Seagulls Reborn

1948-2000

The present club reformed in 1948, a meeting at the town hall decided to form a Semi-Professional Club. A committee was formed to look into the possibility of buying the Locking Road Ground which as the time it was thought it could be acquired for around £4,000.

In the following months the club were elected into the Western League division 2 in company with Barnstaple Town and a new club Chippenham United.

Weston played their home matches at the “Great Ground” in Locking Road where they regularly attracted attendances of over 1,000 and even for a friendly against local side Langford Rovers over 600 turned up. The first league game at home attracted some 1500 fans, the changing accommodation being in a large marquee. There was no cover for spectators but enthusiasm ran high and crowds rolled along. The first league match was away to Chippenham United a side which included 7 professionals some of them former football league players. Weston were beaten 6-1 but it should be noted that the Chippenham side proved too strong for most opponents that season and was a really formidable combination.

The first Weston win at Locking Road came against Cinderford Town and was followed by the first away win at Stonehouse. A further boost came with the formation of the supporters club in 1948 with the late Mr Sam Wooding as its first Secretary.

 

The club spent most of the 1950’s in the second division going close to promotion on a couple of occasions before the Division was disbanded although it was not always easy going in 1951/52 Bideford beat Weston 11-0.

The move to the Langford Road Ground came in time for the 1955/56 and the first game saw Weston trounce Peasedown 7-0.

In 1960/61, along with Trowbridge Town, Exeter City Reserves and Welton Rovers were elected to Division 1 of the Western Football League, Weston held the unique distinction of never winning promotion or suffering relegation.

The first modern taste of cup glory came in 1961 when Weston reached the First Round Proper of the FA cup ending in bitter disappointment as they were beaten by local rivals Bridgewater Town in the re-play before a home crowd of 2,5000. It was not Weston’s day as after having what looked like a good goal disallowed on a hairline offside decision, Weston went down by that goal scored minutes from the end. They missed a slum home tie against Crystal Palace who were then in Division 3 of the Football League.

At Langford Road the set up was a great improvement of that at the “Great Ground”. Apart from the changing accommodation for the players, a licensed Social Club was eventually established in what had been a large Nissan Hut.

This had been reinforced externally and at a latter stage a Skittle Alley was built alongside the Social Club.

A period of success began in the 1975/76 season with the arrival of Kim Book as team manager. During the seven seasons under his control and that of his successor Dave Stone, Weston reached 2nd place in the league, won the League Cup and also won the Western Senior Cup on 5 occasions. Only once did they finish lower than the top 10 and in 1980/81 they reached the Western League Goldliner Cup Final only losing 2-1 to Dawlish Town.

In the 1983-84 season Weston moved to a new ground Woodspring Park which was built almost entirely from by supporters. The Woodspring Park ground had been greatly developed since with a club house costing £100,000 and floodlights installed in 1986.

One personality of mention at the club is Harry Thomas who played more than 700 games for them and eventually managed the team between 1984 and 1989 having been associated with the club for 25 years.

In 1989 John Ellener was appointed Manager and in 3 seasons he took the club to 2 Cup Finals and for the first time since they were reformed, Weston won the Western League Championships and were promoted to the Southern League Midland Division.

In 1993 team coach Peter Amos replaced John Ellener as Manager and guided the club to 11th position in their first season in the Midland Division. A club record was set at the beginning of the 1993/94 season with an undefeated run of 10 matches, the “seagulls” flight ended on a 4-1 defeat by VS Rugby. The run also included an appearance in the First Round proper of the FA Cup for only the second time in the clubs history, being drawn against non-league Woking. History repeated itself Weston drawing 2-2 at Woking before losing in the replay at Woodspring Park in front of a crowd of 2,623 supporters a new ground record. A new record was also achieved that season by getting into the First Round proper of the FA Trophy in the same season. In that same season the league record attendance was broken with a 1,260 gate against Clevedon Town. 91 points were collected in the league but promotion was missed out by 1 point to runners up VS Rugby.

During that season Matt Lazenby wrote his name into the seagull’s history book by becoming the highest goal scorer with 180 goals. His partnership with Paul Elson had netted over 300 goals in just 6 seasons.

1994/95 was less successful and resulted in the recruitment of Len Ashurst who took the side to 4th place in his first season. This success was affected in the following season due to enforced budget cut. The sale of Danny O’Hagan to Dorchester and Stuart Jones to Sheffield Wednesday for a club record fee of £20,000, this left the need for team rebuilding and saw the club finish in a disappointing 19th place.

The start of the 1998-99 saw the promotion of John Relish and a move back to the Midland division. The season started poorly with a run in the FA Trophy to the 4th round against Hitchin Town. Defeat saw the club miss out on a plum home tie against Conference side Forest Green Rovers.

In the league the side plunged to the bottom 3 of the table but an improvement in consistency from Christmas 1998 produced a string of good results which could have resulted in a top six finish if the run had started at the start of the season. During this season Weston made yet another sale this time Ryan Souter went to Bury.