Shrewsbury Town Football Club
May 1886 saw the official formation of Shrewsbury Town F.C. This club was not the local area’s first football team, since 1886 also saw the decline of the successful Castle Blues team. The Blues had a tough reputation, which eventually led to their demise, since violence on and off the field hindered any progress on the pitch.
Shrewsbury Town aimed to be as successful as the Castle Blues but without the notoriety. There is some confusion concerning the exact date and place of the club’s formation, with the Eddowes Shropshire Journal, published on the 26th of May, 1886, stating that the club was formed in the Lion Hotel, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury Chronicle, on the other hand, believed the club was created at the Turf Hotel, Claremont Hill, Shrewsbury.
1890 saw the creation of the Shropshire and District League, of which Shrewsbury Town were founding members. The club were later entered into the Birmingham League in 1895.
During these formative years, Shrewsbury Town did not have an official home ground, but in 1910 they started the search for one. Eventually, the team decided to acquire a piece of land on the edge of the town centre, known as Gay Meadow.
Shrewsbury’s time in the Birmingham League was largely uneventful, although they established themselves as a mid-table team. The 1922/1923 season proved to be a highlight, as the side won the league.
Success and the Football League
In 1937, Shrewsbury Town moved to the Midland Champions League. Their first season in this new league brought great success for the club, as they won the league with an impressive 111 goals scored.
They also won the Welsh Cup and enjoyed a good FA Cup run. The Shropshire Senior Cup was also added to their trophy cabinet. After winning the Midland League in 1950, they were entered into the old Division 3 (North) of the Football League.
Shrewsbury did well in this new league and were promoted to the Third Division in 1958. They stayed in this league for a total of 15 consecutive years, but failed to make a real impression.
Eventually, a run of inconsistent results led to the club’s relegation in 1974. However, the team were determined not to stay in the Fourth Division for long and they won promotion the following season.
1978/1979 was an extremely successful season for the club. They won the league under Ritchie Barker and Graham Turner and started to attract large crowds.
The FA Cup also brought excitement, as they famously beat Manchester City in the third round. Unfortunately, Wolverhampton Wanderers defeated Shrewsbury in the sixth round replay.
The Club’s Golden Era
The exciting FA Cup run of 1979 made Shrewsbury desperate for more success in the famous competition. The 1981/1982 season saw the team make a name for themselves as they beat one of the top teams in Europe, Ipswich Town, in the fifth round of the cup.
Leicester City awaited Shrewsbury in the quarter-final stage. Despite a spirited performance from the side, Leicester won by 5 goals to 2.
Most Shrewsbury Town fans still regard the 1980s as the club’s golden era. Second Division League wins over Newcastle United and Chelsea proved to be some of the highlights from this period with Middlesbrough suffering a similar fate towards the end of the 1985/1986 season. This victory ensured Shrewsbury were safe from relegation.
At the close of the 1988/1989 season, Shrewsbury Town were relegated, following a hugely disappointing season, which was marred by poor discipline at the club. Unfortunately, they were unable to make a speedy return to the Second Division and even failed to make a positive impression in the Third Division.
A lack of confidence and discipline in the side shockingly led to relegation to the Fourth Division in 1992. They spent two seasons in the Fourth Division and, under the leadership of Fred Davies, became champions of the new Division Three in 1994.
Shrewsbury failed to establish themselves in this league and were relegated once again in 1997. Fred Davies was subsequently sacked and club hero, Jake King, took over the position of manager.
The 1990s did bring some excitement for the club, though, as they made their first Wembley appearance, in the final of the Auto Windscreens Shield. Unfortunately, the team lost, with Rotherham United putting on a spirited performance.
November 1999 saw the sacking of Jake King, due to a run of poor results. Kevin Ratcliffe became manager and, under his influential leadership, the club miraculously managed to avoid relegation on the last day of the season.
Following this impressive start to his Shrewsbury managerial career, Ratcliffe radically altered the side, bringing in several young, exciting players, alongside some big names. The 2002/2003 season started well but, in typical Shrewsbury fashion, the team were plagued by inconsistency and remained in the bottom half of the league table.
Their poor league form was countered by their fortunes in the FA Cup. The third round set up an intriguing tie with Everton. Shrewsbury managed to shock everyone by beating a strong Everton side, which included Wayne Rooney.
Chelsea awaited the team in the fourth round and proved to be too strong for Shrewsbury, winning 4-0. However, the revenue generated from television coverage, as well as the excitement from beating Everton, meant that the Cup run would go down in the club’s history.
Poor league form continued, though, and Ratcliffe resigned, following angry demonstrations from the fans. Relegation proved to be an inevitability, and Jimmy Quinn was given the unenviable task of leading the club back to the Football League.
Shrewsbury responded well to this management change and finished the season in a play-off position. Barnet awaited the team in the semi-final of the play-offs and Shrewsbury eventually won on penalties. The team met Aldershot in the final and again won on penalties, with much of the praise going to goalkeeper, Scott Howie, who saved three penalties in a row.
Back in the League
The fans were optimistic that Shrewsbury’s Conference success would inspire them to further glory in the Football League. However, inconsistency struck once again, and Jimmy Quinn left after just 14 league games.
Gary Peters was chosen to replace him and was able to save the club from relegation. At the end of the 2005/2006 season, Peters led his team to a solid tenth place finish in League Two. 2006 also saw the club acquire a new home ground, New Meadow, although they did not move there immediately.
2006/2007 was plagued by inconsistency once again, but Shrewsbury managed an impressive 14 match unbeaten run, which saw them challenge for a play-off place at the end of the season.
An eventual seventh place finish set up a play-off match against Milton Keynes Dons. Shrewsbury proved too strong for the Dons and they looked forward to the League Two play-off final at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately, Bristol Rovers outplayed Shrewsbury and won 3-1.
In 2007, the club moved to their new ground, once again hopeful of promotion. Currently, Shrewsbury are in 11th place in League Two but will still be hoping for a play-off place.
Rowley is the Football League’s all-time top goal-scorer. He still holds all of the club’s goal-scoring records.
Brown has made the most appearances for the club, during three spells at Shrewsbury. He famously scored the goal which kept the club in the Football League in 2000.
Turner is Shrewsbury’s most successful manager to date. He won the Third Division Championship in 1979 and took the club into the Second Division for the first time in their history.
The club’s address is:
Shrewsbury Town Football Club
- You can phone the club on: 0871 811 8800
- Tickets can be bought from the Ticket Office Hotline: 01743 273943
- Tickets can be purchased online here
- The club have a Travel Plan on their website