[Stourbridge FC History - for 2016/17
"The Glassboys" were founded in 1876 and were originally known as Stourbridge Standard. Top honours eluded the club until the 1887-88 season when the Kidderminster Cup and the Worcester Charity Cup was won. By that time, it is known that that the club had changed its name to "Stourbridge Football Club" and were competing in the Birmingham and District League, where reasonable success was achieved without actually gaining the league title, but the Worcestershire Senior Cup was won on three occasions.
The 1923-24 season was one of the best in the club's history, when the Birmingham League championship was clinched by finishing seven points clear of Shrewsbury and the Worcestershire Senior Cup was won yet again.
After the Second World War, "The Glassboys" (reflecting the town's connection with the Cut Glass industry) enjoyed a particularly successful period with the Birmingham Combination Championship achieved in 1952 and the Birmingham, Worcestershire and Herefordshire Senior Cups were also won too during this particular era.
The club returned to the Birmingham League in 1954 on the disbanding of the Birmingham Combination and were runners-up in 1955-56. The Birmingham Senior Cup was won for a second time in 1958-59 and later, the 1967-68 season saw the club achieve a 'double' in lifting both the Worcestershire and Birmingham Senior Cups.
INTO THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE
In 1971 the club was elected to the expanding Southern League and met almost instant success under manager Alan Grundy in 1973-74 season, with the Division 1 (North) title and the Merit Cup (for the league's highest goalscorers) coming to Amblecote. Twin strikers, Ray Haywood and Chic Bates, each notched 50 goals that season and were transferred to Shrewsbury Town, where Bates served 13 years as both player and manager.
Another highlight in 1973-74 was a tremendous run in the Welsh Cup, in which we disposed of both Swansea and Wrexham on their own grounds and then faced Cardiff City in a two-leg final. A record crowd of 5,726 saw the Glassboys lose the home leg 1-0 and then also go down 1-0 at Ninian Park.
Four seasons were spent in the Premier Division of the Southern League between 1974 and 1984, but little of note was achieved except for a home win over Wimbledon (then in the Southern League of course) and also a Worcestershire Senior Cup Final victory over Kidderminster Harriers in 1981. Two centre-forwards were also sold, Steve Cooper to Torquay and Tony Cunningham to Lincoln City during this time.
Subsequent Midland Division form was mediocre too, despite three good F.A. Cup runs, and a disastrous run of results in 1987-88 led to a relegation spot, however fortune was on the club's side and we were re-elected to the League in the close season.
Stourbridge then went on from strength to strength, culminating in winning the Midland Division Championship in 1991 under the managership of John Chambers. But disappointment followed when Southern League officials refused promotion due to the shared use of the Ground with the Cricket Club.
1992-93 also proved to be a truly remarkable season. Our league form was inconsistent, however following a memorable run in the Barclays Commercial Services (Southern League) Cup we reached the final, where despite the resignation of John Chambers as manager in the lead-up, we upset the form book by recording a 3-2 aggregate success over Southern League Premier Division champions Dover Athletic to win the trophy.
After a mixed start to the 1995-96 season, the Club parted company with boss Colin Gordon at Christmas and then Chairman Morton Bartleet took control of team affairs. He quickly brought improved performances and results that included a run to the 1996 Worcestershire Senior Cup final where the Glassboys lost 4-3 on aggregate to Bromsgrove Rovers.
October 1997 saw a new Chairman at the club and his early enthusiasm in refurbishing the Social Club continued with many impressive signings for the 1998-99 season under the guidance of a new manager, Steve Daniels. The Glassboys spent much of the early part of the season in the top 3 whilst also reaching the F.A. Cup 4th qualifying round for the first time in 15 years, but the success was short lived as budget cutbacks saw many of the more experienced players move on. The club finished in the middle of the table and shortly after the end of the season, Steve Daniels resigned as manager, and player/coach Micky Guest was promoted as his successor.
By Christmas '99 mounting business commitments and a serious back operation had left Mick unable to devote enough time to the club and with less than favourable results being achieved on the pitch, he resigned. Meanwhile a new owner came to the club, and swiftly appointed Mark Serrell as Chairman and Mark Harrison as Manager. Despite an influx of new players, continued poor results meant the bell finally tolled on Stourbridge's 29-year spell at Southern League level with defeat in the last game of the season at Hinckley United in May 2000.
