Cheltenham Town F.C.

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Cheltenham Town
Cheltenham Town FC logo.png
Full nameCheltenham Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Robins
GroundWhaddon Road
(capacity: 7,066)
ChairmanPaul Baker
ManagerMark Yates
LeagueLeague Two
2011–12League Two, 6th
Home colours
Away colours

Current season

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Cheltenham Town
Cheltenham Town FC logo.png
Full nameCheltenham Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Robins
GroundWhaddon Road
(capacity: 7,066)
ChairmanPaul Baker
ManagerMark Yates
LeagueLeague Two
2011–12League Two, 6th
Home colours
Away colours

Current season

Cheltenham Town Football Club (pron.: /ˈɛltnəm ˈtn/) is an English football club playing in League Two, the fourth tier of English football. Founded in 1887, the team has played at four different grounds, namely Agg-Gardner's Recreation Ground, Carter's Field and now the Abbey Business Stadium, although it is more commonly known as Whaddon Road. Their nickname is The Robins. The club appointed Mark Yates as manager on 22 December 2009.

Cheltenham have played as high as League One, the third tier of English football, and have played a total of four seasons there. Their best FA Cup run saw them reach the last 16 (fifth round) in 2002. The last piece of silverware won by the club was the Football Conference title in 1999, when the club attained full League status for the first time. The club is affiliated to the Gloucestershire County FA.




Cheltenham has a long history of football prior to The Robins. In 1849, the first use of three official referees in a match, two in field and one in tribune, was recorded in the town. However, the modern club was founded in 1887 by Albert Close White, a local teacher.

The club spent its first three decades in local football. Notable players from those days include cricketers Gilbert Jessop and brothers Charles Barnett and Edgar Barnett. In the early 1930s the club turned professional and joined the Birmingham Combination before joining the Southern League in 1935. They won promotion to the Alliance Premier League (now the Conference National) in 1985, but were relegated seven years later. They were promoted back to the Conference in 1997 and two years later gained promotion to the Football League. After two mid-table finishes in Division Three (now League Two) they won via the playoffs and were promoted to Division Two (now League One).

Cotterill era

Cheltenham Town's traditional colours

The appointment of Steve Cotterill as manager during the 1996–97 was the start of a revolution at the club. He is Cheltenham Town's most successful manager. After only Four months after taking charge he guided the club to runners-up spot in the Southern Football League Premier Division, but they won promotion to the Football Conference because champions Gresley Rovers were unable to meet the required ground capacity for Conference membership.

In 1997–98, Cheltenham surprised all observers by finishing runners-up in the Conference and giving champions Halifax Town a run for their money right up until the end of April. They secured a place at Wembley in the FA Trophy final, beating Southport 1–0 in front of a crowd of some 27,000, of whom 19,000 were from Cheltenham[citation needed]. In 1998–99 Cheltenham went one better and secured the Conference title—their passport to the football league.

After two mid-table finishes in Division Three, Cheltenham finally won promotion to Division Two (via the Division Three playoffs) at the end of the 2001–02 season. Shortly after winning promotion, Steve Cotterill left Cheltenham to pursue his career by joining Stoke City as manager.

Backwards and forwards

Meanwhile, Cheltenham replaced Cotterill with first-team coach Graham Allner who had won the Conference championship with Kidderminster Harriers in 1994. Allner and assistant manager Mike Davis, who was originally assistant to Cotterill, were sacked in January 2003, after just six months in the job, with Cheltenham hovering near the foot of Division Two. Cheltenham turned to Bobby Gould, one of the most experienced managers in English football whose exploits include an FA Cup victory with Wimbledon in 1988. Cheltenham continued to struggle, and defeat in their final game of the season condemned the club to relegation back to Division Three after just one season.

Gould resigned as Cheltenham Town manager in November 2003 and was replaced by the experienced John Ward, who has been an assistant manager with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Watford, and a manager with Bristol City, Bristol Rovers and York City.

