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Analysing The Stories Of Phoenix Clubs

Publish Date:16/02/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland

With the riches of the Premier League more prevalent than ever, clubs in the non-league scene are often forgotten about, with more and more dissolving and re-forming as phoenix clubs.  A phoenix club simply put is a 'sports team formed as a successor to a defunct club'. In this article we will assess the fortunes of some modern-day phoenix clubs.

AFC Wimbledon

Perhaps the most prominently known phoenix club is AFC Wimbledon.

Founded in 2002 by disgruntled Wimbledon FC fans following the club's controversial relocation to Milton Keynes-60 miles north of Wimbledon, AFC Wimbledon have enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks.

Following its formation, AFC Wimbledon joined the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League, the ninth division of English football, and became affiliated with both the Surrey and London Football Associations. Since then, the team has been promoted six times in thirteen seasons, from the ninth division (Combined Counties Premier) to the third division (League One). The Wombles currently play in League 2.

AFC Wimbledon holds the record for the longest league winning streak in English senior football history. From February 2003 to December 2004, the team played 78 straight league games without suffering a loss. They are also the first club to be admitted into the Football League that was founded in the 21st century.

 Hereford

Hereford were founded in 2014 as a phoenix club for Hereford United, and inherited their Edgar Street stadium. The new club were placed into the Midland Football League for the 2015/16 season.

The team broke several attendance records that first season as supporters flocked to Edgar Street to support the Bulls. The team went on to win both the league and the cup, and they concluded the season by bringing 21,000 fans to Wembley to watch the FA Vase final.

Continuing their winning streak, The Bulls finished the next season with an incredible 107 points, winning the Southern League South & West Championship.

They won the Southern League Premier title and accomplished a hat-trick of promotions in 2017–18, allowing them to join the National League for the first time since its re-formation. Since then, the club have been stuck in the National League North, while also losing in the 2021 FA Trophy final.

FC United

Fc United were formed in 2015 by fans of Manchester United who had become disillusioned with the club, due to the takeover by the Glazers family.

After joining the North West Counties Football League's Division Two, F.C. United gained three straight promotions, and during the 2015–16 season, they received a fourth promotion—this time to National League North. However, they were relegated to the Northern Premier Division once again in 2019.

They currently play at Broadhurst Park and sit just outside the playoff spots in the seventh tier. Due to their off-the-pitch community work and unique story, they have been invited to play in the Fenix Trophy, winning the tournament in its inaugural season.

The Fenix Trophy is an annual European football competition between semi-professional and amateur clubs. It was founded in 2021 by the Italian football club Brera Calcio. The competition is officially recognised by UEFA. The word FENIX is an acronym and stands for Friendly - European - Non professional - Innovative - Xenial (From the ancient Greek xenos, the word examined for an attitude of resistance to strangers, with maintaining mutual respect for cultural differences).

Aldershot

After Aldershot F.C. became the first Football League team to dissolve during the football season since Accrington Stanley in 1962, the town of Aldershot found itself without a football club in March 1992. The original Aldershot team played in the Third and Fourth Divisions of the Football League, having joined in 1932.

Even though the club had only recently been promoted in 1987, it was relegated two years later and nearly went bankrupt in the summer of 1990 due to debts exceeding six figures. The club's debts remained high and, just over 18 months after the original winding-up order was cancelled thanks to a rescue package, the club ultimately went bankrupt .Later the same year, Aldershot Town was founded and started off in the Isthmian League division three.

After just 11 years, four promotions had been achieved and just one more promotion was required for league football to return to Aldershot. The club board made the decision to turn the club professional in 2004, with hopes of a return to the Football League.

After a couple of unsuccessful playoff campaigns, the Shots finally gained promotion to the Football League in 2008. Sixteen years after the demise of Aldershot F.C., the town of Aldershot had a Football League team again. They failed to gain promotion to League 1, with a playoff defeat to Rotherham the closest the club got.

Financial difficulties plagued the club, relegating them to the National League in 2013, where they have remained ever since. However, 2024 may be the year they finally return to the Football League, with Tommy Widdrington's side going well in the National League.

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