Worcester City History

History

Worcester City Football Club was formed on 9th September 1902 when another Worcester-based club, Berwick Rangers, went into liquidation. The Birmingham League agreed to let City take over Rangers' fixtures, and the Club moved to St. George's Lane in 1905.

City's first honour was the Worcestershire Senior Cup, which was won for six successive seasons between 1908 and 1914, and in the final season before World War 1 a Birmingham League and Senior Cup double was achieved.

There was little success in the early post-war years, but eventually City began to attract some quality players and surprised everybody by winning a second Birmingham League title in 1924/25.

For 1928/29 City appointed a full-time player-manager, Frank Womack. City clinched the title with ten wins out of their last eleven matches, but Womack then stunned City by accepting an offer to manage Torquay United. He was succeeded by Joe Smith, an ex-England and West Bromwich Albion full-back. 1929/30 season saw the title won again, City scoring an incredible 153 goals in 34 games. At home they won all their matches, mostly by cricket scores, with a six, five sevens, an eight, two nines, a twelve and a (then) club record 13 against Stourbridge, with Billy Boswell getting six, a club record he still shares.

During the 1930’s the Birmingham League was considerably weakened as teams left and in 1938 City joined the Southern League, winning the Southern League Cup in 1940 – it was wartime and City were able to field several Football League professionals as guest players!

Although crowds flocked to the Lane when football returned after the war, there was little success until 1957/58, when under player-manager Roy Paul, City took Aldershot to a second replay in the F.A. Cup First Round, going out at St. Andrews, Birmingham in front of a crowd of 22,926 - a record for a City game. The following year, City achieved a famous Cup result which is still talked about today. They first beat Millwall and then Liverpool - at the time playing in Division 2 - at the Lane before losing to Sheffield United in front of a record home crowd of 17,042 in Round 4.

City nearly went out of business in the early sixties, but supporters rallied to keep the Club afloat and were rewarded with some big name signings. Players such as Peter McParland, Norman Deeley, Eddie Stuart , Ivor Allchurch and Gerry Hitchens all appeared in the blue and white shirt but it was not until the appointment of Nobby Clark as manager in December 1974 that the glory days truly returned.

The Southern League Division 1 North was won in 1976/77, with City gaining 69 points from a possible 76 and losing only one League match - the final one! Two years later, the Southern League Premier Division title was won for the first time, and in the same season City secured a memorable victory over Plymouth Argyle in the F.A. Cup. In 1979, City joined the newly-formed Alliance Premier League (Now the Football Conference), and finished third in its inaugural season. There were further F.A. Cup successes at home to Wrexham and Aldershot, but Clark was dismissed as manager in 1984, and City were relegated back to the Southern League twelve months later.

In 2001 former City star John Barton steered his team to success in the Dr Martens Southern League Cup, and during his five and a half year reign as manager two City players – Adam Wilde and goalkeeper Danny McDonnell – were capped by England at semi-professional level.

In 2004 City became founder members of the Conference North but in January 2005, Barton resigned and another former City player, Andy Preece, took over. His greatest success came in 2005/06, when City reached the second round of the F.A. Cup, losing 1-0 to Huddersfield Town at the Lane in a game televised live on the BBC. To compound City’s misery, Huddersfield were drawn away to Chelsea in the next round.

In October 2007, Preece was replaced by Richard Dryden, assisted by City legend Carl Heeley. City switched to the Blue Square South for the 2008/09 season, with Carl taking over as manager at the start of 2010. City reverted to the Blue Square Bet North after narrowly avoiding relegation in 2009/10 and last season finished in 16th place.

The 2012 / 13 was the final season at St Georges Lane & the match v Chester FC on Saturday 27th April 2013 was the last ever game at The Lane, the attendance of 4,027 was the highest in the Blue Square North for the whole season.

Worcester City FC now ground share at Aggborough, the home of Kidderminster Harriers FC whilst the club works with The Supporters Trust (who have the backing of Supporters Direct) to return to Worcester.

The Club were awarded FA Charter Standard Development Status in April 2014 and are well on the way to be awarded FA Charter Standard Community Status.

In August 2013 M Pinches Transport Ltd signed a two year sponsorship deal to take their period of being Main Shirt Sponsor to 10 years.

The 2014/15 Season proved to be one of the most memorable, winning against a Football League Club away from home for the first time in the Club's history when on Saturday 9th November two goals from Sean Geddes saw a memorable 1-2 win at The Ricoh Arena v Coventry City in the 1st Round of the FA Cup, backed by over 3,200 travelling supporters.

During the Cup run a moment of football genius brought world wide attention to the Club when Sean Geddes scored a remarkable "Rabona" goal which was seen millions of times on various platforms. The goal was awarded Runner-Up by Sky Sports viewers Goal of the Year for 2014 (behind Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal but ahead of Wayne Rooney of Manchester United) and was also awarded Non League Goal of The Season by the Non League Paper.

The Second Round of the FA Cup saw another memorable performance ending in a 1-1 draw away at Scunthorpe United thanks to a Daniel Nit goal, earning a replay at Aggborough in front of the live cameras and a worldwide TV audience. The replay ended 1-1 after extra time and it took an FA Cup record breaking shoot out for Scunthorpe to eventually go through 14-13.

Julian Pugh
Worcester City FC Historian

Where next?

List of games at St Georges Lane 1987-2013 The final game at St Georges Lane v Chester FC was the 5190th Worcester City Match and the 2545th ga

Affiliations

Club sponsors