Skelmersdale United - A Brief History
Skelmersdale United Football Club has a very rich pedigree with an extensive list of honours since they were founded in 1882. The Club had its genesis in a team of players brought together by the teachers of the Skelmersdale Wesleyan Day School and it was called Skelmersdale Young Rovers, the headmaster at the time being Mr Ritson. When he left he was succeeded by Mr Forster of St Helens, a real football enthusiast. Under his guidance the team became a much stronger organisation and the name was changed to Skelmersdale Wesleyans, subsequently the minister expressed his disapproval of this and the team became Skelmersdale United.
They joined the Liverpool County Combination in 1909 and won the first of their Championship titles in 1911 they competed in the League until 1955, during which time they were Champions on 10 occasions, Liverpool County FA Challenge Cup Winners on 8 occasions and George Mahan Cup Winners 5 times. For the majority of their first seventy years the club played at Sandy Lane that is now the site of an office block. Tom Tinsley who played for just four seasons (either side of the war) created a record by scoring 214 goals this despite many games missed due to Army call ups
Between 1966-67 and 1970-71 included two Wembley appearances in the Amateur FA Cup in 1967 & 1971. The 1st final was against Enfield which, following a 0-0 draw at Wembley (with Alan Bermingham missing a last minute penalty); they lost 0-3 at Maine Road, Manchester, in the replay. The 2nd Wembley date, in 1971, with Roy Rees in charge resulted in a convincing 4-1 win against Dagenham, with centre forward Ted Dicken scoring a hat trick, Andy Windsor also scoring
In between the two Wembley finals, the club had regular successful cup runs in the Amateur Cup, reaching the semi-final on two other occasions. During this period the club also won 2 Cheshire League titles and numerous other trophy's. One of the everlasting memories of the successful Amateur Cup days was the tremendous support for the club. The phenomenal increase in crowds will probably never be repeated again, with regular crowds between 1,000 and 1,500 for league games, rising to several thousand for cup games. Indeed the record gate for the club was 7,500 for a quarter final game in March 1967 that resulted in a 1-0 victory over Slough Town. The cup final of 1967 attracted a massive 75,000, There is no doubt that the 1967-1971 period was a golden era for Skelmersdale with many players progressing into the Football League.
Although the club joined the Northern Premier League in 1971 it was to be an unhappy time for the club, with financial problems that the club would have hanging round its neck for over two decades and performances on the pitch were less than impressive. After joining the North West Counties League in 1982 without much success and following three seasons of just avoiding relegation to the 2nd Division in the early 90’s, the inevitable happened at the end of the 1995-96 season as the club slumped to its lowest level
Russ Perkins was named as Manager and the club quickly regained promotion and the start of the long road back to the clubs former glories. winning the League Challenge Trophy in May 2000, The club left their spiritual home of White Moss Park in 2002 and eventually moved to the newly named Westgate Interactive Stadium Stuart Rudd smashed the goalscoring record netting 230 goals With Paul Gallagher in charge he took the club forward and with a second place finish and promotion to the Northern Premier League in 2006. United appointed the experience manager Tommy Lawson to take the club to the new level and apart from a mid table position in 06-07 the club finished in a play-off position all but once in the next 5 seasons winning the title in record breaking style in 2012-13.They also won the Lancashire Cup in 2010. Despite challenging for the title in their first season in the NPL Premier the club lost ground and eventually finished 6th. After a good start to the 2014-15 season, the club lead the table until after the Christmas period but United found themselves in a serious financial problems and only by the efforts of the players supporters and sponsors the club managed to see the season through. The season however ended on a high as victories over Champions FC United and a Liverpool Senior Cup win offered the club optimism for the future..
Last season however was one of difficulty both on and off the field a the club was perilously close to the relegation zone for much of the season, not helped by some dramatic Winter weather that had the ground underwater and the large back fence totally destroyed, the club survived but worse was to foloow
2016-17 was spent in the bottom 4 all season and by Januray Tommy Lawson the long serving manager was sacked, replaced by former Notts Forrest and Leicester defender Alan Rogers. he assembled a young inexperienced side that battled bravely but relegation was on the cards before he joined the club, the inevitable happened and the club found themselves back in the NPL (North) section. but that was not all on the news front as Landlords Chequer Properties failed to negotiate a new lease and the club have agred a groundshare with Prescot cables from November 2017.
Manager Dave Powell replaced Alan Rogers in September 2017, United avoiding relegation, There was good news in August as United announced plans for a new stadium at The JMO, just 100 yds from their spiritual home of White Moss Road.