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25 Years and Counting (1986 - 2011) PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 19:52

25 YEARS OF SOUTHERN LEAGUE FOOTBALL AND THE BRIGHT GOLDEN HAZE SURVIVES AND CONTINUES.....

As August 1986 approached, Halesowen Town and its’ supporters were eagerly awaiting their first ever match in the Southern League Midland Division.

 

Merthyr Tydfil Line-Up

Merthyr Tydfil Programme

 

 

 


  

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since 1983, The Yeltz had become the talk of West Midlands non-league football as Paddy Page’s side had been playing stunningly attractive football that had attracted thousands of fans to The Grove. With the Joinson twins, Paul and Lee, and others such as Malcolm Hazelwood and Geoff Moss goals galore had also brought success never previously imaginable to a club that just 10 years previously had struggled to survive. Only the redoubtable efforts of Harry Rudge and his committee had ensured that survival in the West Midlands League but the early-mid 1980’s brought 3 appearances at Wembley in the FA Vase Final, including 2 victories.

This coincided with the nadir of Wolverhampton Wanderers, their lowly league placing and an FA Cup exit to non-league Chorley Town, which caused Jimmy Greaves to suggest, on local ITV television, that they and The Yeltz should merge.

Such marvellous times on the pitch were, however, in sharp contrast to an issue off the field. Despite winning the West Midlands League, club officials and fans became enraged when the Southern League refused us promotion because of the standard of The Grove with its’ undulating pitch.


Unfair and Illogical

 

Support from the local media failed to persuade the Southern League so Halesowen Town took up the challenge and carried out ground improvements so that, when the League was again won in 1985/86, promotion was no longer denied.


Wembley Heroes Kicked Into Touch

 

When the fixtures were announced for the 1986/87 season, we had been allocated Merthyr Tydfil away for our opening fixture. They had been enjoying their own run of success, entering European club competition after winning the Welsh Cup and upgrading their ground accordingly, including floodlights to accommodate televised matches.

So, on 16 August 1986 we made the trip down the M5 and M50 for the start of our time in the Southern League. Our central defender, Mark Lacey, sent the travelling Yeltz fans delirious in the opening minute when he put us into the lead but with 20 minutes to go we found ourselves trailing 1-3 and our Southern League baptism was looking very formidable indeed. In a tremendous finish to the match, goals from Lee Joinson (2), Geoff Moss and Ian Sherwood saw us come away with a 5-3 victory. What a start to our life in the Southern League!!

3 seasons later we achieved promotion to the Southern League Premier and twice we came very close to moving up to the Conference level. In 1996, a superb 17 match unbeaten run to the end of the season proved to be not quite enough as we were shaded out on the last day by Rushden,  Then, on 1st May 2008 and having overcome Chippenham in the play-off semi-final, we went down to a late winner in the final at Team Bath.

There have been many other thrills and ups and downs but 25 years later, we are emerging from more adversity and follow on from one of our poorest seasons ever. The bright golden haze that had shrouded this Club to such effect for years had nigh on evaporated, weeds around the ground were growing towards being as high as an elephant's eye through neglect but now it's the spirit of the Club that looks like it's reaching up to the sky as we set out on the next 25 years with renewed optimism.

 
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