BRIEF PLAYING HISTORY OF THE CLUB
The Club was formed on 24th April 1949 at the Owd’ Tower Inn in Radcliffe by Mr Jack Pickford, the home ground being Ashworth Street. They became members of the South East Lancashire Football League where they won the South East Lancashire Shield and the Bury Amateur League’s Parks Cup. In 1950-51 they again won the South East Lancashire Shield plus the League Division Two title and the W Moore Champions Cup. The following season 1951-52 saw the Club complete the double, again winning the South East Lancashire Shield, together with the Division One title. In 1952-53 the Club won the W Moore Champions Cup, which they also achieved in 1954-55.
After a period in the South East Lancashire League the Club transferred to the Manchester League and also to a new ground in Bright Street. Success was limited to the Manchester Gylgryst Cup, which they won in season 1958-59 and 1960-61. In 1963 the Club joined the Lancashire Combination. In 1969-70 the Club won the Lancashire Combination League Challenge Cup and the following season were runners-up in the Lancashire Combination League. In 1970 the Club moved to it’s present home at Stainton Park and in 1972 overdue success came winning the League Cup and a third place finish in the League. Two years later the Club applied and were accepted in to The Cheshire League, their first foray in to Semi-professional football. The Cheshire League and Lancashire Combination merged in 1982 to form the North West Counties League and in the first season of the new league Radcliffe secured the Second Division Championship and in the process secured it, beating Caernarfon Town in front of a still record Stainton Park crowd of 1,468.
After one season in the First Division, the Club lifted the First Division Championship, were Runners-up in the Challenge Cup and also the League Shield. In 1987-88 they were accepted in to the newly formed Northern Premier League Division One. After several seasons of finishing in respectable mid-table positions, season 1995-96 saw an upturn in the Club’s fortunes both on and off the pitch.For the first time in it’s history the Club reached the last 16 of the prestigious FA Umbro Trophy narrowly losing to the then Conference side Gateshead 2-1 in the final minute of the game. In 1996-97 the Club won it’s highest honour in winning the Unibond First Division title by 2 points from their local rivals Leigh RMI. Unfortunately the Club’s stay in the Premier Division lasted just one season, having sacrificed the playing side for ground development to ensure promotion. In 1997-98 the Club reached the Manchester Premier Cup Final disappointedly losing to Glossop North End at the then home of Manchester City, Maine Road. For several seasons after the Club finished in respectable positions and just missed out on promotion in season 1999-2000 when a win at home against eventual champions Accrington Stanley would have seen the Club promoted again. After leading 2-0 with just fifteen minutes to go, Accrington managed the unthinkable and came back to win the game 3-2 and promotion was lost.
One of the Club’s best achievements in it’s history to date was saved for the Millenium Year when, for the first time in the Club’s history, Radcliffe reached the First Round Proper of the AXA sponsored FA Cup. The game against York City was played at Gigg Lane, home of Bury FC, and although the Club lost 4-1 in front of a record crowd of 2,495 for a Boro game, it was a fabulous day for everyone connected with the Club and was a true measure of the progress the Club was making. In season 2001-02 Radcliffe again missed out on promotion when after leading the Division until mid February a poor run to the end of the season meant that the Club were involved in the newly instituted Play-Offs, which they subsequently lost to Bamber Bridge in the Semi Final at Irongate.
Promotion was again achieved in 2002-03 in what was a fantastic season for the Boro despite missing out on the Championship by two points from Alfreton Town, the eventual champions. Promotion was achieved through the Play-offs beating North Ferriby United in the semi final and Chorley in the final at Stainton Park. The Club also had a fantastic run in the FA Cup when they reached the 4th Qualifying Round losing out to Conference side Chester City in front of an excellent crowd of 1,138 at Stainton Park. Another highlight of that season was the performance of Jody Banim, who scored 46 goals in what was an unbelievable achievement for both him and the Club. With Boro back in the Unibond Premier Division and a place up for grabs in the newly formed Conference North the Boro needed to finish in the Top 13. By November Radcliffe were on course to do this and were as high as sixth in the league thanks to the 22 goals from Jody Banim, who set an English record by scoring in 14 consecutive games, a record that still stands. However, the Club sold Jody to Conference promotion chasers Shrewsbury Town in December 2003 for a record fee received by the Club of £20,000. Without his goals Radcliffe slid down the table and eventually finished 19th and entered the Play-offs for the remaining places for Conference North. Having beaten Whitby Town away on penalties 8-7 in the quarter finals, the Club then bowed out at the next stage, losing at home to Burscough in the semi final.
After two seasons in the Premier League the Club were relegated in 2006-07 after making the decision to provide funds for the development of facilities at the ground for future growth at the expense of funding the playing side. In 2007-08 the Club made a disastrous start to the league and were bottom in December without one league win. The second half of the season was much better, relegation was avoided and the Club reached two cup finals for the first time in 10 years. In the first final, the Unibond Presidents Cup Final the Boro lost 2-0 to FC United of Manchester but fared better in the Manchester Premier Cup Final where they defeated Hyde United 2-1 to win their first silverware since 2003. In 2008-09 Radcliffe competed in their tird final in two seasons when they reached the final of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy. The final was held at the County Ground in Leyland but in their first ever appearance in the final of this competition they lost to Skelmersdale United in the last minute of extra time of a thrilling game. The last four seasons has seen the Club finish 10th, 18th , 15th and 18th , never in danger of being relegated but at the same time never challenging for promotion.
The opening game of the 2014/15 season against Brighouse Town brought the shock resignation of long serving Manager/Director of football Kevin Glendon with Paul McGuire taking over. Kevin had been manager/director of football of Radcliffe Borough FC since 1990 when he took over as player manager. Kevin appeared on the team sheet over 200 times in 12 seasons, the last being a win at Gretna in October 2001 (when he chose to leave himself on the bench).
