The History of Didcot Town Football Club

Didcot Town Football Club, like the town itself, has long been associated with both the Railways and the Army.  Didcot's railway station was built in the 1860's and provided the town with it's main source of employment for decades afterwards.  The Army (with two major armaments depots situated locally) rapidly increased in their number and influence in the Town during the First World War.  It is these major influences that have given rise to the football clubs' nicknames: The Railwaymen, The Artillerymen or The Gunners. 

Originally founded in 1907, the club is affiliated to the Berks and Bucks Football Association.  After first competing in the North Berks, Reading and District League, the club won promotion to the Metropolitan League. 

Didcot Town became founder members of the Hellenic League in 1953 and duly became the League’s first champions.  In the same season the club missed out on a league and cup double by losing in the final of the Hellenic League cup to Amersham Town. 

After four seasons in the Hellenic League, Didcot re-joined the Metropolitan League and reached the League Cup Final in 1961/62.  In 1963 Didcot returned to the Hellenic League, where the club have remained to this day. 

Didcot waited until the1965/66 season to taste success again when they won the Premier Division Challenge Cup (Witney Town were defeated 3-2 in the final).  The following season the cup was successfully defended but the club had to wait ten long years for further honours.  Indeed, the intervening years had seen Didcot demoted to Division One, and season 1976/77 not only saw a return to the Premier League as champions (from Flackwell Heath) but also success in the Challenge Cup. 

A decade later, in 1987, Didcot again returned to the Premier Division after finishing in third place behind champions Bishops Cleeve and runners-up Cheltenham Town Reserves.  In fact, the club benefitted from Hellenic League rules which prevented Cheltenham Reserves from participating in the Premier Division and Didcot took the second and last promotion spot.  The season was rounded off with success in the Division One Challenge Cup, where Cheltenham Town Reserves, again the victims, were defeated 2-0 in the final. 

The club remained in the Premier Division for the next six campaigns, and managed a notable honour in 1992 when they lifted the Premier Division Cup (Banbury United defeated 3-0 in the final).  Despite this success the following season resulted in disappointment with relegation to Division One. 

The necessary improvements to the Station Road ground allowed Didcot to return to the Premier Division for the start of season 1995/96.  Two years later, Didcot had arguably their most successful season with victories in the League Cup, the Jim Newman Trophy and the Hungerford Cup. 

Following years of uncertainty, and the eventual sale of the Station Road ground, the club finally built their new stadium and main pitch on the town’s Ladygrove estate for the start of the 1999 season.

Didcot finished a creditable 7th in the Hellenic Premier Division in their first season at the Loop Meadow, thanks largely to a good last third to the campaign.  The move saw a dramatic rise in attendances, and the average home gate trebled from that at the old Station Road ground only 2 seasons before.

After a remarkable 2000-2001 season, where the club remained unbeaten in the League until the middle of February, the club lifted the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy for the first time in their history with a memorable win over local rivals AFC Wallingford at Chesham.

To underline the ambition of the club ex-Oxford United legend Peter Foley was appointed as First Team manager in September 2002.    He made an almost immediate impact as the club lifted both the Supplementary Cup and the Berks & Bucks Senior Trophy in his first season in charge.  In his second year his side duly lifted the League Challenge Cup.

In 2004 Stuart Peace became First Team boss, with club stalwart Paul Noble as assistant, and to describe their first season in charge as incredible is an understatement.  With home League attendances averaging above 200 the club were pipped for the League title by just one point, but second still represented the best finish for more than 50 years, and the League Challenge Cup was retained with a resounding 5-1 win against Carterton in the Final.  But the most outstanding achievement was realised at White Hart Lane in May when Didcot beat highly fancied AFC Sudbury 3-2 in front of a crowd of 9000 to win the FA Vase for the first time in the club's history.   

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