- Fleet Town F.C.
Football club infobox
clubname = Fleet Town
fullname = Fleet Town Football Club
nickname = The Blues
ground = Calthorpe Park, Fleet
capacity = 2000 (250 seated)
chairman = Graham Smith
Isthmian League Division One South
season = 2007–08
position = Southern League
Division One South and West, 2nd (transferred)
pattern_la2= |pattern_b2= |pattern_ra2=
Fleet Town Football Club are a semi-professional football club based in Fleet in
England. They were established in 1890and joined the Athenian Leaguein 1979. In 2004, they joined the Isthmian League First Division, were moved into the Southern League Division One South & Westin 2007, then moved back to the Isthmian League in 2008. They have yet to reach the First Round Proper of the FA Cup. They play their home games at Calthorpe Park. They own a 250 seater stand. Fleet's manager is ex-England international Andy Sinton.
They also have a very successful reserve team who in the 2007/2008 season will compete in the Suburban League Premier Division after finishing runners up in Suburban Division 1 North last season.
This is fed by a youth team built up of the best local talent where players are usually playing district or county standard football outside of the club alongside others that have been released from full time academies. The youth team compete in the Southern Youth League.
They have reached the third qualifying round of the
FA Cupin seasons 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Although it is believed that a gentleman by the name of Edwin Edwards formed a football team in Fleet well before, Fleet Town F.C. was officially formed in 1890 when the club was simply called Fleet F.C. The centenary was celebrated in 1990 with a Centenary Scroll being presented by the Football Association and a commemorative plaque by the Hampshire F.A.
The club’s first ground was in Watson’s Meadow, which was roughly opposite where Travis Perkins now stands at the station end of the "High Street" – i.e. Fleet Road. In 1923 Lord Calthorpe of Elvetham Hall made available the site of the present ground and the club moved to its new home in March of that year. The ground was subsequently bequeathed to the council with the proviso that it would continue to be for the use of Fleet Football club. The ground was given the name Calthorpe Park and in 1963 the club became Fleet Town F.C.
From 1923 up until World War II, Fleet ran two Saturday teams and a Wednesday XI in the Aldershot and Basingstoke Leagues.
During the war the club competed in the War Emergency League before returning to the Aldershot and Basingstoke Leagues when hostilities ceased.
At this time Army teams in the Aldershot Senior League were very strong, fielding many professionals, because of the war and then National Service.
In 1953 the supporters club was formed, which was instrumental in the lying of the new pitch, the building of the Pavilion and the subsequent installation of floodlights – all this being carried out prior to 1990. The club entered the Hampshire League in 1961 and in 1963 were Division III champions with a victory in the very last game of the season. Promoted to Division I, Fleet more than held its own and it was no surprise when the league was won in 1966 and promotion to Division I was secured. Up until 1977 the Club was always in contention for honours without ever clinching the Division I championship.
In 1977 the Club entered the Athenian League but did not achieve great success and when the league was extended in 1984-1985, as the new ground requirements could not be met, Fleet moved into the Combined Counties for a time, followed by spells in the both the Surrey Premier and Chiltonian Leagues. This heralded a very poor spell in the Club’s history and had it not been for the arrival of a new Chairman who revitalised the Club and Committee there might not have been a Fleet Town F.C. today. Basic improvements to the ground and facilities followed and a tremendous step forward was made when the Club gained acceptance to the Wessex League.
During the summer of 1991 further considerable improvements were carried out with the clubhouse being completely refurbished, the pitch totally re-seeded, the floodlights upgraded and the perimeter of the ground fenced. The fire which totally destroyed the stand in the 1991-1992 season failed to dampen the enthusiasm which now prevailed and for 1992-1993 a new complex was built to include a 200 seat capacity stand, a toilet block with facilities for the disabled, turnstiles, in-ground refreshment facilities and an ambulance bay.
The Club’s most successful season was achieved in 1994-1995 when as Champions of the Wessex League they were promoted to the Southern League.
The following four seasons have seen the Club finish 19th, 20th, 13th and 18th, but considering the lack of support from the residents of Fleet and the surrounding area and the consequent small budget compared with certain other club's, then this has been no mean achievements. During the season 1997-1998 the Russell-Cotes Cup was won for the first time.
Unfortunately a fifth season in the Southern League saw club finish bottom. In the same season however, they lifted the Aldershot Senior Cup
The turn of the millennium however saw the club develop on the field and in 2001-02 they gained promotion from the Wessex back into the Southern League.
The next two seasons were again familiar as the club sought to stabilise itself at this level. Form and managers came and went and in 2003-04 a disappointing season saw Fleet Town FC finish bottom of the Southern League (Eastern Division) however by a stroke of good fortune the Non-League pyramid restructuring for 2004/05 season meant that the club retained their status at Step 4 to play in the Isthmian League.
A rollercoaster season ended with the club’s Division 1 status only assured on the very last day of the season as Fleet Town FC finished in 19th position. Off the pitch saw an extensive refurbishment of the Clubhouse and the links between the senior teams and the colts and girls teams becoming stronger than before.
A new era dawned at Fleet Town FC with the start of the 2005/06 season with a new management team of ex-England International Andy Sinton assisted by the experienced Steve Mellor in charge at the club. They certainly were an inspiration and ‘The Blues’ were in the running for a play-off place right up until the end of March where form suddenly dipped. That said the first team had their highest ever finish in non-league football (14th), crowds were up by 20%, the team went the furthest ever in the FA Cup (2nd Qualifying Round) and the season was concluded with a 2-0 success over Andover to win the Basingstoke Senior Cup for the first time. The strength in depth of the club was also demonstrated with the Reserves finishing 4th in their league and the Youth team reaching the Hampshire Youth Cup final against Eastleigh and finishing 3rd in their league.
Season 2006/07 brought a lot of optimism to the club as Andy and Steve moved into their second year as a management team. The squad was strengthened and the younger players were one year older and wiser and all of this showed on the pitch. The Blues were top of the table at Christmas and finally finished in 5th place to take a place in the play-offs against Tooting & Mitcham where they cruelly lost 2-1 to two injury time goals. The team also reached the final of the Hampshire Cup for the first time ever, losing 2-1 to Aldershot Town at AFC Bournemouth’s stadium. However cup success did arrive as Fleet Town won the Russell Cotes Cup (1-0 v Gosport Borough) although in the final game of the season they failed to retain the Basingstoke Cup losing 3-0 to Thatcham Town. So for the second year in succession history was made with not only the highest league placing ever but three cup finals. Add this to the Reserves gaining promotion to the Suburban Premier League, crowds up 30% and organisational improvements off the pitch and non-league football in North East Hampshire was buzzing as the Blues challenged Farnborough and Aldershot for press coverage and supporters for the first time in over twenty years.
Season 2007-08 sees the club move to another Step 4 league following further non-league realignment where they take up a place in the Southern League, South West Division, and seeks to build again on the previous year’s successes in a league with some old foes and this year is all about keeping that momentum going.
*Record Victory: 15-0 v Petersfield United,
26 December 1994
*Record Defeat: 0-7 v Bashley,
12 April 2004
*Record Attendance: 1336 AFC Wimbledon 8 January 2005
* [http://www.fleettownfc.co.uk Club website]
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