During the 2005–06 season, a new stand for visiting fans was added (The Carlsberg Stand) and a small electronic scoreboard was installed. The club punched above its weight and finished the season in 5th, earning a place in the play-offs. In the semi-final Cheltenham beat Wycombe Wanderers 2–1 away and drew 0–0 in the second leg at Whaddon Road. In the play-off final, Cheltenham beat Grimsby Town 1–0, securing a place in League One for 2006–07. The match at the Millennium Stadium on 28 May 2006 was attended by 29,196 people, making it the club's largest ever stadium audience. However despite promotion, the average attendance did not increase as the club had hoped, though it increased to 4359. The club were knocked out of the various cup competitions in early stages and were finding it difficult to muster funds to invest in additional players. However, with the prudent guidance of chairman Paul Baker and the rest of the board of directors the club gained a stable financial position, preferring not to risk this stability by taking gambles on expensive signings.

Cheltenham opened up the 2007–08 season with a 1–0 win against Gillingham, but suffered an early exit to Southend United 4–1 from the League Cup. By the beginning of October, Cheltenham had failed to win at home since the opening day of the season. Results took a turn for the worse with the club going four games without a win. Following Cheltenham's 3–0 defeat to Port Vale, John Ward announced he had agreed a four year contract with League One side Carlisle United and would begin his tenure the following day on 3 October 2007. Ward said he couldn't turn down the possibility of managing a team who could soon be playing in the English Championship. He left the club lying 23rd in the league, above only one team and were expected to struggle to avoid relegation.

Keith Downing was appointed caretaker manager until the position could be filled. Martin Allen was linked with the club, as many fans believed that Downing was the wrong choice due to his close links to Ward. Cheltenham's results after Downing took charge were mixed, which left many fans disgruntled with Downing's tactics, which appeared as one-dimensional as Ward's were.

On 25 November 2007, a sell-out Whaddon Road enjoyed a brave performance against Leeds United, which, after riding their luck, the Robins won 1–0 thanks to an 86th-minute winner by in-form striker Steven Gillespie. The result is now one of the most famous in the club's recent history. The reverse fixture was even more impressive as the Robins became the first team to complete a double over Leeds during their first visit to the third tier of English football.

In January 2008, Cheltenham won four games in a row, the first time the club had achieved this feat since joining the Football League in 1999. During these games they didn't even concede. They however narrowly lost out on two awards for that month—Manager and Player of the Month—after losing to Millwall in the final game of January.

Cheltenham's survival was secured on the final day of the season as they beat Doncaster Rovers 2–1 at Whaddon Road, denying their opposition automatic promotion.[1]

New leadership

Early in the 2008–09 season Keith Downing parted company with Cheltenham Town[2] and was replaced—within two days—by Martin Allen, who had been a candidate after Ward's departure a year earlier.[3] Allen's team started poorly with a club-record seven defeats in a row, part of a 15-game run without a victory. The club narrowly avoided administration, and the 10-point penalty that would go with it, before Allen revealed that all the players at the club were up for sale.[4]

The season finished on a low note: even though Cheltenham had used 51 players, they had conceded over 100 goals in all competitions, and they were relegated back to League Two on the penultimate day of the season after three seasons in League One.

As the 2009–10 season started in July, Allen sold a few players and brought in new ones, including Robins legend Julian Alsop and former Tottenham Hotspur winger David Hutton. Although they would be thought of as one of the favourites to make an immediate return to League One after being relegated, most bloggers and league analysts said that a mid-table finish would be the most realistic scenario.[5] Cheltenham won their first match of the season against Grimsby Town 2–1, but fell dramatically down the table soon after. On 20 October, Martin Allen was put on gardening leave amid allegations he racially abused a nightclub bouncer, and assistant manager John Schofield took temporary charge. Allen was formally cleared of misconduct but still left the club by mutual consent in early December. Cheltenham put out an advert for a new manager, which attracted "healthy interest".

