top of page

CLUB

HISTORY

Learn more about our

history

Our History

Northallerton Town Football Club was founded in 1881, under the name of ‘Northallerton Football Club’, and the club’s first recorded trophy was ‘The Elliott Bowl’ in 1895 which was played in honour of local MP, Sir George William Elliott who was the inaugural president of the club. The club have played under several variations of this name throughout its history including, Northallerton Central, Northallerton Alliance as well as the original founding name.

 

Following the club's inception they primarily played within the local football scene competing in the likes of the Richmondshire League, the Allertonshire League, the Vale of Mowbray League and the Ripon and District League. The 1970’s brought a wider net of competitions with the club bouncing between the Teesside League, North Yorkshire League, Darlington and District League and the Harrogate and District League before finally settling in the then newly-formed Northern League Division Two in 1982 for the 1982/1983 season.

 

The Club’s first game in the Northern League was on August 28th 1982 when they were defeated 4-1 at Sunderland RCA (known as Ryhope CA at that time). A week later, Town gained revenge with a 2-0 home victory in the reverse fixture when RCA became the first Northern League visitors to Ainderby Road.

 

Early years in the Northern League were difficult for the club and would struggle within the second division for most of this time. One highlight was reaching the final of the North Riding County Cup in the 1983/84 season, unfortunately losing 2-1 to York Railway Institute. 

 

The appointment of former Burnley, Leeds United and Middlesbrough star Ray Hankin as manager in March 1989 saw an upturn in the club’s fortunes.

 

Hankin guided the club to promotion to the First Division for the first time in 1989/90 having finished runners-up in the Second Division behind champions, Murton.The following season saw the club consolidate itself in Division One. However, Hankin resigned at the end of the season and his number two Geoff Cane was appointed manager. 

 

Under Cane, the Club enjoyed great success in both the FA Trophy and the FA Cup - reaching the last sixteen in the FA Trophy in 1992/93 before going out to Farnborough of the Vauxhall Conference - and in the same season, they reached the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup before narrowly losing at Accrington Stanley. These achievements are still club records to this day. 

Major ground redevelopment was carried out during Cane’s tenure - a new grandstand with seating for 150 spectators was erected together with covered terracing for a further 400 spectators. The open ends behind both goals were also terraced, making the Ainderby Road ground the envy of many. The Club will always be grateful to Cane as without him most of this work would not have been completed. Unfortunately, off-the-field disagreements resulted in Cane leaving the club at the end of the 1992/93 season. Sadly Geoff passed away in 1995, aged only 46.

 

Town were now a force to be reckoned with in the Northern League and they won the Northern League Challenge Cup in 1993/94, when they beat Blyth Spartans 2-0 in the final. Unfortunately, this was to be the last game that Northallerton Town Football Club as it was would play.

 

Disaster struck during the summer of 1994, when the club was declared financially insolvent by the High Court and were ordered to close down. Had this happened during the previous playing season then there is no doubt that the club would have folded. Fortunately, there was still time before the new season started for a local businessman to come forward and rescue the club.

 

A new committee was formed and the club was able to kick off the 1994/95 season under the new name of ‘Northallerton F.C’. Still in the First Division of the Northern League, the opening game was Northallerton, League Cup winners, against Durham City, League Champions, in the annual Cleator Cup. After playing a 1-1 draw after extra time, Durham won the cup on penalties.

 

With further financial issues at the club there was a mass exodus of the team's playing staff, and many players from local football leagues were brought in. Although these players gave their all it was no surprise when they were relegated at the end of season 1994/95. 

 

During season 1995/96, the Club gradually got back on its feet, but after a poor opening the Committee corrected these financial issues and this paved the way for the club’s former players to return, resulting in the Club finishing in a respectable 5th place in the league.

 

During the summer of 1996 the Club was allowed to reinstate the name “Town” to once again become Northallerton Town Football Club. Under the joint guidance of the management duo of Mickey Sell and John Woods, they won promotion back to the First Division when they won the Second Division Championship. For personal reasons both Sell and Woods resigned as joint managers at the end of 1996/97 season. John Woods would take on the Assistant Manager role going forward.

 

After making a disastrous start to life back in the First Division (winning just 3 points from their opening 12 games) the Club appointed former Bristol Rovers, Middlesbrough, Carlisle United and Darlington star Archie Stephens as their manager. But they fared no better, and, after finishing second bottom, they were relegated back to the Second Division. Stephens, and his assistant Woods, left the club by mutual consent at the end of the season. 

 

Peter Mulcaster was appointed manager at the start of the 1998/99 season, and he guided the club to a commendable fourth place in the league. But in the February of his second season (1999/00), with the club lying in third place and one of the favourites for promotion, he surprised the club with his shock resignation in order to take the vacant manager’s job at Spennymoor United.  

