This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Dorchester Town F.C." – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (October 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Dorchester Town
Full nameDorchester Town Football Club
Nickname(s)The Magpies
Founded1880
GroundThe Avenue Stadium, Dorchester
Capacity5,229 (710 seated)
ChairmanScott Symes
ManagerGlenn Howes
LeagueSouthern League Premier Division South
2020–21Southern League Premier Division South (season curtailed)
WebsiteClub website

Dorchester Town Football Club are a semi-professional football club, based in Dorchester, Dorset, England. They currently play in the Southern League Premier Division South.

The club is affiliated to the Dorset County Football Association and is a FA chartered Standard club.[1] They play at the Avenue Stadium, on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. They were founder members of the Conference South in 2004, which was the highest standard they have ever reached, but were relegated after ten years in 2014.

History

Founded in 1880, Dorchester Town were Dorset Senior Cup finalists in 1888 and 1890 before joining the Dorset League in 1896. Despite being founder members of the league, the club had little success before winning the championship in 1937/38 with a 2–0 victory at Sherborne on 25 April 1938.

The club joined the Western League in 1947, winning promotion from Division Two in 1950, and going on to take the league championship in 1954/55. The fifties proved to be a successful decade for the Magpies, winning the Dorset Senior Cup for the first time, and having a number of good runs in the FA Cup facing the likes of Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Port Vale and Plymouth Argyle. In 1954, Dorchester reached the 2nd Round before eventually losing out to York City in front of 5,500 fans at the old Avenue ground, in a season where York went on to reach the semi-finals.

Following four more victories in the Dorset Senior Cup, the club entered the Southern League (Division One South) in 1972. They first tasted success in this division when they finished runners-up to Margate in 1977/78, going unbeaten in the final 16 matches of the season, with manager David Best utilising his links with old club AFC Bournemouth to attract former first-teamers such as John O'Rourke, Jack Howarth and Harry Redknapp to the Avenue.

The formation of the Alliance League (now the Football Conference) unfortunately meant the Magpies ended up back in the reformed Southern Division a year later, but the club celebrated its centenary by winning the Southern Division in 1979/80 by a one-point margin over Aylesbury. Stuart Bell succeeded David Best as manager during the season, and the Magpies went unbeaten in the last 14 games to clinch the title. A young Trevor Senior impressed alongside ever-present top scorer Paul Thorne, whilst Graham Roberts joined neighbours Weymouth early in the campaign for £6,000 before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and England.

Senior stayed with Dorchester for a further two seasons, before signing for Portsmouth during the 1981/82 season for £35,000, going on to play for Watford, Middlesbrough and Reading, where he broke the Berkshire club's all-time goalscoring record. Before leaving the Magpies, Senior helped the club reach the 2nd Round of the FA Cup again before losing out to AFC Bournemouth in a replay at Dean Court in front of a crowd of 8,700. A goal four minutes from the end of extra time was enough to end Dorchester's dreams of a place in the third round – a feat they have still yet to achieve.

Relegated at the end of the 1983/84 season following a severe financial crisis, the club only just avoided dropping out of the league altogether the following year. However, a remarkable turnaround followed, and Dorchester returned to the Premier Division as champions at the end of the 1986/87 season, taking the title following a goalless draw at runners-up Ashford on the final day of the season.

The return to the top southern division has been a rollercoaster of emotions for Dorchester fans. Having been a mid-table team for a number of years, a brush with relegation came at the start of the nineties, and Stuart Morgan was introduced as manager in 1993. In his first full season, Morgan took the club to sixth in the league, followed by the sale of Darren Garner to Rotherham United for £30,000 during the summer.

The following seasons were a mixture of highs-and-lows, flirting with relegation on a number of occasions, facing Oxford United in the 1st Round of the FA Cup, reaching the last 16 of the FA Trophy for only the second time, and finishing fourth in the Premier Division in 1997/98.

Unfortunately in the following seasons, the Magpies were unable to rekindle the same form, and following a number of close-shaves at the wrong end of the table, the club were relegated to the Eastern Division at the end of the 2000/01 season, despite a strong FA Cup run culminating in a 3–1 First Round defeat at Wigan Athletic's 25,000 all-seater JJB Stadium.

Under the guidance of manager Mark Morris, Dorchester's young squad regained their Premier Division status within two years, defeating King's Lynn on the final day of the 2002/03 season to take the Eastern Division title ahead of Eastbourne Borough, having won 16 of their last 17 matches and scoring 114 goals in their 42 league games. A season earlier the Magpies had picked up the Southern League Cup for the first time, again defeating King's Lynn in a 4–0 aggregate victory in the final.

The first season back in the Premier Division was a difficult one but the club succeeded to reach the end-of-season play-offs, where two fine victories over Bath City and Tiverton Town saw Dorchester become a Conference club for the first time in the newly formed Conference South division. A season later the Magpies almost saw further play-off glory, but missed out on another promotion opportunity on the final day of the season, going down 7–3 at Bognor Regis Town.

A mid-table finish the following year ended with the resignation of Mark Morris – arguably the club's most successful manager in recent history – with Mick Jenkins taking charge of the first team. His reign, however, was short-lived. Despite the club's tenth success in the Dorset Senior Cup, the team narrowly avoided relegation by finishing 17th in the league, and Jenkins was sacked just a month later in the wake of Eddie Mitchell taking over the ownership of the club.

