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STFC Club History

The Club was founded by Paul Bartlett in 1941, as Stratford Rangers, changing its name to Stratford Town in 1949.

Stratford competed in local leagues until 1947 when they joined the Birmingham Alliance (which became the Warwickshire & West Midland Alliance). Following league and cup successes, Stratford joined the Worcestershire Combination (which became the Midland Combination) in 1954.

Over the following years Stratford played in various leagues including the Birmingham & District League and the Hellenic League, until 1994 when they became founder members of the Midland Football Alliance.

Alan Hawkins - Town's Mr Stato has unearthed previously undocumented history of STFC.

A Brief Outline of the Club prior to joining the Worcestershire Combination in 1954/1955

Although being first registered with the Birmingham County FA in 1944, the Club was formed under the name of Stratford Rangers in 1943 by Paul Bartlett with the original intention to give local serving players on leave during the Second World War the opportunity of a game as there was no organised football. From initially playing "friendly" games at a number of locations (including the Recreation Ground and a field off the Birmingham Road) to playing competitive football after the war, the team achieved rapid progress and became a successful junior club in it's formative years.

The team won 24 and lost 6 of their 35 games in season 1945/1946. After winning the Alcester Nursing Home Cup and finishing Division 1 runners-up of the Stratford-upon-Avon & District League in 1946/1947 a suggested merger with champions and the longer established Stratford Men's SC did not materialise but both clubs left the Stratford League for the 1947/1948 season, MSC joined the Leamington & District League while Stratford Rangers joined the Birmingham Alliance. During their seven seasons of membership in the senior division of this league, the Club won many trophies and by the late 1940's were playing on the Alcester Road Ground (which was adjacent to the present site) with the pitch being moved on at least one occasion. Off the field a strong committee was complemented by a thriving supporters club.

In their first season outside local football, 1947/1948, Stratford Rangers finished in a good position in the league with the Club's record victory being achieved in an away game at Terrys Athletic, 19-0 ! The team also competed in the Birmingham Junior Cup while membership of the Stratford League was retained when the Club ran a Reserve side which replaced the first XI in Division 1.

In 1948/1949, with the help of trainer Harry Shaw, the team finished 8th, entered the FA Amateur Cup and reached the semi-final of the Birmingham Junior Cup. Over 1,000 supporters travelled to Villa Park to see the team narrowly lose to Castle Rovers in the Aston Villa Cup Final. At the end of the season the Club, with approval from the town's Council, changed name to the present title of Stratford Town, inheriting the town's crest for it's badge and colours.

In their first season as Stratford Town, 1949/1950, the team finished 7th in the league and became the first winners of the RAFA Cup.

The 1950/1951 season saw the team finish runners-up under the guidance of manager Vic Manley. The highest scoring victory under the name of Stratford Town was achieved when Walsall Colts were beaten 14-1 in a home league game. The Town also became joint-holders of the League Cup (Alliance Senior Cup) after two drawn Finals against Coventry Amateurs. The Final of the Aston Villa Cup was again reached but The Town lost to Hall Green Amateurs.

However, in 1951/1952 The Town gained revenge by beating Hall Green Amateurs in the League Cup Final which was played at Lockheed Leamington FC. The team finished 4th in the league.

By the 1952/1953 season the West Midland Alliance as it had become known (which incorporated the Birmingham Alliance in which The Town's Reserve team were members) had changed title to the Warwickshire & West Midland Alliance and Stratford Town finished runners-up under player-manager Len Livingstone who older supporters remembered as the best centre half to play for the Club. The Aston Villa Cup was won for the first and only time as was the Presidents Cup. A massive 164 goals were scored in all competitions of the campaign.