RE-GROUPING IN THE MIDLAND ALLIANCE
We began our inaugural season in the Midland Football Alliance on a more optimistic note as we looked to re-group. We eventually finished in 5th spot in the league, but the highlight of the 2000-01 season was the capture of the MFA Davis League Cup. We emerged victorious over Bridgnorth Town following a dramatic penalty shoot-out after the final had finished in a 1-1 draw, to collect our first silverware for eight years.
The 2001-02 season began well with the lifting of the Joe McGorian Cup after a 2-1 victory at League Champions Stourport. In November 2001, however, the club parted company with Mark Harrison, with the former Bilston Town boss Joe Jackson subsequently taking over as manager. We remained amongst the front-runners in the League despite an inevitable transitional phase and on the final Saturday of the season, we were crowned champions in dramatic fashion as a last gasp stoppage time goal by Brian Gray earned the point we needed at Stafford Town to pip Bromsgrove to the title.
Although Mark Serrell left the club the following January, to be succeeded as chairman by Stephen Hyde, Joe Jackson once more led the club to the Midland Football Alliance Championship in 2002-03. Our record total of 101 league points only just being sufficient to overcome the strong challenge of Rushall Olympic and Stratford Town. The Joe McGorian Cup had earlier been retained after a 2-0 win at Rushall. Promotion though proved beyond us again due to the ground grading regulations in place at the time.
Joe Jackson declined to try and lead us to a hat trick of titles in 2003-04 and was replaced by Jon Ford and Gary Hackett, who had enjoyed two successful seasons in charge at Bromsgrove. With many players moving on, the new management team had to rebuild the side from scratch, but an encouraging second half of the season saw the Glassboys finish a creditable 9th. The following season (2004-05), we enjoyed a memorable run in the F.A. Vase, battling through six rounds to reach the last 8 of the competition. We put up a tremendous display at AFC Sudbury in the quarter-final before finally succumbing to a 4-1 defeat after extra time. In the League we were well placed for a title push at the turn of the year, but our form wavered after that and after our exit from the Vase in early March we suffered a terrible run of results which meant that we slipped down the league table and eventually finished in 8th place.
In May 2005 Gary Hackett took sole charge of the team after Jon Ford decided to step down due to work and family commitments. With a re-organisation of the non-league pyramid at Step 4 level on the cards, we looked to mount a strong push for promotion, however a mixed start to the campaign left us lying in mid-table by December before a superb run of results followed that saw us get firmly back in the title race. At the same time, we also reached the Birmingham Senior Cup Final for the first time in 30 years. Off the pitch, concerted efforts were made to enable the club to meet the new ground grading requirements by April 1st in order to be in a position to go up if possible. Entering the last week of the season, a league and cup 'double' was still achievable, but we went down to a 1-0 defeat to Willenhall Town in the cup final and then four days later, we were pipped to the MFA title by Chasetown and had to settle for the runners-up spot. Mark Bellingham hit 61 goals for the season to break the club record, while his tally of 48 goals in the MFA also smashed the league record. There was then an anxious two-week gap before we received the news that we had been hoping for - Promotion gained and a return to the Southern League after six years at the lower level.
BACK IN THE SOUTHERN LEAGUE
In our first season back in the Southern League Midlands Division in 2006-07 a respectable 7th place finish was achieved. We also reached the final of the Worcestershire Senior Cup, but following a goal-less draw at Amblecote in the first leg of the final against Evesham United, we were somewhat unluckily beaten 2 - 1 aet away in the second leg.
The 2007-08 season however will live long in the memory. An excellent run of results during March and April saw us seal a third place finish in the Midlands Division to reach the play-offs. A narrow 1 - 0 win at home to Sutton Coldfield took us through to the Final away at second placed Leamington and in front of a crowd of 1.634, a stunning goal from Leon Broadhurst four minutes from the end of extra-time sealed a 2 - 1 victory to earn us a second promotion in three seasons and a return to the Premier Division of the Southern League after a gap of 24 years!
After a difficult start to our return to the Premier Division which saw us lie in and around the foot of the table, we eventually acclimatized to life at the higher level and we secured another season in the Premier Division with a final placing of 16th. We also reached our third senior cup final in four seasons with a fine run in the Birmingham Senior Cup, however we once again suffered heartbreak in the final as Hednesford Town defeated us 2 - 0 at Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium.
