Maidenhead United F.C.

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Maidenhead United
Maidenheadunited.png
Full nameMaidenhead United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Magpies
Founded1870
GroundYork Road, Maidenhead
Ground Capacity3,000 (250 seated (500-seater stand planning)
ChairmanPeter Griffin
ManagerJohnson Hippolyte
LeagueConference South
2012–13Conference South, 19th
Home colours
Away colours
 
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Maidenhead United
Maidenheadunited.png
Full nameMaidenhead United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Magpies
Founded1870
GroundYork Road, Maidenhead
Ground Capacity3,000 (250 seated (500-seater stand planning)
ChairmanPeter Griffin
ManagerJohnson Hippolyte
LeagueConference South
2012–13Conference South, 19th
Home colours
Away colours

Maidenhead United Football Club is a semi-professional English football club in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The club was founded in 1870 and moved to their current ground at York Road the following year. The Football Association have acknowledged that it is the "oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club".[1]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

The origins of senior football in Maidenhead can be traced back to October 1870 with the formation of Maidenhead Football Club, who subsequently played their first ever fixture in December 1870 against Windsor Home Park on a site close to the River Thames. On 16 February 1871 the club played their first game on the York Road site against Marlow. The Club were one of the original 15 entrants for the first ever FA Cup competition in 1871–72. The following season they reached the last four before losing to Oxford University. Maidenhead reached the quarter-finals in the next two seasons, but in 1876 withdrew, returning the following season. They also entered the first ever Berks & Bucks Cup competition in 1878 and the first FA Amateur Cup in 1893.

Early years[edit]

Maidenhead F.C. were founder members of the Southern League in 1894 but competing with the likes of Watford, Brentford, Fulham and Brighton proved too demanding and eventually they dropped into the West Berkshire League, which they won, and the Berks & Bucks League, in which they finished bottom. In 1904 Maidenhead joined the Great Western Suburban League.

Maidenhead Norfolkians, meanwhile, were founded in 1884 and were successful members of the South Bucks & East Berks League before also joining the West Berks League and the Berks & Bucks League. In 1904 they joined Maidenhead FC in the Great Western Suburban League. Norfolkians played at Kidwells Park which can still be seen to this day, but as a public park – it once staged a Berks & Bucks Cup Final.

Spartans and Corinthians[edit]

The entrance to York Road

After the Great War the two clubs amalgamated as Maidenhead Town and adopted the famous black & white stripes. They had immediate success winning the Great Western League. In 1920 the name "United" was adopted and two years later they entered the Spartan League. They won the title three times in their nineteen-year stay. In 1936 Maidenhead reached the semi-final of the FA Amateur Cup losing 4–1 to Ilford at West Ham in front of 18,000 spectators. It was that season that the ground record attendance of 7,989 was set when Southall came to York Road in the quarter-final. In the 1929–30 season the club’s goal-scoring record for a season was set when Jack Palethorpe scored 65 goals in 39 games. He went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday and scored in the Owls FA Cup win in 1935.

Following the end of the Second World War the club entered the Corinthian League. In six seasons between 1956 and 1962 the club won the title three times, were runners-up twice and also reached the third Round of the FA Amateur Cup, losing to West Auckland at York Road in front of a post-war record attendance of 5,597. They also made three appearances in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup.

Athenians and Isthmians[edit]

In 1963 United joined the Athenian League, but were unable to repeat their Corinthian success, but in 1973 were elected into the new Isthmian League second Division. They had a flirtation with promotion to the Premier Division in 1979 and 1980 under Geoff Anthony, and then again in 1985 under Brian Caterer and Colin Lippiatt. This is where they stayed until 1987 when the Club suffered relegation for the first time in its history, the black days made worse with the destruction of the main stand by an arson attack and financial problems. It took four seasons to get out of Division Two, which was achieved under the guidance of Martyn Spong in 1991. An Isthmian League record of 13 straight wins at the start of the season was the springboard to success, but the title was lost to Abingdon Town on the last day of the season. Following the departure of Spong to Enfield, Gary Goodwin, John Clements and then John Watt took on the manager’s job with mediocre results, the club regularly finishing mid-table. The club desperately needed fresh blood to revive dreams of taking its place in the Premier Division.

The Devonshire years[edit]

In the summer of 1996, in an attempt to break that run of mediocrity, the Club hired a new management team of Martyn Busby, the former QPR and Notts County midfielder and Alan Devonshire the former West Ham and England midfielder. Although Busby left midway through the season, Devonshire guided United to their first Cup success since 1970 by winning the Isthmian League Full Members Cup. The 1997–98 season saw the Club have one of their most successful campaigns since Corinthian days. They won all three County Cups, beating Reading 2–1 in the Senior Final, reached the semi-final of the Full Members Cup and captured the Isthmian Fair Play Award. The season was nearly rounded off with promotion, but the Club finished fourth and an agonising one point behind Hampton despite clocking up 81 points. More silverware was won the following season, when the Magpies strolled home 4–1 against Wycombe Wanderers to retain the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup.

