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By Mark McIntyre

An independent
Bridgnorth Town Football Club was first formed in July 1938 and accepted into the Worcestershire Combination but sadly had to discontinue in their first and only season at the Bandon Arms due to the outbreak of the second world war.  

At the same time,
St Leonards (Bridgnorth) Football Club also suspended their football programme with many players called up for active duty. However, the Bridgnorth Boys Clubcontinued to carry forward the good name of Bridgnorth and for a number of years  played in the Bridgnorth League.

With the second world  war over,  the war heroes  returned home -  With St Leonards still suspended from football, former Saints players opted to play for the existing Bridgnorth Boys club.

Following this, the Boys club decided to opt for a change in name and from season 1946/47 would be known as  Bridgnorth Boys Club Old Boys.

On hearing this news, the club officials of  St Leonards (Bridgnorth) Football Club wound the club up with immediate effect and joined the newly renamed club.

Following two seasons in the Bridgnorth league and one season in the Kidderminster League it was decided (following several meetings) that from season 1949/50 the club would once again be associated as the "Town" club. BRIDGNORTH TOWN FC were back!

During the 50s and 60s ‘Town’ as they became known, played their football in the Kidderminster League winning the championship on one occasion. In the 1960s Town were selected to the Midland Combination and remained at that level for 15 years. The championship was won on two occasions and they were runners up twice. Promotion was then gained to the Southern League (Midland Division) and Town remained there for 12 years before being relegated to the Interlink Express Midland Football Alliance League. Their time in the Southern League was usually dominated by relegation battles.

1994/95 saw the appointment of Kevin Bowen as manager and Town missed out on promotion to the premier division very narrowly. Unfortunately Stafford Rangers enticed Bowen away at the start of the next season. Town struggled, a succession of managers came and went within 5 months and Town were relegated. At the start of 1996/97 season there were many changes on and off the pitch. This saw the introduction of Ian Britton as manager only one player from the previous season remained (Carl Bradley).
The new regimes start was not all smooth and by October Town were rock bottom, Britton turned the corner and finished in 6th position, the side also reached the final of Interlink Invitation Cup but lost out to Oldbury United. The 97/98 season was something of a disappointment as after a promising start Town lost their way and finished 8th. The club parted company with Ian Britton and appointed ex – Town player Les Bristow as manager and look toward the 99/00 with renewed optimism. By the end of March the side were in the top four and were in the semi finals of the Staffs Senior Cup and the Industrial Rewinds Cup. However an appalling fixture pile up was to ruin any chances of success and Town finished mid table with no silverware.

Nine games into the 99/00 season and two points adrift at the bottom end of the table, Bristow was sacked. Former Wolves player Kenny Drakefordwas appointed and an immediate recovery, 8 wins and a draw from Kenny’s first 10 games at the helm, Town moved away from the trouble and the icing on the cake came when the Davies Invitation Cup was won. Bridgnorth Town’s first senior trophy win since the Senior Cup was lifted in1986.
The 2000/01 season saw Tow off to a flying start, by October they were sitting pretty in the top three and in all cups. Drakeford took over as Chairman from Simon Bromley. However Drakeford’s no. 2, Steve Daley, departed to manage Bilston Town and Drakeford two days later, followed the ex wolves star and with them the whole of the first team squad. Harold Broome took over as Chairman and  Mark Pound and Paul Tester become the clubs new management team. They had to attract a new squad within 3 days, which to their credit they managed to achieve.

Tester sadly departed in the summer, due to work commitments and that left Pound in charge of team affairs. He re-introduced Mick Tranter and Paul Blakeley.
The 2002/03 season saw a run of disappointing results under Pound. However, transfer activity bought in some much needed reinforcements and Town won three matches on the bounce. This was not enough to secure Pounds future and he was sacked in November. He was replaced by Jimmy Mullen(ex Burnley, Blackpool and Telford) and  with a lot of hard work Mullen put points on the board to steer the club to a mid table finish.

In the summer the club went through many changes, Mullen moved onto Colwyn Bay, and Lee Edginton took over as the clubs youngest ever Chairman and the committee saw a lot of new blood. Edginton imposed a season of consolidation and tighter financial control. Former Bridgnorth old boy  Steve Frisby became the clubs new manager with the emphasis on local players from around Shropshire and under no pressure, 2003/04 season was looked upon with renewed optimism.

During the 2003/2004 season Bridgnorth Town saw a lot of internal changes with the departure of the Chairman, the Football Secretary, and at the end of the season Steve Frisby resigned. However any problems were quickly overcome as a new Chairman and Football Secretary were appointed along  Kevin Hestletine who stepped up from the reserves to accept the first team hot seat.

The start of 2004/05 under Kevin Hestletine saw Bridgnorth win just 2 league games out of 17 and the performance on the pitch was poor, Kevin resigned after 17 league and cup games in early November and the committee quickly appointed Julian Marsh as manager who bought in the much travelled Kenny Howells as joint manager in the hope that  relegation may be avoided. Town never saw the mid table position again and finished bottom  and were relegated into the Midland Combination League.