Mitchell's arrival at the helm saw former Dorchester midfielder Shaun Brooks installed as Director of Football, and the club announced it would be making the step up to full-time football ready for the 2007/08 season.

In September 2014, kitman Alex Legge, aged 38, died suddenly.[2]

Community ownership

The club is democratically run by its supporters. The club has converted the pitch to 3g opening the start of the 2018/2019 season. The stadium now also hosts Yeovil Town W.F.C. home games, community football and youth training. [3]

Colours and badge

The club have a long tradition of playing in black and white striped shirts with black shorts and socks at home. For the 2005–06 season, to celebrate the club's 125th anniversary the home club sported a black and white quartered shirt, similar to the original strip the club was founded in. The away kit is currently sky blue, with previous kits being red, yellow or white.

The club's current badge is circular, with the words 'Dorchester Town F.C.' and 'The Magpies' on a white outer rim, in black text. The central area contains two magpies on a brown branch in front of a sky blue background. Above them is a design based upon the town's Coat of arms, a purple circle containing a castle, upon which is a shield.

Stadium

Main article: Avenue Stadium

Dorchester Town play their home games at the Avenue Stadium, Weymouth Avenue, Dorchester, Dorset, DT1 2RY.

The Avenue Stadiumis located near to a branch of Tesco on the outskirts of Dorchester. Opened in 1990, it consists of one main stand, which is all-seated, and three small banks of terracing, which are all-standing. A railway line runs along the back of the stadium. Whilst the capacity of the stadium is 5,229, Dorchester tend to attract crowds of around 500–600, although, during the 1990s, the club regularly achieved 900–1000 strong attendances. The record attendance at the Avenue Stadium came in the 1999 season, in front of a crowd of 4,159.[4] At the start of the 2011/12 season, a sponsorship deal was announced with Greene King IPA, with the stadium being rebranded 'The Greene King IPA Community Stadium'. A recent F.A. Cup game against Plymouth Argyle attracted 3,196 fans to the Avenue. Dorchester beat their League neighbours 1–0 in a match which was televised live by ESPN in the UK and Fox Network in the USA.

Players and Personnel

First Team

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK England ENG Harry Lee (on loan from Exeter)
DF England ENG Callum Buckey
DF England ENG George Calverley
DF Brazil BRA Thiago Cazé da Silva
DF England ENG Sam Davidson
DF England ENG Oakley Hanger
DF England ENG Charlie Madden
DF England ENG Tiago Sa
DF England ENG Ashley Wells (Captain)
MF England ENG Charlie Gunson
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF England ENG Billy Lowes
MF England ENG Tom Purrington
MF England ENG Tom Soares
MF England ENG Billy Stedman
FW England ENG Sam Bayston
FW England ENG Alfie Stanley
FW England ENG Kieran Roberts

Under 23s

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK England ENG Josh Attwood
GK England ENG Bradley Smith
DF England ENG Connor Callow
DF England ENG Adam Heaton
DF England ENG Jake Mansley
DF England ENG Josh Phillips
DF England ENG Kriss Radivosja
DF England ENG Jack Steele
MF England ENG Brin Doyle
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF England ENG Ben Fowles
MF England ENG Ashley Guppy
MF England ENG Ben Hughes
MF England ENG Charlie Moors
MF England ENG Marcus Smith
MF England ENG Ben Symes
FW England ENG Ruben Smith
FW England ENG Kane Roberts

Under 18s

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK England ENG Max Loder
GK England ENG Harrison Wallis
DF England ENG Harry Dunlop
DF England ENG Sam Gadsby
DF England ENG Frankie Hodge
DF England ENG Tyler Jeff
DF England ENG Freddie Nicholson
DF England ENG Ethan Robinson
MF England ENG Jamie Hosking
No. Pos. Nation Player
MF England ENG Toby Mann
MF England ENG Fynley Morgan
MF England ENG Samuel Morgan
MF England ENG Charlie Pitt
MF England ENG Sam Swain
MF England ENG Todd Thornley
FW England ENG Josef Hodder
FW England ENG Tommy Jeff
FW England ENG Lewis Toms

Club Personnel

Position Staff
President England Keith Kellaway
Chairman England Scott Symes
Vice Chairman England David Martin
Directors England Jaime Cartwright
England Shaun Hearn
England Cameron Marett
England Luke Richards
Associate Directors England Sam Bernard
England Lee Loder
England Karen Symes
First Team Manager England Glenn Howes
Assistant Manager England James Wood
First Team Coach & U23 Manager England Brian Churchill
First Team Goalkeeping Coach England Steve Dodge
Kit Manager & Sports Therapist England Karl Lindsay
U23 Coach England John Cook
U23 Goalkeeping Coach England Dan Claxton
U18 Manager England Craig Robinson
U18 Coach England Darren Doyle
U18 Coach England Tony Swain
U18 Goalkeeping Coach England Paul Gadsby

Honours

Club records

Points in a season
Wins in a season
Draws in a season
Defeats in a season
The same number of drawn games occurred in the Western League Division Two, 1949–50, but the club played only 30 games.
Goals in a season

Notable former players

References

  1. ^ "Dorset CS Clubs". DorsetFA. Archived from the original on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2014-09-25.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Membership of Dorchester Town Football Club: Own Your Own Club". Archived from the original on 13 June 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  4. ^ History of Avenue Stadium Archived July 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Official Dorchester Town FC Website
  5. ^ "Western Football League Alan Young Cup Winners" (PDF). Western Football League. Retrieved 2013-01-07.[permanent dead link]