BRIEF PLAYING HISTORY OF THE CLUB
The Club was formed on the 24th April 1949 at the Owd’ Tower Inn in Radcliffe by Mr. Jack Pickford, the home ground being Ashworth Street, and they became members of the South East Lancashire Football League, where they won the South East Lancashire Shield and the Bury Amateur league parks cup. In the early fifties success also continued in 1950-51 winning the South East Lancashire Shield, League Division Two and the W Moore Champions Cup. The following season 1951-52 saw the club complete the double again winning the South East Lancashire league Division One and once again the South East Lancashire Shield. In 1952-53 the club won the W. Moore Champions Cup an achievement they also completed in 1954-55.
After a period in that league, the club moved to a new ground in Bright Street and on to the Manchester League where they won the Manchester Gylgryst cup in 1958-59 and 1960-61 before gaining access to the Lancashire Football Combination in 1963. In 1969-70 the club won the Lancashire Combination League Challenge Cup and the following season they were runners-up in the Lancashire Combination League. In 1970 the club moved to its present home Stainton Park and in 1972, over due success came winning the League Cup and finishing third in the league. Two years later, the Club applied, and were accepted into the non-league official status, the Cheshire League, which subsequently became the North West Counties Football League. In 1982 the first season of the new league (North West Counties) brought success, securing the Second Division championship, in front of a – still a club record – Stainton Park Crowd of 1,468.
After one season in the First Division, the club lifted the First Division championship, were runners-up in the challenge cup and also runners up in the League Shield and duly made the step up into the newly formed, Northern Premier League – now the Evo-Stik League – where they have since remained. After many years of consolidation in the league, and most of the times, fighting against relegation, season 1995-96 saw an upturn in the Club’s fortunes, on and off the pitch. In this season the Club, for the first time in its history, reached the last 16 of the prestigious F A. Umbro Trophy, narrowly losing to then Nationwide Conference side, Gateshead 2-1 in the final minutes of the game and from that match the club began to develop both off and on the pitch.
In the season 1996/1997 the ‘Boro’ team achieved its highest honour, in winning the UniBond First Division title by 2 points ahead of local rivals Leigh RMI. Unfortunately, the club’s stay in the `top flight’ lasted only one season, having sacrificed all our revenue on ground development, to allow us to be promoted. In 1997 -98 the club for the first time reached the Manchester Premier Cup Final losing to Glossop NE at Maine Road former home of Manchester City. Each year, since whilst in the first division, the club competed for promotion, finishing regularly in the top six, missing out on promotion in season 1999/2000 when a win at home against eventual champions Accrington Stanley would have seen us promoted again. After leading 2-0 with only 15 minutes to go, Accrington did the unthinkable and came back to win the game 3-2 and ‘Boro’ missed out on promotion for another season.
One of the clubs best achievements in its history to date was saved for the Millennium year, in which, for the first time, the club reached the first round of the AXA sponsored F A. Cup. Although the club lost 4-1 to Division Three side York City and played the game at Gigg Lane – the home of Bury FC – in front of a record crowd of 2,495 for a ‘Boro’ game, it was a fabulous day for everyone connected with the Club, a true measure of the progress the club was making in such a short time. In the season 2001/2002 ‘Boro’ again missed out on promotion when after leading the division until February a poor run to the end of the season, meant that the club entered the newly formed play-offs losing in the semi-final at Irongate, the home of Bamber Bridge.
Promotion was again achieved in the season 2002-2003 in what was a fantastic season for the ‘Boro’, despite missing out on the championship by two points to Alfreton Town, promotion was finally won thanks to the play-offs by beating North Ferriby United in the semi final and Chorley in the final at Stainton Park. The club also had a fantastic run in the FA Cup when they reached the 4th Qualifying round losing out to Conference giants Chester City in front of 1138 people at Stainton Park. Highlight of a terrific season was ‘Boro’ legend Jody Banim scoring 46 goals in what was an unbelievable season for both him and the club.
With ‘Boro’ back in the UniBond Premier Division and a place in the newly formed Conference North League up for grabs, in which the club had to finish in the top 13, by November ‘Boro’ were on course and as high as sixth in the league thanks to the 22 goals of Jody Banim who set an English record by scoring in 14 consecutive games however the club sold Banim to Conference promotion chasers Shrewsbury Town for a record fee of £20,000 in December 2003, and without his goals the club slid down the table eventually finishing 19th and into the newly formed play-offs for the remaining places for the Nationwide North. Having beaten Whitby Town away on penalties 8-7 in the quarter finals, the club bowed out at the next stage at home to Burscough in the semi-final.
After 2 years in the UniBond Premier Division the club were relegated in 2006-2007 after making the decision to provide funds for the development of facilities at the ground for future growth at the expense of funding the playing side. In 2007-2008, the club made a poor start to the league and were bottom of the league in December without a league win. The second half of the season was much better and the club reached two cup finals for the first time in 10 years. Losing the UniBond Presidents Cup 2-0 to FC United of Manchester and winning their first silverware since 2003 when they defeated Hyde United 2-1 to life the Manchester Premier Cup. In 2008-2009 the ‘Boro’ competed in their third final in two seasons this time reaching the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup – the first time the club had reached the final – losing to Skelmersdale in the last minute of extra time.
Over the years, many former league players have appeared for the ‘Boro’ in a league game, names such as Frank Worthington, Alan Kennedy, Peter Barnes, Len Cantello, Ian Bishop, and many more, all enhancing the Club’s reputation. In recent times we have gained a reputation for producing, developing and selling players and seeing them progress in most cases progress to higher levels of football earning the club much needed funds, players such as Paul Mullin, Neil Hardy, Jody Banim, Richard Battersby, Ciaran Kilheeney, Steve Foster, Danny Hurst to name just a number of the players from an extended list who have all moved on in the past ten years.
The biggest player to go on to better things from Stainton Park is Craig Dawson who signed for The Boro in 2007 from local football as a 17 year old. He spent two years at The Boro playing 95 games and scoring 15 goals before moving to his home town club Rochdale AFC. From there he gained promotion with Dale and moved to Premier League side West Bromich Albion gaining England U21 recognition in the process and playing in the 2012 London Olympics for Great Britain.
FOOTBALL IN THE COMMUNITY
In 2003, the club made a major decision to start their own Football in the Community Scheme. The initial 3 year scheme was in conjunction with the Bury MBC as partners and the after this partnership ended the club funded this scheme in-house and purely through club funding, the scheme has been an enormous success under the guidance of FITC Officer Peter Lofthouse and has enhanced the clubs motto ‘More Than Just a Football Club’. The scheme involves activities such as; in school coaching, after school coaching, soccer schools, birthday parties, school matchday visits, Saturday morning clubs, mini tots coaching, junior tournaments and many more one off initiatives.
Over the years the club have invested in creating facilities for all the community to use and it has seen close to £500.000 invested in the club. Off the field we are recognised as a club building for the future and in this area has made more progress than many other non-league clubs. With the help of grants from the Football Association, Football Foundation, Lottery Sports Fund, Club Funds and personal investments, the club have so far been able to provide the following: 2 Floodlit all weather 3G pitches, the building of a new changing room complex for the whole community, the building of a new sports clinic, an upgrade in the terracing with a new terrace section, new car parking space, the purchase of the social club & refurbishment of the building, the building of a new sponsors lounge, a new 350-seated stand and six brand new conference standard floodlights. These along with many, many smaller projects, show you why the Club’s reputation has grown and we now have one of the best non-league grounds at our level.