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|A Salisbury Football Club has existed since the late 19th century, the original Salisbury City Club playing in the Southern League Second
Division Between 1906 and 1911.
However, the present Club was formed on 12th February 1947, a natural successor to the old Salisbury City and Salisbury Corinthians Clubs who both disbanded in the difficult economic times following World War 2. Salisbury Football Club entered the Western League and enjoyed immediate success, winning its first 19 League matches, and thereafter the Second Division title. During that season, the Club’s record attendance of 8,902 flocked to Victoria Park, paying £290 in gate receipts, to witness the Championship decider, a 1-1 draw against Weymouth in April 1948.
Salisbury Football Club remained members of the Western League until 1968, and had great success, rarely finishing outside of the top six, and winning the championship in seasons 1957/58 and 1960/61. During this period the Club also won the Wiltshire Premier Shield six times, the Hampshire Senior Cup twice and the Western League Cup.
The first success of note in national competition came in the FA Amateur Cup in 1948/49. The team won through five qualifying rounds to reach the First Round Proper, and earned a trip to meet Wimbledon at Plough Lane where they were narrowly beaten 2-1.
Salisbury reached the FA Cup First Round for the first time in 1955/56, suffering a 3-2 defeat at Weymouth. Four seasons later, they went one better, beating Barnet before losing 1-0 in the Second Round at home to Newport County in front of 6,800 spectators. Further appearances in the First Round followed in 1964/65, losing 5-1 at Peterborough United in front of a crowd of 10,095, and 1967/68, losing 4-0 at Swindon (attendance 12,193).
In 1968 the Club was elected to the Southern League. Success was hard to come by, and apart from 3rd, 4th and 5th places in the mid 1970’s; the team never managed a top half finish in the first 15 years of membership. The only rewards were three more Wiltshire Premier Shield successes and another FA Cup First Round appearance, in 1979/80. The home tie with Millwall was switched to The Dell, Southampton, 8,805 seeing Salisbury unluckily beaten by two goals to one.
Success in the Southern League finally came in the1985/86 season. Salisbury finished runners up to Cambridge City, on goal difference only, after a tremendous run of 15 games unbeaten, including seven straight wins in 15 days at the season’s end.
Promotion to the Premier Division was assured although the stay was short lived as, despite a late run, Salisbury finished fourth from bottom and were relegated back to the Southern Division.
In 1992 the Club’s name was officially changed to Salisbury City, and later that year there was a sixth FA Cup First Round appearance, when the team suffered a penalty shoot-out defeat in a replay against Marlow Town. Further disappointments followed at the end of that season when the Club finished Southern Division runners up for the second time, but were denied promotion because of ground grading rules. Two years later justice was done when Salisbury City won the Southern Division Championship, losing only 5 league games out of 42. A club record of 97 points and a best-ever Southern League victory, 7-0 at runners up Baldock Town, capped a fine season. Remedial work at the Council-owned Victoria Park was carried out to satisfy the ground grading criteria and the Club was able to accept the challenge of Premier Division football.
In 1997, under the chairmanship of Salisbury-born businessman Ray Mc Enhill, Salisbury City FC finally realised its ambition and moved to a purpose built stadium at Old Sarum.
The Raymond McEnhill Stadium has a capacity at present of 3,740 with covered accommodation for 2,247 spectators. A then stadium record crowd of 2,570 saw the FA Cup First Round 2-0 defeat by Hull City in 1998. This was bettered twice in 2006 by further FA Cup ties - against Fleetwood Town in the first round proper, and then by Nottingham Forest in the second round.
The Club has won the Wiltshire Premier Shield a total of 13 times and was in the Southern Premier Division for seven successive seasons between 1995 and 2002.
A troubled couple of seasons off the field eventually led to the club parting company with long-serving manager Geoff Butler, who had been at the helm for more than 17 seasons. A humbling relegation followed and the club came within a whisker of being wound-up. However, thanks to a consortium led by one of the club's sponsors, Neville Beal, the club was saved and allowed to continue in the Southern League set up for the 2002/03 season. Beal, a former Salisbury player, was instrumental in attracting former Southampton star Nick Holmes, then resident in the USA, to take over as manager in July 2002.
In November 2003, the Whites reached the FA Cup First Round for the eighth time, losing to Sheffield Wednesday 4-0 at Hillsborough in front of 11,419 spectators.
In the 2003/2004 season, Salisbury City gained promotion from the Dr Martens Eastern Division after finishing sixth. The promotion meant that Salisbury City would transfer to the Isthmian Premier League, thus ending a 36- year membership of the Southern Football League.
2004/05 brought mixed fortunes for the club. A positive opening few weeks were followed by a poor sequence of results which, as well as seeing them exit the FA Cup at the fourth qualifying round stage (at Slough Town) also saw them slip down the table. Their fortunes improved when they pulled off a major transfer coup, persuading former Southampton player Tommy Widdrington to step out of the Football League with Port Vale to become player/coach. A lengthy unbeaten run left Whites well clear of relegation, and reflecting that had they not lost their way somewhat in the middle of the campaign, might well have been pushing for a play-off place. At least the building blocks now seemed in place to take the club forward.
