Whitchurch Alport FC

Whitchurch Alport were formed in 1946 & joined the Shrewsbury & District League. They were named after Alport Farm, the home of local footballer Coley Maddocks who was killed in action during World War 2.

In 1947/48 Alport became Champions of the Shrewsbury & District League & in the search for a higher standard of football were elected to the Birmingham League for the 1948/49 season. However, during the close season, news of the proposed Mid-Cheshire League reached the ears of a member of the club committee & this led them to become founder members.

Yockings Park was purchased for the club by Mr.Robert George Ashley, (Whitch Ball Hotel & Garage Proprietor at Prees Heath), from Mr.Walter George Jones who owned the farm on Black Park Road & to whom the field belonged. The dressing rooms were constructed & still remain to this day from wooden packing crates acquired from the Military Camp at Prees Heath shortly after the end of the War.

Alport have played in the Mid-Cheshire League since it was formed & are the only member club to be based in Shropshire. They were the first club to take the Championship out of Cheshire in the season 1969/70. This was Alport’s finest season as they also reached the final of the League Challenge Cup losing 4-2 to Kidsgrove Athletic & then went on to win the Shropshire Cup. The local Town Council accorded Alport a civic reception in acknowledgement of their achievements – their success was all the more remarkable considering they only had a squad of 15 players. The Chairman during this memorable season was Town Councillor Mr.Jack Duckers who represented the clubon the League Management Committee for many seasons.

In more recent years Alport have struggled in the league & were relegated to division 2 in 1987/88 where they spent 2 seasons before returning to division 1. While in Division 2 Alport won the Division Challenge Cup, their last success in a league competition, when they beat Styal 5-1 at Northwich.

Although based in Shropshire, due to the geographical position of the town, Alport have since their formation supplemented their teams with players from the Crewe & Nantwich area. in the past the club had strong links with Crewe Alexandra with a number of players having worn the colours of both clubs; these include Peter Gowans, Billy McGinley, Willy Mailey (all Scots), Richard Wainright, Kevin Rafferty & Nick Longley – (Nick went on to become one of Dario Gradi’s first goalkeepers). Local lad Stuart Mason went on to play for Liverpool, Chester & Crewe but spent most of his playing days with Wrexham. After hanging up his boots he was for a time the Manager of Bangor City & while there brought his team to play a pre-season friendly at yockings Park. The goalkeeper for Bangor on this occasion was a young Neville Southall for whom Stuart predicted a great future – Bangor City won the game 3-1.

Another well known player to have turned out in Alport’s colours is Jimmy Quinn who went on to become an International with Northern Ireland and later as a manager,taking one of his clubs Shrewsbury Town back into the Football League from the Nationwide Conference. It should also be noted that a number of other Alport players could have, had they wished, gone on to join the professional ranks of Football League Clubs.

Alport have always been able to call on  dedicated committee men & women, the best known probably being Mr Bernard Painter,who served the club in many capacities & was instrumental in it’s formation in 1946. Prior and after every home game he & other committee members carried the goal posts from town out to a farm at Alkington Gate to where the club played before moving to Yockings Park. He was the first representative of the club on the League Management Committee in 1948 and retained an active involvement in the club well into his late 80’s & remained highly interested until his death when he was in his mid 90’s.

Although Alport have won relatively few honours in the Mid Cheshire League their sucess in other competions has been immense. They have won the Shropshire Cup in it’s various guises on ten occasions,The Commander Ethelstone Cup numerous times & the Northwich Challenge Cup twice (not invited to enter for the last 20 years) & lesser competions (too many to mention).

In season 1973/74 they defeated Cardiff College 2-1 to become the last English Club to win the Welsh Amateur Cup (before English Clubs were barred from entering the competion). This is the highest honour achieved by Alport who in the process became the only Mid Cheshire League Club to win a competion run by a National F.A.  For the season 1983/84  & 1984/85 Alports Committee took the decision to play local players only, a decision that was to have disaterous consequences when they finished rock bottom of the League on both occasions,  ending up with 5 and 11 points respectively. At the end of season 84/85 the committee approached Peter Wainwright, then manager of Kidsgrove Athletic, to see if he would consider joining Alport in an attempt to revive the clubs fortunes – he agreed on the condition that the local players policy was rescinded. (With him as joint manager he brought the ex Everton & Crewe Alex goalkeeper Willy Mailey – Willy left after two seasons returning to the Alex undertaking scouting missions).

Since joining the Club Peter has served it as a Manager, Player, Groundsman, Secretary, Chairman & is the current President in addition to serving as Vice President on the Cheshire League Committee. Alport currently run a number of teams including Juniors (boys and girls), Youth & Senior teams. The Club currently play in division 2 of the Cheshire League (formerly the Mid Cheshire League) , the reserves play in the Shropshire County League First Division & the Youth team in the Shropshire County Minor Youth League.

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