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|Full name||Football Club Halifax Town|
|Ground||The Shay, Halifax,|
|Capacity||14,061 (5,830 seated)|
|2013–14||Conference Premier, 5th|
|Full name||Football Club Halifax Town|
|Ground||The Shay, Halifax,|
|Capacity||14,061 (5,830 seated)|
|2013–14||Conference Premier, 5th|
Football Club Halifax Town, otherwise known as FC Halifax Town, is an English association football club based in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The club participates in the Conference Premier, the fifth tier of English football. The club replaced Halifax Town A.F.C. who went into administration during the 2007–08 season.
Huge tax debts buried Halifax Town A.F.C. after almost 100 years as a football club. New figures put to a reconvened creditors meeting in May 2008 showed the cash-strapped Shaymen owed over £800,000 to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. The Revenue refused any deal and that effectively finished the club – already over £2 million in the red. Administrators had been trying to broker a rescue package but speaking after five hours of talks that left liquidation near inevitable, administrator Rob Sadler said: "Halifax Town will probably perish." It was originally thought the club owed the taxman around £500,000, which might have left scope for a deal. But the news that it owed £814,000 meant that even if all the other creditors had accepted the 2.5p-in-the-pound offer originally on the table it would not have been enough.
At a meeting of The Football Association, discussing the makeup of the football pyramid for the 2008/09 season, F.C. Halifax Town were not placed in either the Conference Premier, the Conference North or the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Halifax appealed against the decision to remove them from the Football Conference. Though the appeal was rejected on 11 June, the hope was that Halifax could play in the NPL Premier Division. This did not materialise, and eventually Halifax Town were accepted to play in the Northern Premier League Division One North in the new season under the new name F.C. Halifax Town.
The club's first game under the new name FC Halifax Town was a friendly away against Tamworth on 19 July 2008. There was to be no fairytale ending however, and the game ended in a 2–0 defeat. The club's first ever victory was against Alsager Town on 26 July 2008 by a 2–0 scoreline. Colin Hunter scored the new club's first ever goal after six minutes. Their first competitive Northern League Division One North match was at The Shay against Bamber Bridge on 16 August 2008, but the game resulted in a 3–0 loss for the Shaymen.
The club got off to a poor start, despite recording their first competitive victory in the next match. However, a 7–1 home win against Salford City in late September seemed to turn the tide for Town. They went on an 8-game unbeaten run, 7 of those being victories, and shot to the top of the league table. The run eventually came to an end against Rossendale United, who ended up doing the league double over Halifax and finishing the season bottom of the table.
Despite the loss, Halifax remained top and more good results, including 5–1 and 4–1 victories against Garforth Town and Wakefield respectively, kept their promotion hopes alive. After the Wakefield match however, Halifax won just 2 of their final 14 league games, the wins coming against Harrogate Railway Athletic and Clitheroe, both 2–1. This poor run led to the sacking of manager Jim Vince, and senior player Nigel Jemson stepped up to the manager's position for the remainder of the season. The automatic promotion places were certainly out of Halifax's reach going into the final 5 games, but the club needed to win a minimum of 3 of these final 5 games to have any chance of reaching the play-offs. They could only manage 2 draws and so a poor ending to the season cost them dearly, and they had to settle for a final position of 8th.
With new manager Neil Aspin taking the helm near the start of close season, Halifax Town got off to a much better start. Promising results in pre-season friendlies were consolidated after beating Colwyn Bay 3–0 on their own turf in the first league match of the season. The results continued to be impressive, most notably in September, winning every game and conceding only one goal in the process. This included a 2–0 away victory over promotion-pushing Conference North team Droylsden, before coming to a home defeat to Wrexham in the Fourth Qualifying Round in front of a then record gate for FC Halifax Town, 2,843. Furthermore, first-choice goalkeeper Jonathan Hedge was called up for the England C national football team. Halifax's glory streak faltered a little after losing 1–0 away to Prescot Cables in the only game during the season where they failed to score.
