Welling United

Welling United Football Club is a professional association football club, based in Welling in the London Borough of Bexley, England. The club's first team play in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football.

Welling United Football Club was founded in 1963. It began as a youth team, playing in the Eltham & District Sunday League on a park pitch from 1963–64 to 1970–71. From 1971–72 to 1974–75, it played in the Metropolitan-London League Intermediate/Reserves Division. In 1975–76 it played in the London Spartan League Reserve Division One. It gained senior status in the London Spartan League in 1976, at Butterfly Lane, Eltham. It finished sixth in Division 2 in 1976–77 and was promoted to the Premier Division. In 1977 Welling moved to the Park View Road ground, which had previously belonged to the then defunct Bexley United. It joined the Athenian League in 1978. In 1981 it progressed to the Southern Football League Southern Division.

After just one season at this level the club found itself in the Southern League Premier Division after the league was re-organised. In 1985–86 it won the league title by 23 points and were promoted to the Football Conference.

Although it struggled in the Conference, only twice finishing above 11th place in 14 seasons, it did enjoy cup success during this period, reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup in six successive seasons, on one occasion knocking out Kent's only Football League side, Gillingham. It also made one third round appearance, losing 1–0 at Park View Road to Blackburn Rovers.

The club was relegated in 1999–2000 and returned to the Southern League.

In the 2003–04 season, under the management of former England World Cup player Paul Parker, the Wings finished in the top half of the Southern League Premier Division and was therefore able to claim a place in the newly formed Conference South. In that season, Parker left the club by mutual consent.

Welling playing Millwall in a pre-season friendly at Park View Road.

Former Coventry City and Republic of Ireland player Liam Daish took charge of the team on a caretaker basis before the permanent position was handed to former Norwich City and Gillingham defender Adrian Pennock, who narrowly missed out on taking the club into the promotion play-offs. Pennock left the club at the end of the 2006–07 season. His last game managing the Wings finished in a 1–1 draw at home to Hayes. Pennock joined Stoke City in a coaching position under his former Gillingham manager, Tony Pulis.

On 16 May 2007, Welling United appointed Neil Smith as the new first team manager. However, after only seven months in charge Smith parted company with the club on 7 January 2008. It was mutually agreed between the club and Smith that his reign as Wings boss would end.

Andy Ford was appointed the new manager of the Wings on 31 January 2008. Despite losing 6–2 to Cambridge City in his first game in charge, Ford guided the Wings to safety and they eventually finished 16th. Welling finished 7th in the Conference South in 2008/09 under the guidance of Ford. After a poor start to the 2009–10 season Ford resigned stating he didn't think he could achieve what he wanted on the current budget. Jamie Day was announced as the new player/manager in November 2009.

On 12 August 2010, the club was served with a winding-up petition by HMRC, due for a hearing later that month. The Wings were given 14 weeks to pay the outstanding debt to the HMRC, and thanks almost entirely to the supporters were able to raise £60,000 to clear all monies owed. During this period, in a Football Conference Hearing on 16 September 2010, Welling United admitted to a misconduct charge in connection with the outstanding HMRC debt. Resultantly an immediate deduction of 5 points was enforced on the club together with a suspended £5,000 fine.

Despite the Wings having a transfer embargo enforced upon them and also being deducted 5 points by the Football Conference, all within four weeks of the start of 2010–11 season, Jamie Day's side were competitively competing for the Conference South title. However, even though Welling United were in the top 5 for almost half of the season, a string of poor results in the final month of the campaign saw the Wings miss out on a play-off place by one point, with a final position of 6th.

Former player manager Jamie Day with the Conference South trophy after winning the title in 2013

The 2011–12 season ended with Welling in 3rd place and after defeating Sutton United 2–1 on aggregate in the play-off semi-finals they narrowly missed promotion in the final, going down 0–1 to Dartford at Princes Park.

Welling made a return to the top level of non-league football the following season after clinching the Conference South title, 13 years after they last played at the fifth tier of English football. Between 3 November and 5 February, Welling also broke the league's record for consecutive wins with 12 in a row.

In December 2014 Jamie Day left Welling by mutual consent. He was replaced by Jake Gallagher and Jamie Turner as caretakers, but on 21 December it was announced that Jody Brown of Grays Athletic would become manager. On 3 March 2015, Jody Brown was relieved of his duties after just one point in his first nine games. Right back Loui Fazakerley was put in charge for "the foreseeable future".

Welling's first televised home match was played on 8 March 2015 in front of the BT Sport cameras losing 1–0 to Altrincham.

Following an impressive run of results, Fazakerley steered The Wings out of the relegation zone and to Conference Premier safety on goal difference above Alfreton Town. Fazakerley was appointed on a full-time basis the same week.

On 25 January 2016 Loui Fazakerley was sacked after 10 months in charge, with the club in the National League relegation zone and was replaced with former first team coach under Jamie Day, Dean Frost and Barry Ashby as assistant manager. Jamie Turner also came back as goalkeeping coach.

Frost's first match in charge was away against FC Halifax Town and finished 1–1, Welling's first goal and point at The Shay.