Shortwood United AFC – Club History
Shortwood United Football Club was formed in 1900 and since then have played at 4 different grounds, Nailsworth Playing Field, Table Land, Wallow Green and finally at our current ground, Meadowbank.
The club has been at Meadowbank since 1972, and includes an all weather training area opened by the late Ted Croker. Floodlights were installed in 1989 with a match versus Swindon Town commemorating their official launch. Gradual improvements over the years culminated in a major enhancement in 2009 to meet ground grading criteria for any future promotions. This included refurbishment of the main stand, the erection of a new 50 seat stand opposite, new dug outs and turnstiles and an overhaul of the dressing rooms. In 2010 a new pitch barrier was added giving Shortwood a ground to be proud of, befitting the level of football we play. In 2013 further supporters facilities were added including a new covered standing area. The pitch has been improved over the years with new drainage recently added. With the hard work of the current groundsman the pitch receives many accolades including recognition by the FA in 2009 and 2010 and for the 2012-13 season our groundsman collected two awards as Southern League groundsman and National groundsman (at Step 3 and 4) of the year .
League football was commenced in the Stroud League where following continued success during the 1970s promotion was gained to the Northern Senior and then the Gloucestershire County League. Promotion to the Hellenic league was achieved in 1981 only to be relegated in our first season but finishing runners up the following year ensured promotion straight back. In 1983 we won the Hellenic Division One Cup and GFA Trophy and in the following year won the Hellenic League. It was a further six years until success was realised again when the treble of League winners, GFA Trophy and Stroud Charity Cup was completed.
The 2007/08 season started a resurgence in Shortwood’s fortunes in finishing 5th in the league and winning the supplementary cup, defeating Ardley 4-2 in the final. The subsequent season pushed our success even further when following a good run in the FA Cup and semi finalists in the League Cup, we pressed the eventual Champions Hungerford to the final day of the season where we lost out on goal difference after amassing 99 pts and scoring 99 goals. Shortwood’s fine form continued into the next season when they again finished second in the league to Almondsbury, and runners up in the GFA Trophy again to Almondsbury, had good FA Cup and Vase runs and reached the final of the Floodlit cup. Having lost the away leg 3-0 to Reading Town they produced one of the most exciting comebacks and entertaining matches ever seen at Meadowbank where the score remained at 0-0 till the 67th minute when the deadlock was broken and Shortwood ran out 5-0 winners (AET).
Shortwood’s league campaign in 2011 was a disappointment by their own high standards, but more silverware was added in the shape of the GFA Trophy after a 1-0 win over Tuffley Rovers in the final.
2011-12 season, however, was pivotal in the Club’s history! Not only did they reach the quarter final of the FA Vase, they also reached the final of the Hellenic League Floodlit Cup and the GFA Trophy Final. Most important was their league position where they finished 2nd by 1 point behind Oxford City Nomads. With Nomad’s not applying for promotion, and with Shortwood filling all the relevant criteria, they were promoted to the Southern League for the first time in their history! To round off the season the reserves were duly crowned champions of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League for the first time in their history.
The 2012-13 season was again a successful one. Following a disappointing early exit from the FA cup the club had a good run in the FA Trophy including a magnificent away victory at premier league side Weymouth on the way. In their first season in the Southern League they finished a creditable eighth position.
Not to be undone the reserves completed back to back promotions by winning the Hellenic Division two title and gain promotion to Hellenic Division One West.
This season has seen Shortwood progress further in the FA Cup than ever before! Early wins over Egham and Aylesbury put them up against Conference South outfit Dorchester and a 1-0 away win, and a further 1-0 win at Didcot put them into uncharted waters of the fourth qualifying round where they drew Conference side Aldershot at Meadowbank. A late, but deserved, equaliser gave them a replay and a heroic 2-1 win sparked wild celebrations.
A home draw pitted Shortwood against League 1 side Port Vale in front of a record crowd of 1,247 plus a live television audience courtesy of BT Sport. Shortwood bowed out – but with the plaudits their cup run earned ringing in their ears.