In 2009-10 Gary Hackett became the first Stourbridge manager to take the club through to the First Round Proper of the F A Cup with memorable victories away at Hucknall Town and Buxton earning the Glassboys a home tie with Walsall. In front of a crowd of 2,014 at the War Memorial Athletic Ground the Saddlers ran out narrow 1 - 0 winners on a momentous day for the club. Some excellent results in the second half of the campaign also saw Stourbridge finish in 9th place in the league.
2010-11 saw the Glassboys taste cup final success as we defeated Conference North outfit Worcester City 2 - 0 to lift the Worcestershire Senior Cup at Kidderminster Harriers. Another solid Premier Division campaign ended with Stourbridge finishing 8th.
In 2011-12 wins away at Bewdley Town and Barwell and then successive 5 - 0 home victories over Evesham United and Rushall Olympic in the 3rd & 4th qualifying rounds enabled us to reach the First Round Proper of the F A Cup for the second time in three seasons and after a fabulous 3 - 3 draw away at League Two outfit Plymouth Argyle, a crowd of 2,519 saw the Glassboys defeat the Devon club 2 - 0 at Amblecote in front of the ESPN cameras to reach the 2nd Round Proper for the first time in our long history, but our glorious run was finally ended by League One side Stevenage who won 3 - 0 at Stourbridge in-front of an attendance of 3,067. In February 2012 top goalscorer Ryan Rowe was sold to Kidderminster Harriers for an undisclosed five-figure fee, but the Glassboys remained in contention for the league play-offs, however a 1 - 1 draw at Frome Town in our final fixture saw us just miss out on goal difference as we ended another memorable campaign in 6th place.
We got our 2012-13 campaign off to a winning start too as a 1 - 0 victory away at Kidderminster Harriers enabled us to retain the Worcestershire Senior Cup in a Final carried over from the previous season, but our early season form was wildly up and down. From December onwards though, we put together a more consistent run of good results and then after a 3 – 2 loss at home to Hemel Hempstead Town in mid-February we bounced back to pick up 34 points from our next 12 league games to clinch the runner’s up spot in the Premier Division. The Worcestershire Senior Cup was won for a third successive time in April 2013, but we needed penalties to overcome Redditch United after the final at St George’s Lane had ended goal-less, however a week later we suffered play-off heartbreak as we were beaten 2 – 1 at home by Gosport Borough in the semi-finals to miss out on the chance of promotion to the Conference North.
In 2013-14 the club managed to reach the competition Proper stages of the F A Cup for the third time in five seasons. A 3 – 1 victory at Workington in the 4th Qualifying Round was followed by a 4 – 1 home victory over league rivals Biggleswade Town in-front of a crowd of 1,605 in the 1st Round Proper to earn an away tie at Stevenage where we bowed out after a 4 – 0 defeat. In the league, a last day 1 – 1 draw at Hitchin Town secured 5th spot and a play-off place for a second successive season, however in the semi-final we were beaten 2 – 1 at league runners-up Chesham United.
TRANSFERRED TO THE NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE
We were moved across the pyramid structure for the 2014/15 season to become members of the Northern Premier League for the first time in the club’s history. Two wins in our opening two league games saw us top the table briefly, however we could not sustain that level of performance. Indeed a dismal run of one win in our last 17 league games saw us eventually finish in 16th place.
A host of new signings over the following summer gave the side a fresh look for 2015-16. Another remarkable run in the F A Cup, which included victories over non-league top flight sides Kidderminster Harriers and Dover Athletic saw the club reach the Second Round Proper for the 3rd time in five years before going down 2 - 0 to Eastleigh in-front of 2,086 at the War Memorial Athletic Ground and we also reached the last sixteen of the F A Trophy before succumbing to Nantwich Town. There was some late season disappointment, however, when defeats in our last two league games saw us consigned to a 6th place finish, therefore narrowly missing out on the play-offs.
With Gary Hackett in charge for a 14th successive season in 2016/17, the club once more enjoyed great success in the F A Cup. In the 2nd Round Proper Stourbridge defeated League One club Northampton Town at home 1 – 0, in front of a crowd of 2,520, to famously reach the 3rd Round Proper for the first time in our history, where with the backing of over 2,000 travelling fans, we fell to a narrow 2 – 1 defeat away at Wycombe Wanderers. A strong April saw the Glassboys finish 3rd in the Premier Division to secure a play-off berth, but after overcoming Workington in the semi-finals, we lost 1 - 0 away to league runners-up Spennymoor Town in the play-off final to miss out on promotion.