Ashton United Football Club was formed in 1878 under its previous name of Hurst FC. The Hurst area boasted several teams of a good standard and the club’s first recorded game came in early 1879 against one of their local rivals, Hurst Red Star. Records indicate that the current Hurst Cross ground was first used by the club in 1880, making it one of football’s oldest surviving venues.
The club proved a very progressive outfit, entering the FA Cup as early as 1883 (just the 13th season of the competition) and reaching the second round at the first time of asking, a club best equalled but never bettered since. In 1885 the club landed its first silverware after the Manchester FA started a new competition for member clubs called the Manchester Senior Cup - Hurst won the first ever final against Newton Heath, the forerunners of the present-day Manchester United, taking the trophy after a 3-0 victory (pictured below). 1885 also saw a ground attendance record set at Hurst Cross, with over 9,000 people paying to watch FA Cup holders Blackburn Rovers play a Lancashire Cup tie.