The 2005/06 season proved one of the best in the club's history. They won the Southern League Premier Division by 12 points, securing promotion to the Conference South for the first time. They also enjoyed their best ever run in the FA Trophy, reaching the quarter-final stage defeating Conference side Canvey Island, Conference South outfit Newport County and Conference North club Stalybridge en route to their quarter-final at Exeter City where they went down 3-1.
2006/07 started positively with the Whites topping the table before an extended run in the FA Cup hampered their league form. Wins away at VTFC, Eastleigh and Fisher Athletic set up a first round proper home tie with Fleetwood Town. Their 3-0 success earned them a televised home second round tie with former European champions Nottingham Forest. A 1-1 draw in front of a capacity 3,100 gate and BBC's Match Of The Day cameras, set up a replay at the City Ground. The replay, which City lost 2-0, was also televised live on Sky Sports 1.
The club's impressive cup form continued in the FA Trophy, with wins against Enfield, Woking, Southport and Kettering Town again taking them into the quarter-finals. However they met their match against Conference outfit Stevenage Borough, who ultimately lifted the Trophy beating Kidderminster Harriers in the final, played at the new Wembley Stadium.
Salisbury's league form was severely rocked by numerous injuries and suspensions to key players. However, despite a number of poor results, they still closed their first season in the Conference South comfortably in the play-offs.
Whites reached the final after eventually seeing off the spirited challenge of Bishop's Stortford. Both legs of the two-legged tie ended in 1-1 draws, with Whites needing extra-time to ultimately take the contest 4-2 on aggregate.
They returned to Stevenage Borough (the scene of their FA Trophy exit) on Sunday, May 13 where an 84th minute goal by top goalscorer Matt Tubbs secured promotion to the Conference (to be known as the Blue Square Premier). It was Tubbs' 30th goal of the campaign and just days later the young striker was celebrating again after being named in the National Game XI's team which beat the Republic of Ireland. The striker crowned his debut in style, scoring one of England's goals in a 5-0 win.
Whites are now looking forward to their first ever season in the top flight of the non-league game.
|Nationwide Conference South|
|Runners up (2006/07 - won play-off final 1-0 v Braintree Town)
|Southern League||Southern Division Champions 1994/95, 2005/06
Southern Division Runners-Up 1985/86, 1992/93
|Western League||Champions 1957/58, 1960/61 Runners up 1958/59, 1959/60, 1961/62, 1967/68 Division 2 Champions 1947/48 League Cup Winners 1955/56 Allan Young Cup winners 1959/60, 1960/61, 1962/63|
|Wiltshire Premier Shield||Winners:1956/57,1959/60,1960/61,1961/62,1966/67, 1967/68,1970/71,1977/78,1978/79,1995/96,1998/99, 2000/01,2002/03|
|Hampshire Senior Cup||Winners 1961/62, 1963/64|
|Hospital Cup||Winners 1949/50, 1952/53, 1953/54, 1955/56, 1966/67, 1967/68, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1977/78, 2003/04|
|Western Counties Floodlight Cup||Winners 1982/83|
|FA Cup||2nd Round (proper)
1959-60 lost to Newport County at home 0-1 (Att 6,800)
2006-07 lost to Nottingham Forest away 0-2 in a replay (Att 6,177) after drawing 1-1 at home ( Att 3,100)
1st Round (proper)
1955-56 lost to Weymouth away 2-3. 1959-60 beat Barnet 1-0. 1964-65 lost to Peterborough United away 1-5 (Att 10,095). 1967-68 lost to Swindon Town away 0-4 (12,193). 1979-80 lost to Millwall (at The Dell, Southampton) 1-2 (Att 8,805). 1998-99 lost to Hull City at home 0-2 (Att 2,570). 2003-04 lost to Sheffield Wednesday away 0-4 (Att 11,419). 2006-07 beat Fleetwood Town at home 3-0 (Att 2,648)
|Record Attendance:||Victoria Park: 8,902 v Weymouth (Western League Division 2), 28th April 1948
Raymond McEnhill Stadium: 3,100 v Nottingham Forest(FA Cup Second Round Proper), Sunday, December 3, 2006
2005/06 lost to Exeter City away 1-3
2006-07 lost to Stevenage Borough away 0-3
|Record Victory:||Salisbury 11 RAF Colerne 1 (Western League Division 2), 30th April 1948|
|Record Defeat:||Salisbury 0 Minehead 7 (Southern League 1st Division South), 1974/75 season|
|Record Transfer Fee:||Paid - £15,000 to Bashley for Craig Davis, 2003.
Received - £20,000 from Forest Green Rovers for Adrian Randall, 1999
|Record Appearances:||Barry Fitch - 713|
|Record Goalscorer:||Royston Watts - 180|