The club was founded in 1948 and was known as Mickleover Old Boys, playing their football in the Derby & District League. The club remained in this league until 1993, resigning after 44 years (the longest serving club).
In 1993 they applied successfully to join the Central Midlands Football League, officially entering the Non-League Pyramid for the first time, under the new name of Mickleover Sports Football Club.
This had been made possible, when in 1982 the club embarked on a ambitious campaign to develop a new football and cricket facility on meadow land at the junction of Station Road and Radbourne Lane in Mickleover. This involved a concerted effort by the members, over the next ten years, to, embark on a fund raising drive for the £30,000 + needed for the development of the land. This work finally began in 1992 and was completed later that year and formally opened.
Following this development, the ambitions of the club increased. A new management team was brought in, led by Tony Shaw. In Their first season in their new league, they finished a respectable 6th place.
1994/95 saw Sports gain promotion to the CMFL Supreme Division and they reached the semi-final of the league cup. 1996/97 saw the managerial reins of the club, taken on by Mark Kelsey, with Sports finishing a creditable 6th place.
Off the field the club was learning to manage its new facilities. Limited expenditure allowed the club to put railings around the pitch, lay slabs for hard standing and also the erection of a small stand, with the general maintenance there was little money available.
In order for the club to progress, or even remain in the CMFL, the club needed to erect floodlights. In 1997 after a hard fundraising campaign, this effort was realized. At a cost of over £30,000 to the club.
The next development was for the club to provide dedicated facilities for the Junior Football section, which with the help of a National Lottery Grant, the club was able to do. Another adjacent field was obtained and turned into a pitch for the juniors. In addition, new changing rooms, referee’s room, toilets and showers were built, along with the relaying of the car park.
On the field, season 1997/98 saw Sports finish 3rd in the CMFL Supreme Division, with the following season being crowned Champions. 1998/99 saw Sports enter the FA Vase for the first time , enjoying a good run, beating several teams from ‘higher’ leagues. They were eliminated in the third round in controversial circumstances . winning 3-0 at eventual finalists Bedlington Terriers, and with only 14 minutes remaining, the home sides floodlights suspiciously failed. After an FA enquiry Sports Lost the replayed game 2-0.
After that successful season, 1999/2000 saw Sports promoted to the Northern Counties East League and in that first season at level 5, they finished a very creditable 4th in Division One. Also reaching the semi-final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup, and again got to the third round of the FA Vase losing out away to Chasetown 1-0.
Season 2000/01 Sports went one better finishing third. In the FA Vase they lost in the forth round away to Stourport Swifts 5-2. The following year they moved slightly backward, finishing 5th and had early exits from all cup competitions.
2003/04 saw the change in management, with ex Belper Town manager Martin Rowe taking over the helm. His first season saw Sports win the NCEL Division one Championship. For good measure they also won the Division One Cup (Wilkinson Sword Trophy), reached the final of the Derbyshire Senior Cup for the first time. Again they reached the third round of the FA Vase, losing by the odd goal in a reply at home to Oadby Town. Not a bad first season by any standards.
Mickleover were now in a position to move up the pyramid again to the NCEL Premier Division. The club did however needed to build a 250 seat stand. This followed three years of consolidation.
2006/07 was arguably Mickleover’s most successful season to date. Despite early exits from the FA Cup and Vase. and the subsequent departure of manager Martin Rowe. The club were led to their highest ever position in Non-League football, under the clubs new manager Dick Pratley. 7th place in the NCEL Prmier Division was achieved, along the way winning the NCEL League Cup beating Garforth Town.
The following season 2007/08 was a disappointing one in recent history, in that they finished lower than the previous season. It was however just a minor blip as in 2008/09 they went on to win the league by 7 points, this meaning another move up the pyramid.
We knew the step up to the Unibond League was significant and were expecting it to be a tough season. Unlike a lot of clubs moving up, Mickleover, were not prepared to jeopardize the club’s future by paying players more than we could afford. The development of several key players in the U19 Academy, along with some very astute signings by Dick Pratley, gave the club confidence that it could survive and be competitive at step 4.
Life in the Unibond League started well with a 4-0 win at Butt Hole Lane, the home of Shepshed Dynamo. After 17 games Sports were mid table with a record of W7 D4 L6. The club then embarked on a record run of 16 consecutive wins catapulting them to the top of the table. Sports were never to look back and won the league by 7pts. They went on to win the Chairman’s Cup, beating FC Halifax at the Shay.
A local brewer, Trevor Harris(Derby Brewing Company) thought the clubs achievement was worth recocgnising, by brewing a celebration ale for the club and called it ‘Sweet Sixteen’, which is still on sale at the club today.
So another step up to the Evo-Stik Premier Division, season 2010/11, was this a step to far for a club of this size. It certainly appeared to be the case, the season opening with 5 defeats in the first six games, the only victory being away to Matlock Town 2-1. Things picked up from the middle of September to mid October with a record of Pld12 W4 D2 L6. During this run of games two in particular stood out, the first being the visit of FC United of Manchester. This game drawing the clubs biggest ever crowd of 1075 to Station Road. The second was the visit of Nantwich Town, which unbelievably ended 6-6.
The rest of the season continued in this vein with winning games hard to come by, but the club did enough to finish above the relegation places with a couple of games to spare, meaning another season in the Premier Division.
Could the club Do better in the 2011/12 season ?. The season started with mixed fortunes, but very soon the team began to find it a struggle. Injuries to key players did not help, the squad soon came down to bare bones. Dick Pratley spent many hours searching for players to join the club, but his endeavours bore little success.
Early exits in the cup competitions did not help, although the player’s efforts showed their committiment to the club cause. Along the way Mickleover found themselves looking at loss of points for mistakenly playing a suspended player against Bradford Park Avenue, a game they won 4-0.
These three points proved to be the clubs undoing in the battle for survival in the Premier Division. The season ended with the club being three points short of survival. Mickleover Sports will therefore begin the 2012/13 season in the Evo-Stik Premier Division One (South). The clubs first relegation in many years.
The Evo-Stik League Northern Premier » First Division South
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Last updated Saturday 31st January, 18:00