THE EARLY YEARS
Redditch United Football Club is located at the heart of its community and boasts being one of the oldest established clubs in the Midlands. Redditch Town first played in the Birmingham Combination in 1891-92. The Club has a long stream of success which started with winning the Worcestershire Senior cup in 1894 and becoming runners-up in 1898. In 1914 the team won the Birmingham Combination championship for the first time and the Birmingham Senior cup in 1925.
The 1930’s was a rewarding period for the club and its supporters, starting by winning the Worcestershire Senior Cup and the Birmingham Senior Cup in successive seasons. Reds almost achieved a notable double in 1932-33 when, having won the Combination, they were unfortunately defeated in the Senior Cup ‘Final.
In 1953 Redditch regained the Combination Championship and runners-up in the Worcestershire Senior Cup. This Championship success was repeated in 1955. In 1957 they were runners-up in the Birmingham Senior Cup.
The 1970’s was a successful period for Redditch and started with joining the Southern League and reaching the First Round of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 6-0 in the replay at Peterborough after a 1-1 draw at home in front of a crowd of 4,500. Reds made a dream start to their first season in the Southern League, winning their first six matches before settling for a mid-table finish. In the Worcestershire Senior Cup they were beaten finalists, but went on to win the competition in the following two seasons. After narrowly missing promotion in 1974-75 they won the Championship in convincing style in 1975-76, scoring over 100 goals and losing only two games.
In 1985-6 The Reds won promotion to the Premier Division again. In subsequent years the Reds had several managers but with limited success in the league, including relegation from the Premier at the end of the 1988-89 season. The following season they reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup, losing 3-1 to Merthyr Tydfil (then of the Football Conference) in front of a crowd of 2,000. Ex-Worcester City player, Graham Selby brought better success and a creditable 10th position at the end of the season and won their first trophy for 13 years when they beat Conference side, Northwich Victoria 4-3 over the two-legged final of the Staffordshire Senior Cup.
1997-98 season saw The Reds reaching two cup finals, the Southern League Cup and the Birmingham Senior Cup. Both were lost but this was to some degree the result of a massive fixture backlog. The season ended with what must be a Southern League record and maybe even a world record for semi-professional football – nine games in nine days. Even The Sun covered the final game.
Season 1998-99 proved to be one of the most exciting in the last decade. Third place in the Southern League Midland Division, progression to the Fourth round of the FA Trophy and silverware in the form of the Worcester royal Infirmary Cup made for the greatest interest throughout.
During 1999-2000 Rob Smith and his squad maintained a top six position throughout the campaign however, the winds of change saw Nicky Cross take charge for the final six matches. Cross then made the manager’s role a permanent one and together with his assistant Gary Hackett brought a unique style of management to the Valley Stadium. Nicky Cross left the Club by mutual consent and was replaced by Stourport Swifts manager Rod Brown. After a season of consolidation Rod and his assistant Gary Whild embarked on a meteoric rise to reach step two of the non-league pyramid by firstly becoming champions of the Southern League Western Division, a feat which included heading the table throughout the season, then winning two play-off matches to elevate Redditch United into the newly formed Conference North.
After a ninth place finish in 2004-05, thanks in part to the 22 goals of French striker Norman Sylla. Brown left the Club midway through the campaign, with Whild promoted into the managerial role; he led the side to safety on the final day of the season.
In 2007-08 the Club finished in a creditable 13th place also winning the Worcester Senior Cup final against local rivals Worcester City.
Manager Gary Whild left at the end of the 2009 season. Matt Gardiner took on the role of manager.
Budget was tight, with the team well adrift at the foot of the table, all but certain of relegation and in serious financial trouble.
This decision forced the management team to resign their positions and former Alvechurch manager, Simon Redhead, took on the daunting task of manager. Redhead bought in ex-Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham City professional, Graham Hyde, as first team coach. With only limited matches remaining the team was in line for relegation into the Southern Premier. Then followed perhaps the toughest period in the Club history as financial mis-management led to demotion to the Southern Premier with the Club within an hour of liquidation and the Club on the market.
Local businessman, entrepreneur and football fan, Chris Swan took over the Club in the role of Chairman, immediately clearing the Club’s outstanding debts to guarantee its continued survival. Chris and his wife Sallie, took on building the reputation locally for a Club which delivers both on and off the pitch. This involved the Club returning to its community roots, generating players from within and working closely with schools and local teams with the focus on regeneration and disadvantaged members of the Community. The Club re-launched its Junior Section with both girls and boys teams of all abilities and currently have 20 teams from Under 7’s through to Reserves.
The Club has worked hard to forge strategic alliances with NEW College, the local council, YMCA and Community Theatre group, Jestaminute. We have links with many important local businesses and for this season we have new sponsors; www.cruise.co.uk; newcollege; Cobalt Developments and RUJFC together with many businesses supporting the Club by taking advertising boards and programme advertisements.
This season ex Redditch United player Liam McDonald takes on his first role of management at The Valley with Nick Green as Assistant Manager; David Bridgwater Coach/Player and Steve Ellis as Goalkeeper Coach.
Southern League Western Division Winners: 2004
Birmingham Senior Cup Winners: 2005
Worcestershire Senior Cup Winners: 2008
Worcestershire Senior Cup Runners-Up 2013