Halifax failed to record a game for over a month during the heavy weather in the winter, and Lancaster City dominated the promotion race for a while. However, Halifax continued to rake up impressive results, and during a congested schedule beat Ossett Albion 5–0, and Harrogate Railway Athletic, Prescot Cables and Colwyn Bay 3–0 apiece among other results. A decisive moment came against Garforth Town away, when, after a Garforth substitute being sent off, Halifax came back from 3–1 down to win 3–4 in the last stoppage time.
That following Saturday, 10 April, Halifax faced Lancaster City at home, beating them 4–0 in front of a new record gate, 3,152. This result gained Halifax points over Lancaster for the first time since the beginning of the season. The Shaymen followed this excellent result on Monday 13 April by beating 3rd placed Curzon Ashton away 5–0. They held onto the top spot until the end of the season, becoming champions of the Northern Premier League Division One North with 100 points. The title was sealed with a 2–2 home draw against Clitheroe after beating Ossett Albion away 4–2 the previous Saturday in front of over 1000 travelling supporters.
Halifax started life in the Northern Premier League by making numerous signings, notably former Bradford City captain Mark Bower from Darlington and forward Jamie Vardy from Stocksbridge Park Steels, a player who would go on to make a big impact in more ways than one.
The Shaymen began the season how they would have wanted, winning their inaugural match at this level 2–1 against Buxton at the Shay, however draws against Frickley Athletic and Colwyn Bay plus a defeat at fellow newly promoted side Chasetown left Town in 13th position. However things did pick up; Town were unbeaten in their next twelve league games, winning a remarkable eleven of them to send the Shaymen six points clear of nearest challengers Colwyn Bay, and having played two games less than them. Within this unbeaten run, Halifax also played host to Conference Premier side Mansfield Town in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, although like the previous season they succumbed to a narrow defeat.
A shock home defeat against North Ferriby United was just an anomalous result in the league campaign. On New Year's Day 2011, Town hosted FC United of Manchester at the Shay which attracted a crowd of 4,023, an attendance that at the time held the record crowd for the Northern Premier League. Halifax won with ease, coming out 4–1 victors thanks to two late goals after having already beaten the Red Rebels three weeks prior at Gigg Lane. Victory at Northwich Victoria and an emphatic 8–1 home win against Ossett Town in mid-January, FC Halifax Town's biggest ever win, settled minor worries after going down 2–1 at bogey side Colwyn Bay and the Shaymen continued to win games at will despite the odd hiccup.
Halifax won an incredible match against Chasetown in late March, with four of the five goals in the 3–2 win coming very late on after Town had gone behind. Halifax had the chance to wrap up the championship at home to Matlock Town but a late penalty for the visitors meant Town had to wait. They finally won the title after winning 2–0 at Retford United and gained automatic promotion to the Conference North. This was their second league title in as many seasons.
After two incredible seasons, there was a belief around the club that three consecutive promotions could be on the cards. A good pre-season increased optimism but everyone was brought back down to Earth after Town lost their opening game at home to Corby Town. A close-fought encounter at Blyth Spartans ended in victory for the Shaymen but this win was succeeded by four consecutive draws. Meanwhile, star striker Jamie Vardy was bought by Fleetwood Town and after having a very successful season was snapped up by Championship outfit Leicester City. Defeats against Hinckley United and Vauxhall Motors didn't help the cause and Halifax were languishing in 16th place with only two wins from their opening nine games. This wasn't good enough and the team responded, winning four of their next six games including a victory against eventual league champions Hyde.
Despite the poor league form, Halifax were enjoying a good run in the FA Cup; the club reached the first round for the first time since their reformation and were drawn at home to Charlton Athletic who were five points clear at the top of League One at the time. The tie was selected to be shown live on ITV1. Town gave a very good account of themselves despite going down 4–0 after three late goals. The record attendance for the club was also broken, with a crowd of 4,601.
