Kidsgrove Athletic FC 2000 (Est 1952)
Kidsgrove Athletic were formed in December 1952 purely for local men to play in the side. There was a team in Kidsgrove dating back to the nineteenth century which evolved into Kidsgrove United. A succession of managers brought ‘outsiders’ from the Potteries to play and it was felt that a local team should be formed.
A pitch was acquired down on the A50 when Kidsgrove played in the now defunct Burslem and Tunstall league and in 1961 the club took a year out to develop the land the present ground is on.
In 1963 the club joined the Staffs County league after winning both Burslem and Tunstall league’s. Three year’s later, the club had won the County league and the Staffs Challenge Cup. Some animosity was caused when the club left Staffordshire to join the Mid-Cheshire league where they became champions four times and challenge cup winners three times. During the seventies the club lifted several trophies as both the first and second teams enjoyed a successful spell and the club grew and grew. These successes included the Staffs FA Vase, the Challenge Cup once more and the prestigious Sentinel Cup which was won three times.
If the club had success on the field in the Seventies, it was the Eighties when the clubhouse and pitch developed. In 1989 the club had at last been accepted into the North West Counties League, having been rejected twice. In 1989 Kidsgrove became the first club to win the Staffs FA Vase twice and started their NWCL quest with a 1-0 defeat at Glossop. The club found it tough going at first but with ground criteria becoming more strict they found themselves promoted to the first division in 1992 having finished tenth in the second division a year earlier. Stoke City opened the floodlight era in 1992 but the demise of Eastwood Hanley strengthened the playing side in 1997 and the club became champions the following April as well as Challenge Cup winners beating Vauxhall in the final. The club also reached the semi-final of the FA Vase that year losing 3-2 on aggregate to Tiverton.
Four years later with more work carried, out the club became champions again and were promoted to the Unibond NPL. Once again it was a struggle and in 2004 the club found themselves bottom of the league.
The new structure then came into force and the club remained in the league which saved the club from being relegated for the first time in their history. The bonus that year was the lifting of the Staffs Senior Cup for the first time beating Stafford Rangers 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium. In 2004/05 the club finished a respectable tenth but won their first piece of Unibond silverware with an exciting 7-6 win over Woodley Sports in the Chairman's Cup final.
We also finished in our highest position of 10th in the Unibond League with (60) points. Season 2005/06 saw the team remain in the Unibond League though we were to drop to 17th position with (51) points. Season 2006/07 saw the “Grove” have our best ever run in the F.A. Cup and F.A. Trophy, as well as a good run in the Unibond League Cup winning away at both Alsager Town and Ilkeston Town, before going out, away again at Matlock Town. We were also to finish in our highest place in the clubs history of 8th in the Unibond League with (70) points. The Staffordshire Senior Cup was won for the second time in our history against last seasons winners Rushall Olympic with an outstanding (6-1) victory at Vale Park (Port Vale F.C.) On top of this we had the Unibond League leading scorer who hit an incredible (51) goals for the season. Kidsgrove Athletic also won the Unibond Fair Play award and a cheque for £1,000 at the end of season 2006/07.
During the season 2007/08 the team struggled on the pitch as some players left to join higher leagues. Despite some good performances, the team went on the longest losing streak in our history but towards the end of season some good results kept us well clear of relegation. We then had a bonus in reaching another Staffs Senior cup final at Vale Park but a dismal performance saw us lose 3-0 to Rocester.
The 2008/09 season was approached with cautious optimism. A new board was in place with stability for the club a key priority, whilst on the field only two players remained from the previous campaign. Despite some pleasing performances a youthful looking side found itself at the wrong end of the table for the first half of the campaign. Mid-season saw the arrival of a new assistant to Peter Ward plus a couple of what turned out to be important signings. By the end of the campaign the team had the momentum and were one of the form sides, easing comfortably away from what had threatened to be a relegation battle. In fact, such was the turnaround, the season ended all too soon for all concerned.
Before the season was to end there would be a night of celebration. We had once again reached the final of the Staffs Senior Cup at Vale Park and on this occasion would play Stafford Rangers FC. We would once again triumph after a competitive, free flowing game. 1-1 after full time and 2-2 after extra time the outcome would be decided by a tense penalty shoot-out, centre half, Tom Schwarz scoring the deciding and trophy winning penalty.
The 2009/10 season was eagerly anticipated by all and it proved to be an exciting and successful campaign. The club was to benefit from retaining the majority of the squad from the previous season, however there were several key additions that added both quality and experience to what still was a relatively young squad. Grove achieved our highest ever Unibond League position when heading the table on no less than three occasions, however the ‘enforced winter break’, due to the extreme weather that gripped the country, seemed to do us no favours. A strong finish to the season however, did put Grove into the play-offs where we were to lose by a 1-0 score line away to Glapwell FC. Grove once again lifted the Fair Play Award and in the prolific Dave Walker had the top goal scorer in the Unibond League.
The 2010/11 season promises to be a fantastic year of football and is eagerly awaited by all. The Evo-stik Division One South would appear to be a very strong division and one which should deliver a competitive and exciting season.