Witney Town FC • Club History
Witney in Oxfordshire, made world famous for its production of blankets, is a thriving market town and with over 22,000 residents it is the largest town in West Oxfordshire. The town of Witney dates backs to AD969 and gained its name from the Saxon term ‘Witan’ that meant King.
Witney United FC (WUFC) was formed by a group of Witney Town supporters following the demise of their beloved club. Intent on bring senior football back to the town the group registered Witney United FC with the Oxfordshire Football Association in 2001. For almost a year they had little else other than the name! There was no ground, team or manager. The club set itself a challenging business plan that targeted a return to Southern League football within 5 seasons. Finally after much hard work it all came together.
In 2002 WUFC gained a lease on the original Witney Town stadium and were accepted into Division One (West) of the Hellenic League. In their first year the Club struggled to attract local players and finally finished 15th in the Division.
The second season saw the club move forward finally finishing the season in 4th place and gaining a surprise, last minute, offer of promotion to the Premier Division. Under the management team of Alan Clark, Steve Paish and Spencer Keyes the team proved it could hold their own – finally finishing a creditable 11th out of 22.
The Club also competed, for the first time, in the F.A. Vase winning through the first three rounds – eventually losing to Deal Town away. Further success was achieved in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup where Witney finally fell to Oxford City in the semi-finals.
The 2005/06 season saw United enter the FA Cup for the first time where they were very unlucky to bow out after a replay against Southern League high-fliers Clevedon Town. The FA Vase brought similar disappointment as they went out to Truro City at the second hurdle.
In October 2005 Alan Clark resigned as 1st Team Manager and Spencer Keyes stepped up from Assistant Manager to replace him. Spencer’s first management move was to recruit Pete Lamont as his number 2. The side went from strength to strength and a top 6 finish was claimed on the very last day of the season to round off an excellent season.
United entered 2006/07 with a certain amount of optimism in their bid to bring Southern League football back to West Oxfordshire. A lack of consistency and too many draws saw them slip away from the leading pack and eventually finish 6th for the second season running. The club did however reach the Challenge Cup Final before losing 2-1 to Hungerford Town.
In the close season Keyes stood down as Manager and United moved quickly to appoint Andy Lyne. Lyner had two spells as manager at Witney Town in the nineties and his homecoming was well received by the fans who hoped he could work his magic for a third time at Marriotts Stadium. This saw United have their best ever season since formation finishing an excellent 4th place in the league and pushing the promotion contenders for long periods of the season.
The 2008-09 season saw United go one better finishing in 3rd place in one of the tightest title run-ins for years whilst also reaching the last 32 of the FA Vase. In 2009-2010 United again challenged for the title before finishing in 6th place. The 10-11 season saw a decline in the Club’s fortunes, both on and off the field, and they just escaped relegation ending up one place above the trap door.
June 2011 saw Tom Amer elected as Chairman, and with it the club reverted back to their historic name of Witney Town. On the field the problems continued though, this time finishing in the relegation places. Only Henley Town’s forced demotion ensured that Premier Division football would continue the following season.
The summer of 2012 saw possibly the Club’s most ambitious move yet, with the appointment of Justin Merritt as manager, along with an enviable back up staff of Justin Lee, Eddie Denton, Paul Davis and Andy Lyne. With a host of talented players signing forms in the close season it looks like better times are on the horizon for the new campaign.
Visit our website at witneyfootball.com for the latest updates about Witney and District Football Club!