 

He was replaced as manager by the experienced ex-Guisborough Town boss Micky Hodgson, but after failing to win promotion at the first attempt, Hodgson and his assistant Peter Bell left the club at the end of season 2000/01. 

 

Peter Mulcaster returned to take over for his second spell as team manager at the start of the 2001/02 season, but after two seasons in charge and failing to get the team promoted, it was mutually agreed that he should leave the club at the end of season 2002/03.

 

The very experienced former Whitby Town captain Paul Burton was appointed manager at the start of the 2003/04 season. Under Burton, Town regained First Division status when they finished runners-up in Division Two at the end of the 2005/06 season, where they also reached the final of the North Riding Senior Cup for the first time in their history - losing 3-1 to York City at Bootham Crescent. 

 

The following season (2006/07) they again reached the Senior Cup final - losing 5-0 to a strong Middlesbrough side at Billingham Synthonia. Burton surprised the club at the end of the season by handing in his resignation for what he claims were personal reasons. 

 

He was replaced by the vastly experienced Andy Toman, who lives in the Town, but he resigned after just one season. Toman was replaced by Alan Robinson, but on the eve of the season Robinson shocked the club with his resignation as he was going to start a new life in Thailand. 

 

Ex-Doncaster Rovers player Martin Speight and former Norton & Stockton Ancients manager Stuart Dawson - who were to have been Robinson’s assistants - were appointed as joint managers, but following a run of poor results, Dawson left the club in early January. 

 

Speight was then appointed sole manager but results failed to improve and, following the heavy 5-1 home defeat by Ashington at the end of March, he also resigned. 

 

Mark Fanning, who had been part of the coaching staff at Darlington FC, was appointed. Fanning guided the club to their first silverware in 18 years when they came from behind to beat Second Division champions Team Northumbria 3-2 in the final of the Ernest Armstrong Cup.

 

Fanning and his assistant Martin Collins resigned in March 2013 so Mulcaster returned to take over for a third time, initially until the end of the season. But following a good run of results which saw the club reach the final of the Ernest Armstrong Cup again, Mulcaster was offered the job on a permanent basis. Unfortunately Northallerton were beaten 3-1 in the final by West Allotment Celtic.

 

The 2014/15 Season saw 3 managers for Town. Peter Mulcaster started the season and saw a good start including an opening day 10 nil win away at Esh Winning. In October Peter resigned and assistant Danny Mellanby took over on a temporary basis. In November Stephen Skinner was appointed and kept Danny as his assistant, but it was only a matter of time before he was lured away to 1st division West Auckland, after he turned down their first approach for him.  This time we were happy that Danny Mellanby accepted the role of manager and appointed his good friend Dion Raitt as his assistant.

October 2015 saw Danny Mellanby resign as manager. 

 

Darren Trotter took over and brought in Richard ‘Faz’ Farrel as his assistant.  May 2016 saw Town beat Ryhope CW 2 nil to win the EA Cup for the 2nd time in 4 years. May 2017 saw Town retain the EA Cup beating 2nd division champions Stockton Town on penalties, and became the first team to win this trophy 3 times. The 2017/18 season saw Town miss out on promotion on the last day of the season but finished in their highest position for 9 years. In 2018/19 Town won the EA Cup for the fourth time and a 3rd place finish saw the club promoted back to Division 1 after 10 seasons in Division 2. 

 

After multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic years of curtailed seasons followed. Town lost Darren Trotter early into the 2021/22 season and he would be replaced by his assistant Richard Faz who would appoint local lad and ex-Player, Andy Ramsbottom and Micky Rae as joint Assistant Managers and another former player in Richard Walker as a coach. Faz and his side fought relegation for most of the season. However, an incredible run of form which culminated with a final-day victory against relegated Billingham Town saw Town finish secure safety.

 

Faz and his coaching staff stayed on for the 2022/23 season and would unfortunately not recapture the amazing form shown at the end of the previous season. It was another tricky campaign for the club with poor results leading to yet another relegation battle. Andy Ramsbottom left the coaching setup back in October for personal reasons before the Coaching staff later resigned on the back of a shock 5-3 North Riding Senior Cup defeat at the hands of South Park Rangers.

 

Senior players, Stephen Jackson and Dan Jones stepped in as interim managers and guided the club to 4 points from a possible 9 during their short tenure. Ex-Billingham Town and Thornaby Manager, Paul Edwards was hired and brought Steve Mazfari and ex-Town frontman, Ross Foreman in as Assistant Manager and Coach respectively. Safety would be secured on the final day of the season, with attitudes positive over a full season with the new coaching staff to come.

Unfortunately, a poor start to the 23/24 coupled with heavy defeats led to the mutual departure of 'Eddie' and his team. Former Town man, Jamie Tunstall took the reins in October 2023 and soon appointed another former player in the form of Mark Stephenson as his assistant.

bottom of page