Club's History

The first football club to bear the town’s name was formed on 28th January 1898 at a meeting held at the Cross Rifles public house on Bath Road. Bridgwater AFC entered the Somerset Senior League, playing at Sydenham House on Bath Road, and lifted the Somerset Senior Cup in their first full season, beating Yeovil Casuals 1-0 in the Final played at Wells. Unfortunately, the Club was forced to disband in 1901 due to lack of support and financial difficulties.

 

Two years later, another Bridgwater AFC was formed and played for ten years in local leagues from their base in the Westonzoyland Road area of the town. 1914 saw this club fold due to the outbreak of World War One. Unsure which of the two Bridgwater AFC’s this is? 1919 saw the birth of local works side Wills Athletic who played in local leagues from their Victoria Park home. In 1921 they changed their name to Bridgwater Town FC and moved to Chilton Park from where they played for ten further years, winning a few minor honors, until football came to an end in the town until after World War Two.

 

Crown Dynamos, based at the Crown Inn, St John Street, were formed in 1946 playing at Eastover Park. They played in the Bridgwater & District League for a year before progressing into the Somerset Senior League - finishing a creditable 3rd in 1948. That year also saw the Club move to a new venue, Castlefield and change its name to Bridgwater Town AFC. In season 1949/50 the Club were accepted into the Western League Division Two and two fifth place finishes were achieved in their first two seasons. This was followed up by claiming runners-up position in season 1951/52, thus gaining promotion to Division One. The Club were to remain in the top division of the Western League for the next 30 years, winning the Western League title twice, in seasons 1967/68 and 1980/81. Season 1982-83 saw the club make the bold move up to the Southern League Midland Division, but after only two seasons at the higher level, and with mounting debts, the club went into voluntary liquidation…. THE END OF AN ERA!

 

But like a phoenix from the ashes, Bridgwater Town (1984) FC was formed by a loyal band of club stalwarts and started life at a new home, Fairfax Park, in Division Two of the Somerset County League. Unfortunately, with a young and inexperienced side relegation followed at the end of their first season, but steady progression including a hat-trick of Somerset County League titles, the Western League Division One title and runners-up spot in the Western League Premier Division in season 2006/07 - behind Corsham Town, who couldn’t be promoted due to issues with their facilities - earned the club a place back in the Southern Football League, 23 years after the heartbreak caused by the demise of the old club. The first three seasons back at the higher level were fairly successful for ‘The Robins’ with the team just missing out on the end of season play-offs in 2007/08 (6th) and 2008/09 (7th) and missing out on promotion after being beaten at home by Cirencester Town after extra time in the Play-Off final in 2009/10 after finishing the regular season in 3rd place. Season 2008/09 also saw the team reach the Final of the Southern League Cup losing on aggregate to Atherstone Town.

 

However, the Club was left reeling with the departure of joint managers Craig Laird & Leigh Robinson and a mass exodus of players during the summer of 2010. Seasons 2010/11 and 2011/12 saw the club battling at the wrong end of the table under the leadership of former reserve team manager Rob Dray. Another club stalwart Kevin Milsom took charge for season 2012/13 and after an indifferent start, things looked to be coming together by Christmas. Then the wet weather caused all sorts of problems for the team who eventually had to play 21 league fixtures in just 57 days! They finished a disappointing 19th . In 2014/15 Bridgwater Town FC 1984 finished 12th in the Evo-Stik South & West League and were semi-finalists in the Somerset Premier Cup under the management of Richard Fey who moved on to Paulton Rovers at the start of the 2015/16 season.

 

2015/16 saw a new look team under the stewardship of former Taunton Town player and manager Paul West. Whilst the club languished nearer the foot of the table, relegation was never a real threat and Paul bought and brought through a fantastic crop of younger players in a bid to help shape the future and ethos of the club. Paul's resignation at the end of season 2015/16 paved the way for the return of former manager Craig Laird. At the start of 2017, after early exits in the FA Cup (Plymouth Parkway), FA Trophy (North Leigh) and with just two league victories, Craig chose to further his career in the Southern Premier League with Dorchester Town and was replaced in the role by Phil Hucker. With 6 games of the season remaining, Dave Pearse took charge but by then, relegation was a certainty, so Bridgwater Town began 2017/18 in the Toolstation Western League with Dave still in the role alongside former Barnstaple joint manager Karl Baggaley. A solid eighth place in the league along with good runs in the FA Cup and FA Vase and a narrow Les Phillips Cup semi-final defeat to Shepton Mallet was a strong return to Step 5 and a great platform for the club to kick on. Season 2018/19 saw the club remain under the stewardship of Dave and Karl. Fourth place in the league was achieved with the club only losing 5 league games (compared to 16 the season before).

 

Unfortunately, the cup competitions didn’t bring much success and the team were beaten by Cheddar in their first FA Cup game and by Exmouth Town at the first hurdle in the FA Vase. There was more semifinal heartbreak in the Les Phillips Cup, Willand this time winning a penalty shootout. Jack Taylor secured a share of the Toolstation League’s Golden Boot by netting 33 goals for the club. There is much optimism that season 2019/20 will see the team challenging on all fronts. Much of the squad has been retained and with some shrewd signings, it looks set to be an exciting season.

 

The Under 18s squad play in the South West Counties Youth League.

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© 2020 for Bridgwater Town FC & proudly created by Steve Laker