A prolific goal-scorer for The Town during their membership of the Alliance was Gordon Hillman and his 50 goals scored in the 1953/1954 season contributed to the Club becoming league champions, the title being secured when Dudley Town Reserves were beaten 6-2 in front of a "record crowd". Stratford Town again lost to Castle Rovers in the Aston Villa Cup Final and Birmingham City Colts beat them in the League Cup Final which was played at St Andrews. A friendly against Pegasus attracted over 2,000 spectators at the Rugby Club and an end of season friendly against Evesham United attracted 1,000.The Reserves finished in a high position while Stratford Town Colts held their own scoring 126 goals in their inaugural season.

With further building development of what was becoming an industrial use area ongoing (the fire station had only opened in 1953), the pitch was moved northwards and enclosed with the installation of changing rooms and a stand. The Ground, which initially had only a short lease, has changed very little until the move to the new stadium in Knights Lane.

With improved facilities the Club were accepted into the Midland Combination (then known as the Worcestershire Combination) for the 1954/1955 season, replacing Kingswinford & Wallheath FC, although the original intention appears to have been joining the stronger semi-professional Birmingham Combination which had ceased at the end of the 1953/1954 season. A new manager was also appointed, Allan Sands.
In their first season, Stratford finished 4th. In 1956 Stratford were runners-up and the following year they won the title by 5 points from Wolverhampton Wanderers. In 1955-56 Stratford reached the Challenge Cup Final, but were beaten by Bromsgrove Rovers. Between 1954 and 1957 the Club played 102 games, winning 65, drawing 15 and losing 21, scoring 313 goals and conceded 138. As a result Stratford decided to join the Birmingham and District League and were in Div 2 for 3 years, before the League was reorganised. It was a very strong League and Stratford’s fortunes slipped, although they did win the Birmingham Senior Cup beating Lockheed Leamington in the Final 2-1 in 1963, the game was played at Moor Green, and Sid Keenan scored both goals.
In 1970-71 Stratford went back to the Midland Combination, where they stayed for 5 seasons before joining the Hellenic League. In their first season they finished 10th but the next year they finished bottom and they went back to the Midland Combination. However lack of success continued as they finished with only 13 points and were relegated to Div 2. Being relegated gave the Club time to regroup and within 3 years they were back in the premier Division. After winning the League in 1987, Stratford applied to join the southern League, but the Ground was not up to standard. A new Club House and Changing Rooms were built and floodlights were installed in 1990.
In 1994 Stratford were elected as a founder member of the Midland Football Alliance and finished 3rd in their first season. To cap this, Andy Smith was voted MFA player of the season. In 1997-98 the Club suffered severe financial problems, and a number of local business men got together and took over the Club to get it back on its feet.
Lennie Derby was brought in as manager, but it was not until the 1999-2000 that things improved when they were runners-up to Alliance new boys Oadby Town. The next two seasons saw Stratford setting the pace and sitting top of the table at Christmas. However spells of bad weather and postponements led to a backlog of fixtures with Town failing to hold onto the top spot.
For the 2002-03 campaign, Stratford were in contention for most of the season with Stourbridge, Rushall Olympic and early pace setters Oadby Town who got to the semi final of the F A Vase. Stourbridge won the league, but it was not until the last game of the Season that Rushall, pipped Stratford for 2nd place. Stratford won the League Cup for the first time beating Causeway United 1-0, with Leon Mitchell getting the goal in extra time.
The 2003-04 season got off to a great start, Stratford winning their 2nd trophy in 3 months, beating Stourbridge 1-0 to win the Joe McGorian Cup and Stratford were unbeaten after the first 12 games of the season, winning the Team of the month for August. After 3 mid season defeats Stratford only lost twice in the next 20 games to keep in the title race, suffering 3 more defeats Town Came back with 5 wins. A win or a draw in the last game of the season against Willenhall at Masons Road, would secure 2nd place and promotion but Willenhall won and gained the promotion spot.
The 2004-05 season got off to a great start when Stratford became the first team to retain the League Cup with a 3-1 win over Rushall Olympic in the rearranged Final at Willenhall. However it was the opposite in the League with Town losing their first 4 League games and were in the relegation zone for the first half of the season. It was a shock when Lennie Derby resigned in January. In his 6 years at the Club he had been close to promotion several times. With his departure Assistant Manager Ian Britton took charge for the rest of the season.
After being reinstated in the F A Cup after Sutton Coldfield played an ineligible player, Stratford got to the 3rd qualifying round the best they have ever done, but were beaten 3-0 at Masons Road by Southport and were beaten 3-0 by Sutton Town in the F A Vase.
Stratford striker Craig Pountney won the MFA Golden Boot award for the 2nd time in 4 years, scoring 32 goals, and was supporter’s player of the year.

