Atherstone

Atherstone Town Football Club is a football club based in Atherstone, Warwickshire, England.

They were officially established in 2004 after a previous club bearing the same name folded in 1979. They currently play in the Midland League Division One.

The original Atherstone Town club was formed in 1887, and after drifting between various local leagues, settled in the Birmingham Combination in 1911, where they remained until 1954. Prior to this the Adders had gained national recognition by reaching the semi-final of the FA Amateur Cup in both 1907 and 1909. After several decades of varying performance, the 1947–48 season saw the Adders claim the Birmingham Combination League and Cup double. In 1954 they stepped up to the Birmingham and District League (later renamed the West Midlands (Regional) League), where they were runners-up in 1972 and moved up to the Southern League. In their first season they gained promotion to the Premier Division, where their best position was third in 1973–74, but the club was forced into liquidation in the summer of 1979.

A group of local enthusiasts managed to fulfil the team's reserve fixtures in the West Midlands League under the name Atherstone United and then decided to continue under that name as a new club.

In 1982 the new club won promotion to the West Midlands (Regional) League Premier Division, followed in 1986–87 by winning the Premier Division title and promotion to the Southern League Midland Division. Two years later they were promoted again, to the Southern League Premier Division, where they finished as high as 4th. However, the end of the 1999–00 season saw Atherstone relegated for the first time in either incarnation. The situation at the club worsened and in September 2003 Atherstone United were put into liquidation. Again a group of supporters formed a new Atherstone Town club.

Players warm-up for the 2009 Southern League play-off semi-final vs Chasetown.

In their debut season the new Atherstone Town were accepted into the Midland Combination Division One, winning the league and promotion at the first attempt along with the President's Cup. In the 2005–06 season, they were the champions of the Midland Combination Premier Division and thus stepped up to the Midland Football Alliance. Further success in 2005–06 came in the Birmingham County FA Midweek Floodlit Cup and the Midland Combination Endsleigh Challenge Cup. In the 2007–08 season, the club won promotion again as champions of the Midland Football Alliance, the club's third promotion in four seasons. The first season in the Southern League Midland Division saw the Adders in the top three for most of the season. At the end they finished third behind champions Leamington and near neighbours Nuneaton Town. They made the play-offs, only to lose to Chasetown. They did however win the GX Southern League Cup for the first time after beating Bridgwater Town in the two legged final.

Due to financial problems, the club had to resign from the Southern League mid-way during the 2010–11 season. In 2011–12 they played in the Midland Football Alliance but were relegated at the end of the season to the Midland Combination Premier Division. The team were managed by Dale Belford, his assistant manager is Steve Hinks, Reserve team manager is Richard Smith and Youth Team manager Mark Grainger and first team coach is Wayne Chapman. However Belford moved back to Tamworth, and the club are now managed by Mark Grainger, who was joined later by Martin Sockett as a joint manager.

Disorder broke out at an FA Cup game against Barrow at Sheepy Road on 12 October 2013, when Atherstone fans invaded the pitch and were involved in clashes with visiting supporters. The following February when 29 Atherstone fans were charged in court for their conduct months earlier. In November 2015, those charged were sentenced to prison sentences for their violent behaviour.