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Wealdstone FC - The Club

Wealdstone Football Club History

FORMATION
There were two Wealdstone Football Clubs in existence well back into the 19th century, but the present club was formed at the start of the 1899/1900 season.
They kicked off with a friendly on 7.10.1899. winning 6-1 at Northwood. Unfortunately, just 7 years later, the club closed down through lack of interest among both players and fans. They reformed in time for the 1908/9 season, enjoying a successful period before another closedown during WW1. which claimed the lives of many of its members. The club turned professional in 1971. They play in blue & white quarters and are nicknamed The Stones.
 
GROUNDS
Early grounds were at College Farm (1903-10) and Belmont Road (1910-22); then The Stones moved into the new Lower Mead Stadium in Station Road, Harrow. The main stand was purchased from Summerstown FC in 1928. At the end of 1990/1 season, they sadly had to sell their famous old ground to Tesco, and to make matters worse they received only a fraction of the sale price as the company handling the sale went into liquidation. In 1991/2 & '92/3 they shared Watford's Vicarage Road ground, but following a dispute and spiralling costs, moved in with Yeading at The Warren for their last two Southern League campaigns. In 1995, an agreement was signed with Edgware Town to share their White Lion Ground, resulting in improved crowds. Sadly it was a 6 day delay in receiving an 'A1 grading which cost the promotion earned on the field of play in 1999. After ten seasons sharing with Edgware Town at their White Lion Ground, Wealdstone decided to move on to pastures new for season 2005/6 and groundshared with Northwood FC at their ground in Northwood's Chestnut Avenue. Work had started in 2003 on building a new ground for the Club at the derelict Prince Edward Playing Fields in Canons Park, midway between Queensbury and Edgware, but events largely outside of the Club’s control had delayed completion of the project. In January 2008 these delays still showed no sign of ending and the opportunity for Wealdstone to take over the Grosvenor Vale site, then the home of Ruislip Manor FC, presented itself and was accepted. A consortium of senior members of Wealdstone FC acquired a majority shareholding in Ruislip Manor Sports and Social Club, the sports club that owned the lease to the football stadium and associated facilities across the 12 acre site. So the 2008/09 season saw Wealdstone have a ground and clubhouse they could call their own for the first time since 1991.
 
NATIONAL CUPS
In November 1949, wins over Edgware Town and Colchester United were the first 2 complete FA Cup ties to be televised live. Later that month they came up against League opponents in the 1st Round Proper, just losing 1-0 in front of 15,300 away to Port Vale. Their only 3rd round Proper appearance to date was in 1977/8, after recording wins over two league clubs: Hereford United and Reading, then being paired with 1st Division QPR. They faced a star studded side and 16,158 fans, and were not disgraced by the 4-0 defeat, Wealdstone's first match in this competition was a 3-0 home defeat by Page Green Old Boys in 1913, but have subsequently been frequent competitors in the 1st Round proper. The FA Amateur Cup was won in 1966, beating Hendon 3-1 in a Wembley final watched by 45,000, following a narrow 1-0 win over Alvechurch at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea in the semi-final. They were semi-finalists again in 1968, losing to Chesham United at Craven Cottage, Fulham. It was in a 4th Round replay v Leytonstone on 5.3.49 that Lower Mead hosted its record crowd of 13,504. A 2-1 win over Boston United secured the 1985 FA Trophy at Wembley in front of 20,775.
 
COUNTY CUPS
In 1913, as well as two league titles, the club also lifted the Middlesex Junior Cup. Wealdstone's first Middlesex Senior Cup win was in 1930, when they also added the Middlesex Charity Cup. The Senior Cup has also been won in 1938, '41/42. '43. '46, '59, '63, '64, '68, and the llth and most recent occasion in 1985. The ten further Charity Cup successes came in '31, 5 times running in '38-'42, '50, '64, '68, '81 and 2004, and the 3 wartime editions being known as the Middx Senior Red Cross Cup); 1968 and 1981 being shared with Wembley.
 
OTHER CUPS
In 1977/8. Wealdstone were one of the UK representatives in the Anglo-Italian Semi-Pro Tournament, beating Paganese but losing the other home game and both away ties, including a 1-0 reverse against eventual winners Udinese, who are now in Serie A. Winners of the Mithras Cup (1964). North-West Middlesex Invitation Cup ('58 & '60), Hitchin Centenary Cup (64 & 65).