A sluggish period after the highs of the Charlton game were quickly forgotten after Halifax went on a ten game unbeaten run, propelling them from 13th position to 3rd, a position around which they stayed for the remainder of the season. Defeats against Nuneaton Town began an inconsistent run which led to a nail-biting end to the season in the race to make the play-offs. Town lost away at fellow play-off hopefuls Stalybridge Celtic but three wins from the final four games secured a 3rd place finish.
Halifax faced Gainsborough Trinity in the play-offs, a side who they hadn't lost to in the regular season, however after going 2–0 down at the Northolme they came back to draw the first leg 2–2. In the second leg, Town went down 1–0 despite having more of the ball throughout the game but poor finishing meant that they had to settle for another season in the Conference North.
The season began with somewhat of a cull of the previous season's squad; only nine members of that squad were initially retained for the upcoming season. Numerous high-profile signings were made in the close-season including former Huddersfield Town captain Jon Worthington, ex-Wigan Athletic midfielder Jason Jarrett and strikers Dale Johnson and Gareth Seddon from Droylsden and Conference Premier champions Fleetwood Town respectively. The duo had formed a prolific goalscoring partnership at Hyde between 2006 and 2008. Following these signings, Halifax were installed as the pre-season favourites for the Conference North title ahead of fellow phoenix and ex-league club Chester.
The Shaymen's season began as they would've wanted with a 2–1 victory against the most southerly side in the division Bishop's Stortford, despite falling behind. Another defeat against Colwyn Bay was followed by a 5–1 drubbing of Workington before a draw at neighbours Bradford Park Avenue. The Shaymen struggled to find consistency in the early stages and after their draw at the Horsfall Stadium they already found themselves 5 points adrift of joint league leaders Guiseley, Brackley Town and Chester. A loss at Chester in September was followed by a good run, which included the start of Halifax's FA Cup and FA Trophy runs.
The Shaymen reached the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, bowing out 2–0 to Lincoln City in a replay at the Shay, after having given the Conference side a good run for their money in a goalless draw at Sincil Bank. The Trophy saw Town fare better than in the Cup, reaching the quarter-finals but eventually ending up on the wrong end of a 3–2 defeat to another Conference side in a replay, this time in the form of Dartford.Fc Halifax Town fought valiantly over these two games but found the Dartford strength too much
During the middle of the season, Town experienced a large number of fixture postponements due to their involvement in the cups and the poor drainage system at the New Shay, causing the pitch to become easily waterlogged. Incidentally Halifax's home league tie in February against Stalybridge Celtic had to be moved to Rochdale's Spotland Stadium. By the start of February, Halifax had ten games in hand on runaway leaders Chester and were 41 points behind them. The continuation of the foul weather left Halifax having to play 12 league games in 27 days in April. Many fans thought that such a backlog of fixtures would tire the players out and cause them to miss out on the playoffs entirely, after having been in the mix even with so many games in hand. The Shaymen only won 2 of these 12 games but still made it into the playoffs fairly comfortably to finish the season in 5th place.
Town were paired up with local neighbours Guiseley in the playoff semi final after they had finished in 2nd place. A 1–1 draw at the Shay left things finely poised for the second leg at Nethermoor. Halifax managed to pull off an excellent 2–0 victory which was thoroughly deserved against the side who finished 16 points ahead of the Shaymen. Halifax were through to face Brackley Town away in the playoff final.
A close match was fought between the two sides whose league games had both finished goalless. The match was won by a 75th minute Lee Gregory goal to send Halifax Town back into the Conference Premier after a five season absence following their demotion.
Two days later Halifax faced Guiseley once again, this time in the final of the West Riding County Cup at Valley Parade. They won 1–0 in extra time thanks to a Gareth Seddon goal to win their second trophy in three days after overcoming Liversedge, Albion Sports and Ossett Town in previous rounds. They scored eleven goals without reply on their way to the trophy.