The York Road pitch

The 1999-2000 season saw United make a solid start to the League campaign, losing just one of their opening eleven games – and that on the opening day. By late March the Club remained in the promotion hunt with just five League defeats and a place in the Isthmian League Cup Final to look forward to at the end of the season. A late season rally followed a short, jittery, slump in results. The club took its place in the Premier Division on Thursday 4 May following a 1–0 home win over champions Croydon just days after losing 1–0 to Farnborough Town in the Final of the Isthmian League Cup at Basingstoke.

Life in the Premier Division was tough to begin with but spirits were lifted by a memorable FA Trophy run which came to an end at Blyth Spartans. The team eventually stayed up, having never been in the relegation places.

A new 700-capacity enclosure was completed in May 2001 which increased York Road's capacity to 4,500 and covered terracing for 1,700. However, the ground has long been the target for developers, being a town centre site only 30 miles from London, making it one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in England. But Maidenhead’s move to a new stadium has always faltered due to a lack of available sites in an area locked in by green belt. The club continued to consolidate their place in the top division during the last two years of Devonshire’s reign, winning the County cup in both seasons.

2002 to present[edit]

At the start of the 2002–03 season chairman Roger Coombs announced he would step down at the end of that season. In April 2003 manager Alan Devonshire stated his intention to leave the club after the final match of the season. The summer of 2003 naturally then saw a hive of activity at York Road with new manager John Dreyer and his assistant Phil Gray having to bring in virtually a new squad.

Maidenhead (red shirts) in action against Dover Athletic in 2010

The 2003–04 season unsurprisingly saw a shaky start and after seven games Maidenhead found themselves bottom of the league and winless. However a run of seven wins in nine games saw United shoot up the table and gave themselves a platform to secure a top half finish which guaranteed Conference South football, the highest level the club have played at since the Southern League days in the late nineteenth century.

Away from the League, John Dreyer made his mark on the club’s history by leading the club to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, beating Conference full timers Halifax Town on the way.

In the 2004–05 season Maidenhead struggled to adjust to life in the Conference South and following a slide into the bottom three in November, the club parted company with Dreyer and Gray. In December a new management team arrived from Windsor consisting of Dennis Greene and Colin Ferguson but despite a significant improvement in results United could not break clear of the relegation struggle. On the last day of the season a defeat in a relegation shootout at Newport County combined with a win for fellow strugglers Carshalton Athletic sent the Magpies down. However within a fortnight of the final whistle Maidenhead were reprieved following the demise of Hornchurch. Following a disastrous start to the 2005–06 season Greene was sacked after seven games and replaced by Alan Devonshire's former assistant Carl Taylor. Taylor and his assistant Tony Choules were no more successful than their predecessor in maintaining Nationwide South status and so the club returned to the Southern League after an absence of over a century.

Another consequence of the struggle to retain Conference South status has been mounting debts and as 2005 drew to a close a financial crisis loomed. This was swiftly resolved when the members voted to wind up the existing club and transfer ownership to a new Limited Company set up by sponsors Pharmalink and headed by Una Loughrey.

Ground[edit]

Maidenhead United play their home games at York Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 1SF.

York Road, which had been a cricket ground from the late eighteenth century, is now officially acknowledged as the "oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club", eclipsing Northwich Victoria's old claim by several years.[1]

Current squad[edit]

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

No.PositionPlayer
FranceGKYannick Nlate (dual registration with Dulwich Hamlet)
EnglandGKMatt Pegler
LatviaGKElvijs Putniņš
EnglandDFBrandon Baker-Timms
IranDFBobby Behzadi
EnglandDFJordan Chandler
EnglandDFJoe Crook
EnglandDFTom Gilbey
EnglandDFShay Khosrowshahi
EnglandDFBrett Longden (on loan from Luton Town)
EnglandDFDevante McKain (on loan from Gillingham)
EnglandDFMark Nisbet
GhanaDFNii Nortei Nortey
EnglandDFJames Regis
EnglandDFMatt Ruby
EnglandDFLeon Solomon
No.PositionPlayer
EnglandDFLes Thompson
EnglandDFCurtis Ujah
EnglandMFWada Ahmidi
EnglandMFLanre Azeez
EnglandMFDaniel Brown
EnglandMFAdrian Clifton
EnglandMFHarry Grant (on loan from Gillingham)
EnglandMFDanny Green
EnglandMFHarry Pritchard
EnglandMFReece Tison-Lascaris
EnglandFWJonathan Constant
EnglandFWJacob Erskine
EnglandFWJonathan Hippolyte
EnglandFWTony Mendy (dual registation with AFC Hayes)
DominicaFWRichard Pacquette

Honours[edit]

League honours[edit]

Cup honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Country's 'oldest' football ground in Maidenhead gets plaque". BBC News. 13 October 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Honours - Other Competitions - Maidenhead United". Pitchero.com. 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  3. ^ "Epsom & Ewell Football Club". Epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 

External links[edit]