Kidderminster boss Mark Yates was appointed manager on 22 December 2009. Neil Howarth, Yates' assistant at Kidderminster, also joined the League Two side as first-team coach. Cheltenham continued to struggle through the rest of the season, only managing to avoid relegation on the final day of the season, although they finished four points ahead of the relegated sides. John Schofield, who was in caretaker charge of the club while Allen was on gardening leave, returned to the post of assistant manager until the end of the season.

Yates, ahead of his first full season with Cheltenham, revamped the squad, releasing eight players,[6] including defender Shane Duff, who had just completed his tenth year with the club. The season proved to be successful to begin with, with the Robins remaining close to the play-off positions, but they collapsed in the second half of the season and finished 17th, with only five wins in 26 games in 2011.

Despite some fans calling for Yates to resign, Cheltenham started the 2011/12 season impressively, with a side including new signings Darryl Duffy,[7] Luke Summerfield,[8] and highly-rated England U-21 goalkeeper Jack Butland.[9] Despite losing in the first round of the League Cup, they reached the Football League Trophy south quarter-finals and were handed a lucrative tie at Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup third round.[10] Yates won the Manager of the Month award for November after three wins from three[11] and then defeated the so-called "Manager of the Month curse" with a 3–0 win over then-leaders Southend United[12] to secure a club record fifth consecutive league win. The Robins ended the season in 6th and defeated Torquay United 2–0 at home and then 1–2 away to secure a 4–1 aggregate victory in the League 2 Play-Off Semi-Finals. The Play-Off Final was contested at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, 27 May 2012. Crewe Alexandra defeated Cheltenham Town 2–0 with goals from Nick Powell and Byron Moore in front of a crowd of 24,029.

During the off-season, Cheltenham only lost Luke Summerfield from their first choice team, whilst signing ex-Premier League midfielder Darren Carter until January following over a year out of the game with a knee injury. Striker Shaun Harrad was also signed on a season-long loan from Bury, and left back Billy Jones joined the club from Exeter City. Cheltenham made a stuttering start to the 2012/13 season, including back-to-back home defeats to Accrington Stanley and Southend United. Results began to improve, however, and the Rubies climbed the table to reach third place by the start of November, as well as progressing to the third round of the FA Cup, where they were drawn at home to Premier League side Everton. The club went out of the competition in their third round tie with Everton after losing 1–5, with goals from Fellaini, Baines, Coleman, Osman and Jelavic. On 6 November 2012, manager Mark Yates oversaw his 150th game in charge of the team in a 0–0 draw against league leaders Gillingham, and as of 18 December Cheltenham are still in an automatic promotion spot.


As of 23 August 2012.[13]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

1EnglandGKScott Brown
2EnglandDFKeith Lowe
3EnglandDFBilly Jones
4EnglandMFDarren Carter
5EnglandDFHarry Hooman
6EnglandDFSteve Elliott (Club-captain)
7EnglandMFMarlon Pack
8EnglandMFSam Deering
9ScotlandFWDarryl Duffy
11EnglandMFJermaine McGlashan
12WalesGKConnor Roberts
14EnglandFWShaun Harrad (on loan from Bury)
16EnglandMFRussell Penn (Captain)
19EnglandFWPaul Benson (on loan from Swindon Town)
22PortugalDFSido Jombati
23WalesFWKaid Mohamed
25EnglandMFJason Taylor
27EnglandDFMichael Hector (on loan from Reading)
29EnglandFWByron Harrison
34EnglandMFJoe Hanks

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

21EnglandMFBagasan Graham (on loan to AFC Telford United)