The 2013–14 season began with manager Neil Aspin signing a new two-year contract which would keep him at the Shay until 2015. The pre-season activity started with the signing of former loanee Matty Pearson who had been released by Rochdale. Neil Aspin boosted his squad by signing Guiseley duo Kevin Holsgrove and Josh Wilson. Keith Briggs joined the Shaymen from Conference Premier rivals Kidderminster, Adam Smith from Lincoln, Simon Ainge from Luton and the return of Paul Marshall to the Shay, amongst others. The summer of 2013 also saw the departure of Liam Hogan to Fleetwood Town after a three-year spell with the West Yorkshire club.
There was to be no dream start for the Shaymen upon their return to the Conference. Despite taking a 1–0 Lead at Cambridge through Lee Gregory's goal, Town quickly hit self-destruct and saw Captain Danny Lowe and Goalkeeper Matt Glennon sent off for professional fouls. The final score was 5–1, but the Shaymen took heart from playing 70 minutes with 9 men. The first victory of the season came two days after the game with Cambridge and 4 years after the FA Cup defeat to Wrexham the two sides met again, and this time it was Halifax who won by a margin of 3 goals to 2 with goals coming from Lois Maynard, Josh Wilson and Lee Gregory.
A two goal victory over Dartford was to follow. The side whoS had knocked the Shaymen out of the FA Trophy in the previous season were no match for the Shaymen, and goals from Lee Gregory and Kevin Holsgrove were the difference. Town's first away point of the season came at Macclesfield. The visitors raced into a two goal lead, and the dismissal of Silkmen striker Connor Jennings looked to have given town a third win in a row, but Scott Boden and Jack Mackreth scored the goals to restrict Halifax to a solitary point. Followed by a 1–0 victory over early leaders Southport, a game which saw Lee Gregory taken off with a broken hand and Kevin Holsgrove's 86th minute winner. The former Guiseley man's second goal in the space of 48 hours enough. Halifax eventually managed a 5th place finish in the Conference Premier. They met Cambridge United in there play off match. They won the home leg 1–0 due to a Lee Gregory goal but lost 2–0 in the away leg.
Spanning into three seasons, The Shaymen went 30 games at The Shay unbeaten. The run lasted from 18 April 2009 to 20 November 2010. It all began as a disappointing 2008–2009 season was coming to a close with a 1–2 defeat to Curzon Ashton, which ended any hopes of a playoff place that year, and cemented Curzon's.
They won 18 and drew 3 in the 2009–2010 season to seal the Northern Premier League Division One North championship with 100 points and 105 goals. A slow start to the beginning of the 2010–2011 season seemed to spell the end of the home run very soon, but with the return of injured left/right backs Danny Lowe and Aaron Hardy and star striker James Dean, The Shaymen's season quickly took off and they rose to top spot in the league. The Shaymen's unbeaten run finally came to an end on 20 November 2010, when North Ferriby United outplayed Halifax and dispatched them 0–2.
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of 2 July 2014.
