Monday, January 14, 2013

Club focus - Spalding United

Next up at the Unwin Ground, if the weather permits are Spalding United in the FA Vase. It is going to be one of the biggest games in Ely's history after they reached the 4th round for the first time ever. Hopefully there will be a big crowd and some of the people who turn up will actually bother turning up to some other games. Anyway, that's enough of that, as it's supposed to be a look at Spalding United.

The Tulips (their nickname reminds me of C86 types 'the Fat Tulips')play in the United Counties League, which to be honest is a bit stronger than the Eastern Counties, and are currently second. They are probably favourites for the tie and their officials at the Histon game seemed quite confident despite a good performance by the Robins.

The club were formed in 1921 as Spalding Town and started life out, like a lot of teams in the UCL, in the Peterborough and District League. In 1954 they tried to join the Eastern Counties League, but weren't accepted. However, they did go on to win the double in the United Counties League. The performance was enough to see them get entry to the Eastern Counties League. However, they transferred to the Central League in 1960 and then the Midlands League in 61. Things didn't go that well in the Midlands League and after finishing bottom in 1967-68 they left for the United Counties League again.

They won the league in 1974-75 and went back to the Midlands League and also spent time in the Northern Counties East League after the Midlands League and Yorkshire League amalgamated. They were the first champions of the new league winning it in 1983. They went back to the UCL in 1986 after several problems in the Northern Counties East. They won the UCL in 1988, which gave them a chance to play in the Midlands Division of the Southern League. It seemed to be a bridge too far though and in 1991 they returned to the UCL after finishing bottom.

After averting bankruptcy in the 1990s they finished the decade with another league championship. They then embarked on a career of yo-yoing and due to geographical location they were able to have a go at both life in the Southern League and the Northern Premier. After their league championship brought them promotion to the Southern League again they started to struggle. In 2001 they finished bottom, but weren't relegated. The season after they were relegated after finishing bottom. In 2004 they won the league again and this time chanced their arm in Division 1 of the Northern Premier League. In 2006 they moved back South and 2007 they went back North. In 2010 they finished bottom, but avoided relegation again, but it was a short stay of execution and the next year they were relegated back to the UCL.

So, it's going to be tough against a team who seem to be too good for Step 5, but not quite good enough for Step 4.

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