Mossley Association Football Club
are an English football
club from the town of Mossley
, Greater Manchester
, currently playing in the Northern Premier League Division One North
. They were founded in 1903 and are nicknamed the Lilywhites owing to their colours (white shirts, black shorts and white stockings). They are currently managed by Chris Willcock and play at Seel Park.
Mossley were formed in 1903 as Park Villa
and initially competed in local competitions. After just one season the club’s name was changed to Mossley Juniors
. In 1909 they became Mossley AFC
and moved to their present ground Seel Park
in 1912 from their previous site at Luzley
. The early years of Mossley AFC were spent in the Ashton & District League
culminating in a superb season in 1914-15 when Mossley won the League, Manchester Junior Cup
and the Lady Aitken Cup (see above picture), progressing to the South East Lancs League
in 1915, the Manchester Amateur League
in 1916, the Lancashire Combination
in 1918 and then were founder members of the Cheshire County League
in 1919, finishing runners up in the first season in both League and League Cup and returning to win the League Cup the following season beating Sandbach Ramblers
in the final.
Apart from many successes in the Ashton Challenge Cup
and various Manchester Cup
wins, Mossley had many lean years in the League and rarely finished in the top half of the table, although in 1961 they won the Cheshire League Cup
for only the second time when they beat a strong Tranmere Rovers
Reserve side 6-3 at Hyde United
's ground under the guidance of former Blackburn Rovers
star Eddie Quigley
Mossley’s most successful season in their Cheshire League days was in 1969-70 when Don Wilson's side finished runners-up in the League, reached the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup for the first time in 20 years losing narrowly in a replay to Stockport County and made it to the quarter finals of the inaugural FA Trophy going out to Southern League giants Barnet.
After more than fifty years in the Cheshire League, the Lilywhites were elected to the Northern Premier League in 1972.
During the late 70’s, Mossley grew into a formidable force in non-league football. They won successive League titles in 1978-79 and 1979-80 and finished runners-up in each of the next three seasons. With influential manager Bob Murphy at the helm the club also saw it’s greatest moment. May 1980 saw the Lilywhites at Wembley Stadium in the Final of the FA Trophy. After defeating supposedly bigger clubs like Altincham, Blyth Spartans and Boston United on the way, Mossley unluckily lost 2-1 in the final to Dagenham, their first defeat in 31 games. A crowd of 26,000 were at Wembley, and a memorable day for the Club and town was captured for posterity by Granada TV in their documentary “Mossley Goes To Wembley.” At this time Mossley had the most formidable strike force in non-league football with Leo Skeete, Dave Moore and Ian Smith alongside first Eamonn O'Keefe (sold to Everton) and then Kevan Keelan.
The following season saw Mossley take their only Football League
scalp in the FA Cup when they beat Crewe Alexandra
at Seel Park. Other League clubs faced in the glory years were Rotherham United
, York City
, Mansfield Town
, Stockport County
, Huddersfield Town
. The great run of success ended abruptly in 1984 when following financial upheavals the Lilywhites finished bottom of the then one division NPL and had to seek re-election.
A gradual recovery took place through the 1980s,with 1988-89 being the most successful since the glory days. Under the guidance of Bryan Griffiths and Dave Jones, Mossley won the NPL Cup, Manchester Premier Cup, Reporter Floodlit Cup and at the start of the following season the NPL Shield. After this, fortunes faded again following further financial problems with the club narrowly avoiding relegation in 1992. The following year, after a calamitous series of results not even the return of the legendary Bob Murphy could save the Club from the drop. Over the next two years Mossley saw no fewer than six managerial changes and the Lilywhites run of 23 years in the Unibond/NPL came to an end in 1995 when they were relegated to the North West Counties League.
1995-96 saw Mossley make a highly promising NWCL debut, involved in the promotion race for most of the season they eventually finished 4th, reaching the final of the NWCL Floodlit Trophy into the bargain. The following season, after a bright start, the team failed to stay the pace with the leaders and finally finished in 7th position, but did have a great run in the FA Vase, reaching the quarter finals.
In 1997 the Club parted company with manager Kevan Keelan and installed another former Lilywhites player, Benny Phillips as his replacement. Also appointing a new Chairman in the club's main sponsor Sam Rigby of club sponsors NEC and with a rebuilt team finished in 9th position.
1998-99 saw the team more than unfortunate not to win the title, losing out to Workington on the last day of the season. It was a bitter pill to swallow after leading the table for the last three months which included a club record 12 successive wins.