In the 25 years that Kevin was in charge of team/club affairs he together with Bernard Manning developed the ground and had a major part in the building of the sports complex, new changing room block and a new stand.
Kevin also gained a reputation for producing, developing and selling young players, seeing them progress and in most cases progressing to higher level clubs earning the Club much needed revenue. Players such as Paul Mullin, Neil Hardy, Jody Banim, Richard Battersby, Ciaran Kilheeney, Steve Foster, Danny Hurst and most recently Craig Dawson. His teams Won NPL Division one title (1997), Got to the first round of the FA Cup v York City(2000), Won NPL division one play of final (2003), Won Manchester premier cup (2008), Finalists Presidents Cup (2008) and Finalists Lancashire Trophy (2009).
In January 2015 managerial changes during the season saw the arrival of former Trafford, Ashton United and Nantwich Town boss Danny Johnson, who stepped in just hours before the Manchester Cup semi-final, which was narrowly lost to Curzon Ashton. A good run towards the end of the season saw Danny and his management team avoid relegation with ten points to spare.
2016 saw a new Chairman and a New Management team in place at the club. Paul Hilton took over as chairman, and Bill Pendergast was appointed as manager. Pre-season was a blistering start for Boro, a brand new look team where only 2 players remained. Jack Hindle became club captain and Elliot Rokka had an excellent season. Pre-season Boro looked like they may compete once again for honours. Blistering pace down the wings and strength upfront causing issues for teams including a 4-0 demolition of Bury in pre-season. But the season started off slowly. Two defeats at the start was not what was expected but progress in the FA Cup was assured after an extraordinary 4-4 draw with Droylsden. Boro won the replay 2-1 at the newly-named Taurus Park. Boro exited the FA Cup in the next round after a thrilling 5-3 defeat at home to Spennymoor. League form started to pick up including a 5-1 win over Goole, excellent performances from Raul Correia after a 4-0 demolition of Hyde soon had the scouts visiting Radcliffe.
December saw a fire destroy the press box and PA room damaging part of the stand, two days before a Lancashire Cup Quarter-Final against West Didsbury & Chorlton. The clean-up operation began the day of the game and went ahead thanks to the fantastic help from the people of Radcliffe as well as supporters. 297 supporters arrived to support the club that night and saw Boro progress on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Boro got their first win of the month after Jack Hindle scored in the last minute on Boxing Day in a 2-1 win against Ramsbottom. Raul Corriea was sold to Blackpool in the January transfer window for an undisclosed fee. After a 2-1 defeat at Mossley Bill Pendergast was replaced by Joe Gibbons as interim manager which was eventually made permeant in the summer. Gibbons tenure as Boro manager got off to the perfect start, with a fine 4-2 win at Glossop including goal of the season from Elliot Rokka as Boro's first win in two months. Boro started picking up points and climbed away from danger, and for the very first time, finally won a match at Leyland to reach the Lancashire Cup Final. Boro beat Clitheroe 2-1 in a tense semi-final and made it to the Macron Stadium in Bolton.
Boro reached the cup final and faced Ashton Athletic of the North West Counties. Boro took the lead through Hindle in the second half and looked to be getting their hands on silverware. But Ashton equalised and won the game cruelly in added time after a slip in defence allowed the winner to deny Boro a first trophy since 2008.
The season finished with a bit of a downward curve. A poor run since the cup final dropped Boro from 13th down to finish in 20th. Joe Gibbons was appointed manager and optimism once again gripped the club. Player of the Year Elliot Rokka left to join Tranmere Rovers. Again showing the commitment of the club to develop young talent on to higher levels of the game.
In May 2017 the club announced that the club's name will change to Radcliffe Football Club, dropping the Borough from its title after 68 years. Complete with a new badge and image which still has Boro as its nickname. The name change was ratified by the Football Association for the 2018–19 season.
Over the years many former League players nave appeared for the Boro – players such as Frank Worthington, Alan Kennedy, Peter Barnes, Len Cantello Ian Bishop and many more, each of them enhancing the Club’s reputation.
FOOTBALL IN THE COMMUNITY
In 2003 the Club made a major decision to start their own Football in the Community scheme. The initial three year scheme was in conjunction with Bury MBC as partners. After this partnership ended the Club funded the scheme in-house and as a result of this funding the scheme has been an enormous success under the guidance of Community Officer Peter Lofthouse and has further enhanced the Club’s motto “ More than just a Football Club”.
The scheme involves activities such as In school coaching, after school coaching, soccer schools, birthday parties, schoolday match visits, Saturday morning clubs, mini-tots coaching, junior tournaments and many more one off initiatives.
For many years the Club has invested in creating facilities for the whole community to use and has seen close to £500,000 invested in the Club. Off the field we are recognised as a Club building for the future and in this area has made more progress than many other Non-league clubs. With the help of grants from the Football Association, Football Foundation , Lottery Sports Fund, Club funds and personal investment, the Club have so far been able to provide the following initiatives :- Two floodlit all weather 3G pitches, the building of a new Changing Room Complex also for the use of the Community, the building of a new Sports Clinic, an upgrade to the terracing with a new terrace section, new car parking space, purchase of the social club and refurbishment of the club premises, the building of a new sponsors lounge, a new 350 seated stand and six brand new Conference standard floodlights. These, together with other smaller but just as important projects, have shown why the Club’s reputation has grown.
FRIENDS OF THE BORO
Supporters have been active in fund raising at many stages in the Club’s history, but with a change of approach needed a new group, the “Friends of the Boro”, was put in place in October 2014 to work with club management in raising funds to support the team. This has brought new ideas and enthusiasm to enable the Club to look forward to more successes in the future.