Current Management Team


Southern League History

SeasonSouthern League DivisionPosPWDLFAGDPtsFA CupFA TrophyNotes
1935–364Southern League Western Section6th166283228+414Played in two Southern League sections
1935–364Southern League Central Section9th2055103245−1315R1Played in two Southern League sections
1936–374Southern League11th30104166170−924QR4
1937–384Southern League11th34135167268+431R1
1938–394Southern League13th441691976105−2941R1
1939–404Southern League7th133282138−178Season interrupted by outbreak of World War II
World War II
1945–464Southern League4th189813554−1922R1Statistics for this season are incomplete
1946–474Southern League9th32143146875−732R1
1947–484Southern League10th34139127171035R2
1948–494Southern League9th42191497164+747QR4
1949–504Southern League20th461311227596−2137QR4
1950–514Southern League6th44218159161+3050R1
1951–524Southern League18th42154235965−634QR4
1952–534Southern League13th421511167089−1941QR2
1953–544Southern League21st421112195683−2734QR1
1954–554Southern League4th42218138572+1350QR1
1955–564Southern League2nd42256118253+2956QR1
1956–574Southern League4th42191587346+2753R1
1957–584Southern League6th4221101111566+4952QR1
1958–595North West Section4th34204106547+1844PR
1959–605Premier Division4th42216158268+1448R1Southern League two division structure created
1960–615Premier Division17th42157208182−137QR4
1961–625Premier Division22nd4297264886−3825QR4Finished last in table and relegated to First Division
1962–636First Division9th38187138352+3143R1
1963–646First Division3rd42251079149+4260QR3
1964–655Premier Division12th421511167278−641QR4
1965–665Premier Division18th42139206999−3035QR4
1966–675Premier Division13th421611156071−1143QR4
1967–685Premier Division4th42237129767+3053QR4Received 3 votes for election to The Football League
1968–695Premier Division19th42155225564−935R1Relegated to the First Division by 0.019 of a goal
1969–706First Division10th42205177881−345R1R1FA Trophy created
1970–716First Division15th38815154458−1431R1QR3
1971–726First Division North3rd34204107251+2144QR4QR3
1972–736First Division North3rd42248108747+4056QR3R1
1973–746First Division North3rd42248107551+2456Did not participate in FA Cup or FA Trophy rounds
1974–756First Division North6th42219127253+1951R1R2
1975–766First Division North5th422010128755+3250QR4R1
1976–776First Division North2nd3823878535+5054QR4R1
1977–785Premier Division14th421214164352−938QR2R1
1978–795Premier Division18th421110213872−3432QR4R3Not invited to join the Alliance Premier League

Football League System History

SeasonDivisionPosPWDLFAGDPtsFA CupFA TrophyNotesManager
1979–806Southern League Midland Division19th42135244970−2131QR2R2Alan Grundy
1980–816Southern League Division 1 Midland8th421812127059+1148QR2R1Alan Grundy
1981–826Southern League Division 1 Midland16th421114176568−336QR4R1Relegated after reorganisation of Southern League
1982–837Southern League Midland Division1st3222556529+3671QR4R1Promoted to Southern Football League Premier DivisionAlan Wood
1983–846Southern League Premier Division8th38167156356+755QR4QR3Alan Wood/John Murphy
1984–856Southern League Premier Division1st3824598341+4277QR3R2Promoted to Alliance Premier LeagueJohn Murphy
1985–865Alliance Premier League11th421611156969046QR1QFJohn Murphy
1986–875Conference National11th421613136450+1461QR1R3John Murphy
1987–885Conference National13th421120116467−353R1QFJohn Murphy
1988–895Conference National15th401212165558−348QR2R2John Murphy/Jim Barron
1989–905Conference National11th421611155860−259QR3R3Jim Barron
1990–915Conference National16th421212185472−1848R1R3Jim Barron/Dave Lewis (Caretaker)
1991–925Conference National21st421013195682−2643QR3R2Ally Robertson/Dave Lewis (Caretaker)
1992–936Southern League Premier Division2nd40211097640+3673R2R1Lindsay Parsons
1993–946Southern League Premier Division2nd42211296738+2975QR4R3Lindsay Parsons
1994–956Southern League Premier Division2nd42251168739+4886QR4R2Lindsay Parsons
1995–966Southern League Premier Division3rd422111107657+1974QR2R1Chris Robinson
1996–976Southern League Premier Division2nd422111107644+3274R1R1Promoted to Conference after Gresley F.C. ground failed Conference requirementsChris Robinson/Steve Cotterill
1997–985Conference National2nd42239106343+2078R3Winners1997–98 FA Trophy winners (def. Southport 1–0)Steve Cotterill
1998–995Conference National1st42221467136+3580R1SFPromoted to The Football League for the first timeSteve Cotterill