The Millennium season saw Mossley again reach the quarter finals of the FA Vase
before going down 3-1 at eventual winners Deal Town F.C.
and slip from the title race after that to finish 4th, but they did reach the final of the Manchester Premier Cup, losing by a last minute goal to Droylsden
at Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park
. In November 2001 Benny Phillips was replaced as manager by former Coventry City
and Stoke City
player Ally Pickering
. Mossley finished their Centenary
Season 2002-03 in 3rd position, reached the quarter finals of the FA Vase
for the third time and won their first cup in over a decade when they beat Clitheroe
2-1 to win the NWCL Worthington Trophy at Gigg Lane
. The 2003-04 season saw Jason Beckford replace Pickering as manager just prior to the season's start and the club embarked on a 21 match unbeaten run leading up to the New Year. However, following a 3 point deduction for to an administrative error, form took a nosedive as the team quickly crashed out of four cups and lost pole position in the League. The drama continued to the end and Mossley were pipped to the title by Clitheroe
on the last day of the season. 2005-06 saw Mossley become Champions of the NPL Division One, finishing two points above Fleetwood Town
despite losing their last two games, earning promotion back to the Premier Division. In 2007, Mossley faced relegation
and were assigned to the inaugural
season of the Northern Premier League Division One North
. Jason Beckford parted company in the close season and was replaced in June 2007 by Gerry Quinn, a teacher from Huddersfield
. Quinn's reign lasted one full season, before former Mossley player Chris Willcock re-joined the club as manager, in June 2008.
Mossley play at Seel Park, which has a capacity of 4,000 people, 1,500 of which are covered and 200 are seated. The site was a disused cricket
ground before the club started to play home games there in 1911, and christened the site Seel Fold. The ground began its gradual improvement process in 1920, with the building of a 430 person stand and dressing rooms: the first permanent structures on the site. By the 1930’s, the ground had been renamed Seel Park. In 1948, Seel Park was bought outright from Stamford Estates, for a total of £1,200.
- Previous Names: Park Villa (1903/04), Mossley Juniors (1904-09)
- Record Attendance: 6,640 v Stalybridge Celtic, Cheshire League, 1946
- Record Victory: 9-0 v Urmston, Manchester Shield, 1947
- Heaviest defeat: 2-13 v Witton Albion, Cheshire League, 1926
- Most Appearances for Club: 613, Jimmy O'Connor 1972-1987
- Most Goals for Club: 235, David Moore 1974-1984
- Most Goals in a Season: 58, Jackie Roscoe 1930-31
- Largest Transfer Fee Received: £25,000 from Everton for Eamonn O'Keefe, 1979
- Largest Transfer Fee Paid: £2,300 to Altrincham for Phil Wilson, 1980
- England Semi-Pro Internationals: Eamonn O'Keefe (1979), Ian Smith (1980), Phil Derbyshire (1981)
Best FA Cup Performance - 2nd Round
Best FA Trophy Performance - Finalists
Best FA Vase Performance - Quarter Finalists
- Ashton Challenge Cup Winners: 1921/22, 1922/23, 1929/30, 1934/35, 1948/49, 1951/52, 1953/54, 1955/56, 1961/62
- Ashton & District League Champions: 1911/12, 1914/15
- Ashton Junior Cup Winners: 1909/10
- Cheshire League Cup Winners: 1920/21, 1960/61
- FA Cup 2nd Round: 1949/50, 1980/81
- FA Trophy Runners Up: 1979/80
- Floodlit Cup Winners: 1974/75, 1988/89
- Lady Aitken Cup Winners: 1913/14, 1914/15
- Manchester Intermediate Cup Winners: 1960/61, 1966/67, 1967/68
- Manchester Junior Cup Winners: 1914/15, 1933/34
- Manchester Premier Cup Winners: 1988/89, 1990/91
- Manchester Senior Cup Winners: 1971/72, 1976/77
- Manchester Shield Winners: 1937/38, 1948/49
- Northern Premier League Challenge Shield: 1989/90
- Northern Premier League Champions: 1978/79, 1979/80
- Northern Premier League Runners Up: 1980/81, 1981/82, 1982/83
- Northern Premier League Division One Champions: 2005/06
- Northern Premier League Cup Winners: 1978/79, 1988/89
- North West Counties League Runners Up: 1998/99, 2003/04
- North West Counties League Trophy Winners: 2002/03
External Links and Sources