Following just one season in the Midland Combination, the Town moved across to the West Midlands Regional League due to level 6 reconstruction. With Julian Marsh still in charge, and following Kenny Howells surprise retirement following a defeat by Ellesmere Rangers, Marsh was joined by Steve Hinks who only spent 5 weeks with the club, but in those 5 weeks he bought in Andy Marlowe as coach and a few new players which gave Town the boost they needed. Finishing 7th (season 2006/07) in the league was a great achievement considering the changes that that Town had been through.Town's second ever appearance in the West Midlands Regional League saw Town collect their first league  Championship since the 1982/83 season as  Julian and Andy guided the Blues to Premier Division success in what was a one horse race with the Crown Meadow club dropping  twenty three points from forty league games played. 

Behind the scenes, the Committee had already been working hard to achieve the grade required for the Midland Football Alliance and promotion was assured in May 2008. However, the club was dealt a major blow prior to the start of the new 2008/2009 when Marsh resigned following a reduction to the clubs budget.

Andy Marlowe accepted his new managerial position and  surprised many as the Town broke into the top four following their win over Racing Club Warwick inJanuary 2009.  But any further progress was hampered when the Shropshire Star** broke the news that the club had decided to axe travel expenses and payments to players until the end of the season. Despite the tough challenges he faced, Andy ensured that the club survived their first season back in the MFA by finishing mid-table in the league.

 Andy Marlowe resigned in April 2010 with the club assurred of  MFA football for the following season.

Pre season changes were made with former million pound footballer Lee Mills (Ex Bradford City & Wolves) being appointed the clubs new manager in May 2010. Then following the clubs AGM in June, local businessman John Evans was appointed chairman replacing Eric Eagles who stepped down after six years at the helm.

Under Manager Lee Mills, and his assistant Tony Dinning,  the Town enjoyed their best run in both the FA Cup and the FA Vase in almost a decade. Town's youthful side quickly adapted  to life n the MFA and finished 15th in the league which was a year on year  improvement on the season before.

Sadly three weeks after the season closed, manager Lee Mills decided to leave the club in search of pastures new and later joined Ellesmere Rangers as joint manager.

In July 2011, former Northern Ireland international and ex Wolverhampton Wanderers player Mark Clyde was appointed manager and became the youngest person to undertake this role. Having lived in the Town since 2003, it is hoped that he can bring some stabillity to the club and continue to  encourage & develop local players to play for the club.

Despite an opening day league defeat, the young players that we have, have excelled and  gone from strength to strength. Not only did we enjoy our best run in the FA Cup for over a decade but following the home league defeat against Coventry Sphinx in early March, the lads found their best form and  closed the season with 14 games without to their name.

At the end of his first year in charge, Mark Clyde and his band of young players celebrated their first Cup success since the mid 1980's by lifting The Shropshire Challenge Cup following their  3-1 win at The new Meadow (sponsored by Greenhous) over Shropshire County Cup side Morda United.

Mark McIntyre


All information researched and supplied by Mark McIntyre

Kidderminster & District League
League Champions 1967/68
Runners - up 1953/54, 1966/67

Division One Cup
Runners - up 1961/62, 1965/66, 1967/68, 1968/69

Midland Combination League
Division 1 Champions 1979/80, 1982/83
Runners - up 1976/77, 1980/81
League Cup Winners 1978/79
Runners - up 1976/77

Tony Allden League Champions / Cup Winners Cup
Winners 1980/81

Southern Premier League (1983 - 1996)
Best position recorded 5th 1994/95
Losing League Cup Semi Finalists 1983/84

Midland Invitation Cup
Winners 1999/2000

West Midlands Regional League
Premier Division Champions 2007/2008

Shropshire County FA Challenge Cup
Winners 1970/71,1975/76, 1976/77, 1978/79, 1979/80, 2011/12
Runners - up 2007/08

Shropshire County FA Senior Cup
Winners 1985/86
Runners - up 1984/85

Welsh Amateur Cup
Winners 1970/71

How the Shropshire Star broke the news.** January 27, 2009 (South edition P1)

Football bosses refute financial trouble claims as expenses axed


By Sophie Bignall


Bosses at Bridgnorth Town Football Club today scotched rumours they were in financial trouble. Crown Meadow chiefs today denied speculation the club had gone into administration, but said they had introduced a number of measures to safeguard the future of the club. They said they had decided to axe travel expenses and payments to players until the end of the season as a “precautionary” measure.

The rumours stemmed from an announcement on Saturday when club chairman Eric Eagles told the players after a 3-2 Midland Alliance defeat at Black Country club Causeway that the playing budget was going to be removed. Today he said that it would only be a temporary measure after a few bills had been paid. He added: “The lads normally get travel expenses. We have suspended them for a few weeks.

“It is a short-term blip. We will get back to normal in a few weeks’ time.” Tightening Describing the move as simply “tightening their belts”, club secretary Mark Benson said that the suspension was likely to last until the end of the season. He said: “We are not going into administration. We are not going broke at all. We saw the players’ budget at the start of the season and we hoped we would be okay.

“We have had to stop the players’ money. It is nothing major. It is just that we don’t want debt.” He confirmed that the chairman spoke to the players on Saturday. The club has had to work hard to pay off about £15,000 worth of debt, said Mr Benson, which was inherited from a previous committee.

The decision was taken during a management meeting on Friday, although Mr Benson said that all the members came away feeling “quite positive”. “It will be until the end of the season. It is no good doing it for a couple weeks because we want to keep on top of it,” he added.