|1||Goalkeeper||Senior, PhilPhil Senior||England|
|2||Defender||Bolton, JamesJames Bolton||England|
|3||Defender||McManus, ScottScott McManus||England|
|4||Defender||Roberts, MarcMarc Roberts||England|
|5||Defender||Pearson, MattyMatty Pearson||England|
|6||Defender||Ainge, SimonSimon Ainge||England|
|7||Midfielder||Smith, AdamAdam Smith||England|
|8||Midfielder||Marshall, PaulPaul Marshall||England|
|9||Forward||Jackson, JamieJamie Jackson||England|
|10||Forward||Dyer, RossRoss Dyer||England|
|11||Forward||Wilson, JoshJosh Wilson||England|
|12||Forward||Peniket, RichardRichard Peniket||Wales|
|14||Defender||Williams, SteveSteve Williams||England|
|15||Defender||Roberts, KevinKevin Roberts||England|
|16||Midfielder||Worthington, JonJon Worthington||England|
|19||Forward||Boden, ScottScott Boden||England|
|20||Midfielder||Maynard, LoisLois Maynard||England|
|22||Midfielder||Schofield, DannyDanny Schofield||England|
|25||Forward||Marie, DominicDominic Marie||England|
|27||Goalkeeper||Glennon, MattMatt Glennon||England|
|—||Midfielder||Hibbs, JakeJake Hibbs||England|
|Jim Vince||2 Jul 2008||9 April 2009||46||17||9||10||47.82|
|Nigel Jemson (Caretaker)||9 April 2009||25 April 2009||4||0||3||1||0.00|
|Neil Aspin||28 April 2009||Present||247||153||51||43||61.94|
|Year||League||Pld||W||D||L||F||A||GD||Pts||Position||Leading Scorer||FA Cup||FA Trophy||Notes|
|2008–09||Northern Premier League|
Division One North
|40||17||12||11||71||52||19||63||8/21||Ashley Stott (15)||QR2||PR||A promising season for the Shaymen was ended by only two victories in the last 14 games|
|2009–10||Northern Premier League|
Division One North
|James Dean (27)||QR4||QR3||Only the third promotion for a club representing Halifax in 99 years of history|
|2010–11||Northern Premier League|
|Jamie Vardy (22)||QR4||QR2||Second promotion in as many years, achieved with five games of the season left|
|2011–12||Conference North||42||21||11||10||80||59||21||74||3/22||Lee Gregory (20)||R1||QR3||Halifax finished 3rd, but lost to Gainsborough Trinity in the play-offs.|
|Lee Gregory (22)||QR4||QF||Town beat Brackley Town 1–0 in the play-off final and gained promotion to the Conference Premier|
|2013–14||Conference Premier||46||22||11||13||85||58||27||77||5/24||Lee Gregory (29)||R1||R1||Data last updated on 13 May 2014|
|2008–09||2nd qualifying round||Lost 1–4 to Nantwich Town|
|2009–10||4th qualifying round||Lost 0–1 to Wrexham|
|2010–11||4th qualifying round||Lost 0–1 to Mansfield Town|
|2011–12||1st round||Lost 0–4 to Charlton Athletic|
|2012–13||4th qualifying round||Lost replay 0–2 to Lincoln City|
|2013–14||1st Round||Lost 1–4 to MK Dons|
|2008–09||Preliminary||Lost 1–2 to Harrogate Railway Athletic|
|2009–10||3rd qualifying round||Lost 1–3 to Guiseley|
|2010–11||2nd qualifying round||Lost 1–2 to Curzon Ashton|
|2011–12||3rd qualifying round||Lost replay 1–2 to Colwyn Bay|
|2012–13||Quarter-finals||Lost replay 2–3 to Dartford|
|2013–14||1st round proper||Lost 0–1 to Guiseley|
|2008–09||1st round||Lost 1–2 to Wakefield|
|2009–10||2nd round||Lost 1–2 to Farsley Celtic|
|2010–11||Semi-finals||Lost 1–3 to Guiseley|
|2011–12||Quarter-finals||Lost 0–1 to Guiseley|
|2012–13||WINNERS||Won 1–0 against Guiseley AET|
|2013–14||Quarter-finals||Lost 2–1 to Harrogate Town|
|2008–09||1st round||Lost 1–2 to Curzon Ashton|
|2009–10||4th round||Lost 5–2 to Boston United|
|2010–11||3rd round||Beat Bradford Park Avenue 3–0 but were expelled from|
the competition due to fielding an ineligible player.
|2008–09||3rd round||Lost 0–2 to Retford United|
|2009–10||3rd round||Lost 1–2 to Stamford after extra time|
According to a survey conducted in 2003, Halifax's three main rivals are: