evostick
Featured Sponsor

THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF SALISBURY FC

History

A football club in Salisbury has existed since the late 19th century, before Salisbury FC was formed in 1947, replacing Salisbury Corinthians and the original Salisbury City. The new club entered the Western League and enjoyed immediate success, winning the Second Division title. The campaign included a record attendance of 8,902 at Victoria Park to witness the championship decider against Weymouth in April 1948.

The Club remained members of the Western League until 1968, rarely finishing outside of the top six, and were crowned champions in seasons 1957/58 and 1960/61. Other achievements included winning the Hampshire League and Western League cups, and the Wiltshire Premier Shield.

Success in National competitions saw an appearance in the FA Amateur Cup at Plough Lane Wimbledon in the First Round Proper 1948/49, where the home side prevailed 2-1.

Salisbury reached the FA Cup First Round for the first time in 1955/56, suffering a 3-2 defeat at Weymouth, but four seasons later, the club went one better, beating Barnet before losing 1-0 in the Second Round at home to Newport County in front of 6,800 spectators. Further First Round appearances followed in 1964/65, at Peterborough United in front of a crowd of 10,095, and in 1967/68, losing 4-0 at Swindon, where 12,193 attended.

In 1968 the Club joined the Southern League, but with three exceptions never managed a top half finish in the first 15 years of membership. However, three more Wiltshire Premier Shield victories, and another FA Cup First Round appearance, in 1979/80, were the outstanding achievements. The FA Cup tie with Millwall was switched to The Dell, Southampton, and 8805 saw Salisbury unluckily beaten 2-1.

Success in the Southern League finally came in the1985/86 season when Salisbury finished runners up to Cambridge City only on goal difference after a tremendous 15-game unbeaten run, including seven straight wins in fifteen days at the season’s end. The stay in the Premier Division was short-lived however, relegation following just one season later.

In 1992 the club became Salisbury City, and later that year there was a sixth FA Cup First Round appearance, when the team suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat in a replay against Marlow Town. Further disappointments followed at the end of that season when, in spite of finishing as runners up for the second time, the Club was denied promotion because of ground grading rules. Promotion was gained two years later though, the Championship coming as a result losing only 5 league games out of 42. A club record of 97 points and a best-ever-Southern League victory, 7-0 at runners up Baldock Town capped a fine season.

In 1997, under the Chairmanship of Salisbury-born businessman Ray McEnhill, the Club finally realised its ambition and moved to a purpose built stadium at Old Sarum.

A Stadium record crowd of 2,570 saw the FA Cup First Round 2-0 defeat by Hull City in 1998.

Under Manager Geoff Butler Salisbury remained in the league until 2002 before Butler departed after 17 years in charge.   

Off-field troubles nearly caused the Club’s demise in 2002 but it was saved by a business consortium encouraged to form by supporters. The Club was thereafter led by ex-Salisbury player Neville Beal, who attracted former Southampton FA Cup winner Nick Holmes to the Club as General Manager, after which the Club enjoyed success.

In November 2003, an 8th appearance in the FA Cup First Round saw a loss to high-flying Sheffield Wednesday, 4-0 at Hillsborough, and in front of 11,419 spectators.

In the next season, Salisbury City gained promotion from the Dr. Martens Eastern Division by finishing sixth, but because of League realignments were transferred to the Ryman (Isthmian) Premier League, meaning the end of a 36-year membership of the Southern Football League.  

In the 2004/2005 season, the Club finished 12th in the Ryman, having made a good start before slipping back, until they pulled off a major transfer coup with the signature of ex-Saint Tom Widdrington from Port Vale as player coach. A tremendous end to the season saw City transferred back to the Southern Football League, their natural home, due to further re-structuring.

The next season was the best in living memory for some supporters, when Salisbury City won the Southern Premier League with games to spare, amassing 95 points, and reached the last eight of the FA Trophy. Also in this season the Club won the Malta Cup and Hospital Cup.

A pleasing start to the Nationwide Conference South adventure was complemented by a good run in the FA Cup, where, before Sky TV cameras, the Whites were beaten 2-0, but far from disgraced, after a Second Round Proper replay at Nottingham Forest. That game followed a thrilling1-1 draw at home in front of a stadium record capacity crowd of 3,100, and full BBC Match of the Day coverage. 

Salisbury City reached the last eight of the FA Trophy again in season 2006/2007, but went out 3-0 at Stevenage Borough. 

The 2006/2007 season was again exceptional with a second successive promotion, into the top level of the Non-League game, the Blue Square Premier League. After a final tie win over Braintree Town. Salisbury City also won the Southern League Challenge Cup.

Salisbury City’s first season in the Blue Square Premier League saw the club finish in a very respectable 12th position, thus achieving their aim of the first season consolidation, with further success in the Salisbury Hospitals Cup and the Wiltshire Premier Shield.

Season 2008/2009 saw mixed fortunes and was divided into three distinct periods. Contrary to the expectations of many, Salisbury City occupied a place in the top six in the early stages before sinking into the lower reaches of the league. However, a late recovery staved off relegation fears and the initial aim, to survive in what is always a difficult second season in a new league, was achieved.

Season 2009/2010 was a successful one on the pitch as, despite having been deducted 10 points when the club went into Administration, a young squad finished in a very creditable mid-table position. Without the deduction a sixth place finish would have been achieved. 

Unable to fulfil Football Conference financial criteria, the Club lost its membership and duly took its place in the Zamaretto (Southern) Premier League under Chairman William Harrison-Allan and a new Board, with the natural aim of a quick return to the Conference. Darrell Clarke, an experienced midfielder, was appointed as Player/Manager. 

Also in this season SCFC reached the FA Trophy Semi Final for the first time but lost to Barrow in both legs.

The next season was in the main very successful, with the team reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup, and having made even better progress in the FA Trophy only going out after a narrow 2-1 quarter-final defeat at Blue Square Bet Premier League side Darlington.

Promotion to the Blue Square Bet Conference South was a fitting achievement, but came only after a thrilling play-off victory at second placed Hednesford Town involving extra time and penalties.

Back in Conference South, the 2011/12 season produced a 10th place finish, but there was more excitement from a record breaking FA Cup run. An exciting Second Round Replay victory at Grimsby Town saw the club reach the Third Round for the first time in its history with a trip to League One Sheffield United ending in a 3-1 defeat at Bramall Lane after a very good performance.

The next season, the Whites led the table from September through to February in their bid to return to the top level after three years away, but an excellent run from Welling United saw the Londoners take over the top spot, and City eventually had to settle for the runners-up spot, facing the prospect of play offs for the second time in three seasons. After overcoming a first leg deficit to Chelmsford City in the semi final, a record crowd of 3,408 packed into the Ray Mac to see Salisbury defeat Dover Athletic 3-2 in the final to gain promotion.

The plans for the new season (2013/14) suffered a blow with the departure of Darrell Clarke, who accepted the Assistant Manager’s role at Bristol Rovers. The club promoted from within, making Mikey Harris the youngest manager in the club’s history.

Harris quickly appointed the experienced former Northern Ireland international Warren Feeney as his assistant, and the season was a success as the Club finished 12th in the league and reached the second round of the FA Cup for only the fourth time in their history, losing away 4-1 to Port Vale.

During the close season of 2014, Chairman William Harrison-Allan and his Board sold all of their shares to a new consortium comprising two businessmen. Unfortunately one of these (the main 98% shareholder) proved to be unable after all to take on the club's debts and the club was removed from the Conference for non-payment.

The Club then had no league to play in and this in turn breached the terms of the lease of the Raymond McEnhill Stadium. During the next few months there was a battle between the main shareholder and a new consortium trying to buy back the Club. After countless High Court dates, Salisbury City Football Club Limited was placed into administration on 18 September 2014, with Portland Business Recovery appointed joint administrators.

In December 2014 the administrators received bids from two consortia for the assets of Salisbury City F.C and on 4th December 2014, the administrators announced that a group of five (Steve Claridge, Jeremy Harwood, Graeme Mundy, David Phillips, and Ian Ridley) had bought the assets and that Claridge would also be the Manager of the new club.

The next stage of the process was to vote on the new name of the phoenix club, and just before Christmas 2014, the fans voted for the new name of the club Salisbury FC. In April 2015, the consortium signed a new lease to play at the Ray Mac Stadium and this meant that the new club could apply to the FA and compete in a league for the 2015 / 2016 Season.

On 28th April 2015, Salisbury FC played their first game as a new phoenix club against AFC Totton in a friendly, with 729 people turning up to watch a 2-2 draw. In May 2015, the FA placed Salisbury FC in the Wessex League Premier Division.