4-3 in a replay at home after drawing 0-0 at rugby then in the 1st round qualifying losing 3-0 at Kidsgrove.
Season 2012/13 took Gornal to its highest level ever by finishing 3rd the MFA
And getting to the quarter final of the FA Vase losing 3-1 to Spennymoor town
The eventual winners. Ian Rowe left the club to further his career and has continued success since leaving. Brian Knight takes over as manager for season 2013/14.Brian lasted only 8 games he failed to attract the players needed to play in the MFA and left by mutual consent to be replaced by Matthew Price Who had great success with Sutton Coldfield under 21s winning the league.But after a run of bad results Matt left the club to be replaced by Andy Wyton who arrived from Dudley Town. They had an great run of results taking the team from bottom of the league to 3rd from bottom which should of seen us safe but due to some unfair charges deducted 11pts. We were then relegated back to the West Midlands Regional League.
Season 2014/15 Was a quite a success with a 3rd place finish in the WMRL Premier division and a loss on penalties in the County Floodlit Final to Willenhall.
The 2015/16 season after a bright start faded quickly eventually the team finished 17th in the league and no cup runs to shout about. Manager Andy Wyton fell on his sword and resigned with several games to go.
As we enter pre season 2016/17 Gornal Athletic have appointed Matt Whitehouse as 1st team manager and a whole change of philosophy within the club has taken place the future looks promising with the introduction of teams through the age groups to provide a conveyer of players loyal to the club and hopefully over the next few years success will follow. WATCH THIS SPACE!