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History

HARROGATE RAILWAY ATHLETIC FOOTBALL CLUB HISTORY

The club was formed in 1935 by Railway workers at the Starbeck LNER depot and joined the local Harrogate League with some success winning the British Railways National Cup in 1946. They borrowed £1,500 from the LNER and more than 300 workers contributed one old penny 1D per week to repay the loan. This money secured ownership of the current Station View site. The 1950s saw the club progress through the West Yorkshire League to the Yorkshire League and they made the second round proper of the FA Amateur Cup in 1953, going out 3-2 at Harwich & Parkstone, a special train conveying supporters to the tie. Sadly the Engine sheds closed in 1959, subsequently affecting finances as many of the workers, and players, had to leave the area. Nevertheless, under the auspices of “Chick” Farr the club soldiered on through the sixties and they almost repeated their Amateur Cup exploits of the fifties when they made the first round proper in 1961 only to lose 4-2 at Whitley Bay. Another special train. In 1964 they won promotion to the first division of the Yorkshire League, then just three steps from the Football League itself, and made the Yorkshire League Cup Final, losing to Farsley Celtic after a replay. The late sixties and the seventies became a real struggle and Railway had to pull out of the Yorkshire League and return to the Harrogate League in 1973. This gave the club time to re-group and they were back in the Yorkshire League in 1980 becoming founder-members of the new NCEL League in 1982. Freddie Cliff steered the club to promotion from the second division (north) and won the League Cup with a 5-0 victory over Woolley Miners Welfare in the final. In the 1990-91 season Railway made their first major impression in the FA Cup, Denis Metcalf steering his team to the fourth qualifying round. Future manager Martin Haresign actually played in the 3-1 defeat at Chorley. Floodlights were installed in 1991 and a strong Sheffield United side, including Vinnie Jones, provided the star opposition at the official opening. Dave Fell joined as boss in 1998 and won the NCEL first division but he departed at the end of the same season, taking most of the side with him. Paul Marshall took the job and had success in two amazing back-to-back FA Cup runs. The fourth qualifying round was reached for a second time in 2001, the run ending with a 3-2 defeat at home to Morecambe. A year later Railway the lowest-ranking club ever to reach the second round were drawn at home to Bristol City, top of the second division, the highest-ranking club in the competition at that stage. Sky TV beamed the game around the globe 8th December 2002. Bristol City were made to fight for their 3-1 win, Steve Davey netting with 17 minutes to go, but once again an injury-time goal sealed Railway’s fate. Railway also had success winning the NCEL President’s Cup. Paul Marshall was not reinstated the following season Leeds duo Dave Harrison and John Francis were appointed but after just one win in 11 games and early exits from the FA competitions they stepped down and Martin Haresign was appointed manager. Railway finished in the top three in 2006 and achieved Northern Premier League (UniBond at the time) status. Unfortunately Martin had to relinquish managerial duties for business reasons but Vince Brockie and new assistant Dave Morgan carried on the good work. The following season another mighty FA Cup run dominated and the little club from Yorkshire reached the 2nd Round proper for a second time. Mansfield Town came to Station View on a soggy Sunday and BBC Match Of The Day screened the game live this time. Mansfield won 3-2 but not before two second-half goals from Danny Davidson gave them a late scare. Dave Morgan was promoted to manager for the following season but found life difficult and resigned. In his place came Phil Sharpe and Richard Chattoe - between them they staved off fears of relegation and looked for consolidation in the future. Richard Chattoe left midway through the following season and Nigel Danby came in as Phil’s assistant. Nigel was appointed as manager bringing in Mick Norbury as his right hand man. Nigel and Mick were in charge for just short of two seasons as they flirted with relegation in both years. Railway were given a reprieve from relegation and appointed Billy Miller and former keeper Lee Ashforth as the Management Team. Railway enjoyed the next 3 years with a great brand of Football and attaining our best finish in the Football Pyramid. Billy was headhunted to Tadcaster and Lee took the helm. Things didn’t go well for Lee or the club and despite a valiant effort we were relegated to the NCEL for 2016-17. Lee remained in charge but was unable to turn the clubs fortunes around on the pitch and so resigned. Paul Beasley took charge and initially made a good impact but for personal reasons he resigned with immediate effect leaving Ray Green Under 17’s Manager to step up and see us to the end of the season with a very young and inexperienced side. Former Captain and Local Lad Liam Gray was appointed Manager for the 17-18 Season, he was replaced by Marlon Adams after a run of poor defeats for Grays team. Marlon struggled to get a consistent side together and ended the season in third bottom position just avoiding relegation.
2018-19 Season see The Rail with A New Management Team, Brian Davey as Manager, Craig Ogilvie Assistant, Chris Hirst & Simon Brooker Coaches.

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