Football League History

SeasonDivisionPosPWDLFAGDPtsLeague CupFA CupNotesManager(s)
1999–004Third Division8th76th462010165042+870R1R1Steve Cotterill
2000–014Third Division9th77th461814145952+768R1R2Steve Cotterill
2001–024Third Division4th72nd462115106649+1778R1R5Highest position achieved in FA CupSteve Cotterill
2002–033Second Division21st65th461018185368−1548R2R3Graham Allner/Bobby Gould
2003–044Third Division14th82nd461414185771−1456R1R3Bobby Gould/John Ward
2004–054League Two14th82nd461612185154−360R1R1John Ward
2005–064League Two5th73rd461915126553+1272R2R4Promoted to League One after play-offsJohn Ward
2006–073League One17th61st46159224961−1254R2R1Highest position achieved in English football systemJohn Ward
2007–083League One19th63rd461312214264−2251R1R1John Ward/Keith Downing
2008–093League One23rd67th46912255191−4039R2R3Worst goal difference and win percentage (19.6%) in club historyKeith Downing/Martin Allen
2009–104League Two22nd90th461018185471−1748R1R1Martin Allen/John Schofield (Caretaker)/Mark Yates
2010–114League Two17th85th461313205677−2152R1R2Mark Yates
2011–124League Two6th74th46238156650+1677R1R3Qualified for playoffsMark Yates
2012–134League TwoR1R3Mark Yates

1 Denotes current season (last updated 08/05/2012)



Notable former players

Kit sponsors and manufacturers

YearKit ManufacturerShirt SponsorBack of Shirt SponsorShort Sponsor
1977–1978National Express
1988–1989Gulf Oil
1993–1994Club Sport
1994–1995Klūb SportEmpress
1996–1997UKEndsleigh Insurance
1999–2004Towergate Insurance
2004–2008Bence Building Merchants
2008–Mira Showers
2009–2011PSU Technology Group
2011–Barr StadiaGloucestershire Echo


Gloucester City. Traditional rivals, although now several leagues apart. Most supporters who have followed the Robins since the non-league days still have a hatred for the "Tigers" and consider them to be the enemy. This rivalry has died down somewhat given Cheltenham's rise up the leagues and the majority of the current fan base have not seen the teams play. Both teams currently share the same ground at Whaddon Road.

Kidderminster Harriers. Although not considered by some as a "real" derby match due to distance (34 miles apart), there is a genuine bad feeling between the two sets of supporters. Fixtures between these two teams normally require a higher than normal police presence due to the level of ill-feeling.

Local rivals

Other rivalries



  1. ^ "Cheltenham 2–1 Doncaster". BBC News. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  2. ^ "Manager Downing leaves Cheltenham". BBC News. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  3. ^ "Allen named new Cheltenham boss". BBC News. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Cheltenham put squad up for sale". BBC News. 3 March 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  5. ^ "League Two club-by-club guide". BBC News. 4 August 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Cheltenham Town release eight players". BBC News. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Cheltenham Town set to sign striker Darryl Duffy". BBC Sport. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Cheltenham Town complete deal for Luke Summerfield". BBC Sport. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Birmingham City's Jack Butland joins Cheltenham on loan". BBC Sport. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  10. ^ "Manchester rivals to clash in third round". BBC Sport. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Yates named Manager of the Month". The Football League. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  12. ^ "Cheltenham 3–0 Southend". BBC Sport. 10 December 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011.
  13. ^ "First Team". Cheltenham Town F.C..,,10434,00.html. Retrieved 2009-03-24.


External links