COLESHILL TOWN FC HISTORY – PART 6
The 90’s started with Ronnie Mason still in charge, supported by ex Blues player Joe Gallagher as coach but Coleshill had a new sponsor! Walker Homes, a local building company, started a very valuable partnership with the football club, the director, David Walker becoming President of Coleshill Town FC. The teams strip changed from the usual Green & White (since 1913) to Walker Homes company colours Burgundy & Cream, Yuck! Long-time Chairman Harry Davies died this year and John Townsend took over for a short period. John is still at the club, groundsman his latest role! Harry’s son Chris Davies then took over as Chairman and was in that role for over 10 years. During this time the Football Association were reforming the non-league pyramid system. A new league was to be formed and started for the 1994/95 season taking 10 teams from the Midland Combination and 10 teams from the West Midlands League. Teams wanting to join the new league had to firstly finish in the top ten but then commit to ground improvements, floodlights being the main criteria. Coleshill were desperate to be part of the new set up or face being left behind, so they set about improving the facilities at great expense, and also shuffled the pack to find a manager and a team capable of finishing in the top ten. Brian Jordan took over from Ronnie Mason and in 1992/93 Coleshill finished in 7th place. Bob Nimmons and Roy Dollaway took over for the crucial year hoping to improve on the previous year. During this season Town played their 1000th game in the Midland Combination but it wouldn’t be many more, would it? Coleshill finished in a very disappointing 17th place and their big chance to step up was gone! It would be another 14 years before they eventually gained promotion to the Midland Alliance!
1994 was also the centenary of Coleshill Town Football Club joining the Football Association and Town stalwart Percy Hastings was invited to Aston Villa’s training ground to meet Paul McGrath and be presented with a certificate signed by FA Chairman Bert Millichip. (PICTURE 1)
Coleshill appointed Martin Socket as Manager for the start of the 1995/96 season, reverted back to the traditional Green strip and finished the season in a creditable 10th place. With the floodlights still a priority a working party including Chairman Chris Davies, John Wagstaff, Neil Hamilton and Johnny Causer dug the founds for the towers which were bought, second hand, by Percy Hastings and Martin Socket from Leicester United who had gone into liquidation. A fund raising game against an Aston Villa XI was arranged with a 600 crowd that raised £1500 towards the costs. (PICTURE 2)
Socket improved the squad for the 1996/97 season, finished 3rd and reached the Semi Final of the League Cup. Socket even won Manager of the Month a couple of times. Coleshill won eight of their last ten games of the season mainly thanks to the prolific strike partnership of brothers Mark and Paul Charnley who scored 25 goals between them.
The Floodlights, a five figure investment, were finally ready for the 1997/98 season and Coleshill finally had a team to compete for the title again. Coleshill were never out of the top three all season and hit top spot in November and maintained that position through December, January and into February but once again it all went wrong. (PICTURE 3) Martin Socket was head hunted and left for VS Rugby in January 1998, Loz Cairns taking over the reins. Town lost three of the last four games and ended up in 5th place, Upton Town taking the title. Loz Cairns also left at the end of the season taking over at Massey Ferguson and Mick Brookes and Mick Thurman took charge for the start of 1998/99 season. This partnership didn’t last long as nine straight defeats left Coleshill bottom of the league and it was all change again as Paul Johnson took over the hot seat. Things only improved slightly and Town ended the season second from the bottom. It didn’t improve the next season and by October Johnson was replaced by Colin Strong but even he couldn’t stop the rot and, finishing 2nd bottom again, Coleshill were relegated for the first time in the club’s history, meaning the club would start the millennium season outside the Midland Combination top division for the first time in 25 years.
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