After a good pre season build up to the 2005/06 season hopes were high, but this form was not transferred to the new League campaign, despite winning the first two games, results were indifferent and again Stratford were fighting in the lower half of the table.
With a good win against Stourport Swifts in the F A Cup it looked as if things might improve, but no, as Stratford went out of every other cup competition at the first hurdle. With results not improving and not being able to bring in new faces to strengthen the Squad, manager Ian Britton resigned.
Former player Dennis Mulholland was appointed as the new manager. Bringing in a lot of new faces to try and improve results had little effect, as Stratford were still having a mixed bag of results and eventually finished 14th in the League at the end of the season, their lowest position for a number of years.
The 2006/07, season was a successful one for Stratford, finishing 4th in the League and having good runs in the FA Cup and the FA Vase. Going out to Conference South side Bishops Stortford away 2-0, in the 3rd qualifying round and losing 2-1 to MFA rivals Quorn 2-1 at Sutton Park in the 4th round respectively.
The 2007 / 2008 season saw the appointment of Micky Moore and Town riding high in the MFA until a disastrous post Christmas run put an end to any promotion hopes.
The 2008 / 2009 season was Town’s first full one at its new Knights Lane facility and expectations were high for the season ahead. An historic run in the FA Vase ended in 5th round defeat to eventual winners Whitley Bay but again league form was inconsistent. Despite a great run in the last two months Town ended in 6th place having never threatened the top three and manager Micky Moore paid the price at the end of the season. New manager Rod Brown was appointed, with the task of bringing that elusive promotion top of his list of priorities. A first season finish in third place was followed by a dismal start to the 2010 / 2011 season and by September Brown had left.
Former player Morton Titterton replaced Brown, once again a top six finish was gained, along with a fine end of season league cup win over Boldmere St Michaels. The 2011 / 2012 season was again disappointing and Carl Adams was brought in as co-manager for the 2012 / 2013 campaign. Unfortunately Morton Titterton had to relinquish his duties leaving Carl Adams in sole charge. Town went top of league in early September and remained there, at one point opening up a 19 point lead. But with the terrible winter causing fixture chaos Town secured the title with 4 games left to play thus ending their 19 season stay in the MFA and promotion to the Southern League Div 1 South & West.
The 2013/14 season saw Town finish in 10th position playing a brand of attacking football that produced 103 goals and the league’s leading goalscorer in Richard Gregory with 39.
The 2014/15 season saw the majority of the previous year’s squad re-signed and together with some additional signings Town made an impressive start hitting the top of the table after 10 consecutive wins. Despite a poor run of results around the turn of the year they produced a 12 match unbeaten run to secure a 3rd place finish and reach the play off’s. Having overcome Taunton Town 2-1 in the semi-final they beat Lakhall Athletic in the final in front of a ground record crowd of 1054 supporters to gain promotion to the Evostik Southern Premier League.
After winning promotion to the Southern League Prem the 2015/16 season was all about consolidation. The previous season’s end of season form continued with Town making a bright start to life at the highest level in their history.
By Christmas Town were comfortable in mid table but a poor run of form into the new year meant a promising start turned into a 19th place finish. Mission accomplished and onto a tough second season in the Division.
2017/17 saw Town achieve their highest league position. A young developing side finished 14th and but for 14 drawn games could have been higher. The coming season sees most of last years squad re-signed, which with the addition of some new players will see Town consolidate even more in this division.

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