Our History - 1936 to 2012
Ossett Town Football Club was formed in 1936 at a public meeting chaired by the Mayor of the Borough of Ossett and a former Yorkshire League referee called John Carter was given the task of bringing to Ossett the highest possible standard of football. The new club played in the Leeds League (later renamed the West Yorkshire League in 1939) and played on a pitch behind the Fern House Working Mens Club on Wakefield Road and used various local pubs as headquarters.
During World War II, the team switched to the Heavy Woollen League and had to use a pitch on Back Lane when the army commandeered Fern House. After the war in 1945, Town joined the Yorkshire League. Town won the West Riding County Senior Cup in 1948, beating Salts 4-2 at Bradford City’s Valley Parade. In 1950, Town finished 3rd, our best position in the Yorkshire League and scored a record 120 goals that season.
Attendances at some games were well over 1,000 during the 1940s and 1950s and the Yorkshire League contained the 'A' teams of Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield United, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Doncaster and so on. Many top players learned their trade in these teams, such as John Charles, Denis Law, Ray Wilson, Peter Swan, Tommy Taylor, Jackie Charlton and many others.
In January 1957, Derrick Blackburn was transferred from Ossett Town to Swansea Town for £1,350. This fee enabled Ossett Town to acquire the Ingfield site in the centre of Ossett and the club moved to their new ground in 1959, just after being relegated from Division 1. Town bounced straight back at the first attempt, but were relegated again in 1962.
By 1970, Town were members of the newly formed Division 3. About this time, a long serving player, Frank Lloyd, became manager and he signed up two former Newcastle and Huddersfield strikers, Len White and Jim Kerray. Former chairman Graham Firth was also part of this side at this time. Frank eventually became secretary and was replaced as manager by John Riley. Town were promoted in 1973, but were relegated back to Division 3 in 1975. Again Town won promotion from Division 3 in 1976, but this time they stayed up and won promotion to Division 1 in 1978. However they were relegated again in 1980. In 1982 Town again won the County Cup beating Bradley Rangers 2-0 at Huddersfield Town’s Leeds Road ground in the final season of the Yorkshire League finishing runners up in Division 2.
Ossett Town joined the newly formed Northern Counties East League in 1982/83. Initially they played in Division 1 North until 1984, then Division 1 Central for a year before joining Division 2. 1987 saw the start of the rise in fortunes at Ossett Town, when Mickey Bullock was appointed manager, Town won the Division 2 Championship in 1988/89. The following season Town gained promotion to the Premier Division and won the League Cup beating Vase finalists Bridlington Town 1-0 at North Ferriby’s ground. During this time floodlights were installed, the pitch re-laid, new dressing rooms built and the social club extended as Town prepared to move up the pyramid. Also our record attendance was set (2,600) when Town entertained Manchester United in a pre-season friendly in 1988.
The President of Ossett Town, John Carter, died in 1994 at the age of 88. He had performed every role within the club, including chairman, secretary and team manager.
After nine seasons in the Premier Division Ossett Town gained promotion to the Northern Premier League. In 1998/99, Town under manager Trevor Best, were unbeaten at Christmas and top of the table, however Best left the club and was replaced by Gary Brook, Town finishing runners up to Ossett Albion who were denied promotion due to ground grading issues.
Finishing 8th in the first two seasons in the higher league Town finished runners up in 2001-02 and thought they had gained promotion to the Premier Division, but this time the ground grading rules worked against them and promotion was denied as ground improvement work was twelve hours late. Ossett Town appealed this decision, but the decision was not overturned.
The following season a number of key players left the club and Town just avoided relegation finishing in 20th place. 2003-04 saw the managerial reigns initially in the hands of Scott Cooper but he was replaced by Steve Richards at Christmas when Town were bottom of the league. Town ended the season in 14th place. This was critical as with the restructuring of the leagues, the top 13 clubs were promoted to the Premier Division to replace those teams that had moved up to the Conference North Division, however, Town also secured promotion following the unfortunate demise of Telford United. In Town's first season in the Premier Division, they finished 16th.
In 2005-06, Ossett Town achieved their best ever performance in the FA Cup, reaching the 4th qualifying round eventually losing 2-3 to Leamington. At the time of this game Town were in the relegation zone and a few weeks later the manager Steve Richards was replaced by his assistant, Steve Kittrick. Results improved considerably and Town eventually finished 11th. In 2006-07, Town finished 10th.
In 2007-08, after a bright start, Town lost their manager when Steve Kittrick left to become Guiseley manager. A number of players left the club and new manager Simon Collins had a challenge on his hands bringing together a new team, including former Huddersfield Town colleagues, Simon Baldry and Chris Billy. Town finished the season in 18th and avoided relegation on goal difference.
In 2008-09, Town started the season as favourites for relegation however Collins brought in his old Macclesfield Town manager Peter Davenport as an advisor and the results and performances started to improve, with Town eventually finishing in 12th place. Sadly, the season was overshadowed by the death in April at the age of 80 of long serving player, manager and secretary Frank Lloyd. Simon Collins resigned at the end of the 2008-9 season.
Former reserve team manager Paul Lines and former Bradford Park Avenue reserve team manager, Mick Couzens took charge for the 2009-10 season, however, results were not forthcoming and they were soon replaced by Peter Daniel and Karl Lenaghan but they were also unable to stop the slide and resigned towards the end of the season. Paul Lines stepped back into the breach for the final 6 weeks of the season, but time was running out and Town finished the season next to bottom, but due to problems at other clubs Town held onto their Premiership status.
Phil Sharpe took charge for the 2010-11 season but with a tight budget and under-par performances Town suffered relegation to Division 1 North after only one home win all season. Town kept faith with Phil Sharpe who brought in Eric Gilchrist, the ex Ossett Albion manager of many years, as his assistant for the 2011-12season. Town had many good games in both the cups and the league but there was a lack of consistency overall and league performances were below-par. Phil Sharpe stepped down and he was replaced by his assistant Eric Gilchrist as caretaker manager. Town finished the season in 17th place.
Season 2012/13 saw a new man at the helm with the appointment of Craig Elliott as first team manager. With a number of new players being brought in, it took time to find a settled side and the team finished a credible 12th in the league, ending up the highest placed West Yorkshire team. However, this season will go down as cup season with the team arguably playing in their biggest game of the club’s history, when we lost away to Stockport County in the FA Trophy. Town also reached the semi-final of the County Cup before going out to FC Halifax Town.
October 2013 could go down as a momentous month as Graham Firth stood down as chairman after 28 years, the members voting to appoint James Rogers to take over the position as well as a number of members joining the committee for the first time, 2013/2014 has started well, this could be a catalyst for the club to kick-on.