NANTWICH TOWN FC - The History
The full history of Nantwich Town is charted in the full colour book, ‘Proud To Be the Dabbers – a history of Nantwich Town Football Club, 1884-2009’. The 128-page book, priced £14, is available from the Club Shop at the Weaver Stadium, Nantwich Bookshop and on-line through the club history website: www.ProudToBeTheDabbers.co.uk
The website also carries brief biographies of many players who have worn Nantwich’s colours over the years.
A Brief History
Founded back in 1884, 2009/10 is the 125th anniversary of Nantwich Football Club. The club took up residence at the football pitch off London Road with the Leopard Inn as its headquarters and changing rooms. Early years were spent playing friendly and cup matches but in 1891 the club joined the Shropshire & District League, finishing as runners-up in the first season.
Nantwich moved into the stronger Combination the following season and on 15th October 1892 hosted Liverpool in the Merseysiders’ first ever FA Cup match (Liverpool won 4-0).
After the Great War, the club became founder members of the Cheshire County League in which they were perennial strugglers. In 1921, a record home attendance of 5121 watched the Dabbers play Winsford in the Cheshire Senior Cup at the club’s temporary home at the old cricket ground at Kingsley Fields. Ironically, this is the location of the new club’s new Weaver Stadium.
The club gave Freddie Worrall his first chance in senior football in April 1927, the youngster going to become a pre-war England international as well as playing in two FA Cup finals for Portsmouth.
Success for Nantwich, though, came in the Cheshire Senior Cup in 1933 when the Dabbers lifted the trophy, beating ICI (Alkali) 1-0 in the Final. After the Second World War, the Dabbers joined the newly-founded Mid Cheshire League and in 1952, the club entered the inaugural FA Youth Cup competition. Drawn against Manchester United in the second round, the young Dabbers crashed 23-0 on a November evening at the Cliff training ground to a United youth line up including names such as Duncan Edwards, David Pegg, Albert Scanlon and Ron Cope.
In the 1963/64 season the club completed a treble, winning the Mid Cheshire League, League Cup and Cheshire Amateur Cup under Manager Alan Ball (senior) and Nantwich re-joined the Cheshire League for the 1968/69 campaign. In 1976 the Dabbers beat NPL champions Runcorn 5-4 in the Cheshire Senior Cup Final at Crewe in front of 2237. Five years later in May 1981 a crowd of 1078 saw Nantwich clinch the Cheshire League title by beating eventual runners up Hyde United in the penultimate game of the season 2-1.
The previous season had seen Nantwich blood a lanky 19 year-old who had been signed from Whitchurch Alport. Jimmy Quinn went on to play football at the highest level with Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United, gaining 48 caps for Northern Ireland and becoming the fourth highest scorer in his country’s international history.
1982 saw Nantwich become founder members of the North West Counties Football League. Unfortunately Nantwich had the unenviable honour of finishing bottom and were relegated to Division 2 where the club remained (except for one season in Division 3) until 1989 when the Dabbers were promoted to Division One. Ex-Stoke City midfielder Nigel Gleghorn was appointed Manager in November 2001 and the club also attained the prestigious FA Charter Standard Community Club award. Gleghorn left the club in the 2004 close season and former Crewe, Burnley and Barnsley defender Steve Davis was appointed as Head Coach.
Davis led Nantwich to FA Vase glory in 2006 when the Dabbers beat Hillingdon Borough 3-1 in the Final at Birmingham City’s St Andrews stadium. Andy Kinsey hit two goals in the Final – and hit the headlines when he dislocated his shoulder celebrating the second ! John Scarlett, the club’s post-war leading scorer with 161 goals, made a cameo appearance as a substitute in the Final.
The club moved into its new £4m Weaver Stadium at Kingsley Fields in July 2007 and progress continued on the pitch with Cheshire Senior Cup glory. Conference side Altrincham were defeated on penalties in the final after Pavol Suhaj netted a hat-trick in the 3-3 draw. In the league, Nantwich finished third and secured promotion after beating Sheffield FC on penalties in the First Division South Play Off Final. Last season the Dabbers narrowly missed a third successive promotion, losing the UniBond Premier Play Off Final 2-1 to Ilkeston Town after extra-time and shortly afterwards Steve Davis was appointed Assistant Manager at Crewe Alexandra.
Davis’ assistant Peter Hall, the former Nantwich and Macclesfield striker, stepped up to take over as Head Coach for the 2009/10 season but after briefly topping the UniBond Premier table, he parted company with the club in March 2010 after the Dabbers slipped to 15th in the table. Senior players Kevin Street and Darren Tinson took over the reins, lifting the club to 10th place and they were confirmed as Joint Managers during the close season.
Jimmy Quinn the former Reading, Bournemouth, West Ham and Northern Ireland Striker was appointed manager in March 2011.
The 2011/12 season saw the club embark on its most successful run in the FA Cup – reaching the First Round Proper for the first time in the club’s history. Victories over Ramsbottom United, Northwich Victoria, Kendal Town and Nuneaton Town gave Nantwich an enticing tie at MK Dons and although the Dabbers went down 6-0 on the day, their brave performance earned many plaudits.
When the club parted company with Quinn in March 2013, Darren Moss had a spell as Caretaker Manager as the Dabbers finished the season in 14th place. Danny Johnson was appointed Manager ahead of the 2013/14 campaign and the former Ashton United boss quickly named Earl Davis as Player/Assistant Manager.
- For more details on the history of Nantwich Town FC, visit www.ProudtobeTheDabbers.co.uk