 

LEAGUES
Wealdstone joined the Willesden & District League Division 2 in their first season, and moved to Division 1 a year later (through a merger of the divisions). In 1906, they became league champions but then folded, having a second stint in 1908-13. From 1911 to 1914, and again in 1919-20, they were members of the London League, being Div 2 runners-up in 1912 and winning it in 1913, in which season they also won the Willesden & District league Div 1. With their new ground, they were hopeful of a move into the Athenian league for 1922/3. but this was rejected, only for them to he accepted to the Spartan League, here they were Div 1 runners-up in 1923. However, they joined the Athenian League as replacements for Summerstown just 6 years later. In Oct 1946, part of a league game at Barnet was the first to he televised on the BBC, They were Athenian champions in 1952. and moved up to the Isthmian League in 1964. Upon turning pro' they moved to the Southern League in 1971, winning Division 1 South in 74 to commence 5 seasons in the Premier Division. Became one of the founder members of the Vauxhall Conference (then Alliance Premier League) in 1979. Relegated for the first time in their history in 1981. the club then swept the board in the Southern League in '82, winning the Merit (top scorers) Cup, League Cup (v Gloucester), South Division. overall Championship (on penalties v Nuneaton), and were awarded the Championship Match by default! With 8 of the same side, they achieved the first so-called Non-league Double, winning the Gola League (Conference) and the FA Trophy, in 1985. Sadly they were relegated to the Southern League Premier again in 1988, and then again in 1992 when they joined the South Division. In 1995, they were accepted to the Isthmian Ieague Division 3, just missing promotion in their first season but won that division just a year later. A nail biting finish to the Division 2 campaign a year later saw them secure a second successive promotion by finishing 3rd. They repeated this feat by finishing clear 3rd in Division 1 in 1999 but the club were barred from competing in the Premier Division owing to a ground grading technicality, a decision upheld even after appealing to the F.A. The next few seasons saw them flirt with relegation, but they survived and in 2002/3, the first season after reorganisation, finished in 9th place in Division 1 North. In 2003/4, The Stones came through a play-off by winning a penalty shoot-out at Dulwich Hamlet to achieve their place in the Premier Division for 2004/05. For season 2006/07, after playing 11 seasons in the Isthmian League, a further Football Association's reorganisation within non-league football saw the Stones return to playing in the Southern League. Another reorganisation saw the Stones return to the Isthmian League for the 2007/08 season.
 
RESERVE & YOUTH TEAMS
Wealdstone Reserves were Middlesex Intermediate Cup winners in 1948. They were members of the Middlesex Senior League in 1913-22, and were champions in '20 & '22. The Reserves were Suburban League members in 1971-3, 77-'82, & '90-1. winning the North Division in that last season before being forced to close down due to ground-sharing. Youth football was a feature of the club in the 70s, and this policy was restarted in recent times, with a Mini-League scheme and a range of sides at different ages
.
 
RECORD SCORES
Their league record win was by 16-2 v Hertford Town in the Spartan League (1926), and in 1923 they defeated 12th London Regiment (The Rangers) 22-0 in the FA Amateur Cup. both these games at Lower Mead. Conversely, their record defeat came in the London Senior Cup when they lost 14-0 to Edgware Town in Dec 1944. Claude Mason scored a club record 7 goals in the 12th Regiment game, equalled by Bob Tansley against Hertford.
 
NOTABLE PEOPLE
Stuart Pearce began as a junior and was sold to Coventry for £25,000, going on to play for Nottingham Forest, Newcastle, West Ham and England. This fee was equalled when Sean Norman went to Chesham. George Duck with is the all-time record goalscorer with 251 goals, Charlie Townsend has made the most number of appearances for the club with 514 and David Gipp (£15,000 from Barnet) their most expensive acquisition. Vinnie Jones (Wimbledon, Wales), Phil White (Orient, 1953), Tommy McGhee (Portsmouth, '54), John Ashworth (Portsmouth, '62), Colin Franks (Watford, 69), and Danny Bailey (Exeter) are among the players who progressed to the professional game, whilst the club has also been able to call on the managerial expertise of Brian Hall and Allen Batsford. Among the other 'double' winners were Alan & Neil Cordice and Andy Graham. In 2006 Jermaine Beckford, a product of the very successful youth scheme, was signed by Championship side, Leeds United for a fee of £70,000.