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Alvechurch - A Proud History

Alvechurch Football Club, with its picturesque ground providing a grandstand view of the rolling Worcestershire hills in the Arrow Valley and its Lye Meadow facilities which are steadily being added to and improved presents a far different picture from when the club was founded in 1929. Then the team had to change in a pub and walk over the road to the local playing fields to contest their minor league matches.

The move to Lye Meadow in 1957 was the turning point in the club's history and it began to go from strength to strength. In the mid-sixties Alvechurch captured the imagination and enthusiasm of the midlands with the team's giant- killing runs in the F.A. Amateur Cup. In the 1964-65 season 'Church reached the quarter finals and then got to the semi- finals the following year.

Alvechurch joined the Midland Combination in 1961-62 and claimed the league title the following year. In the next eight seasons they won the championship four times and the league challenge cup five times, and were also runners-up in both competitions on two other occasions.

In 1971-72, in their second year in the F.A. Cup, 'Church reached the first round proper after an 11 hour marathon in the Fourth Qualifying Round against Oxford City. This tie is now recorded in the 'Guinness Book of Records'. However, Alvechurch went down 4-2 to Aldershot after a brave struggle in a match that was the 12th in three weeks for some of the team.

In 1972-73 'Church became the first amateur side to ever win the Worcestershire Senior Cup -retaining it the following season.

1973-74 was, in fact, the most successful season in the club's history. Joining the West Midlands (Regional) League, the club won the Premier Division Championship, the League Challenge Cup, the Birmingham Senior Amateur Cup and the Worcestershire Senior Cup. In the FA Cup 'Church reached the Third Round proper, going down 4-2 to Bradford City, after beating Exeter City at St. James Park in the first Round proper.

In 1974-75 again Alvechurch achieved the West Midlands League and Cup double-despite losing five players-but were beaten in the final of the Worcestershire Senior Cup by a single goal.

In 1975-76 the Club completed a hat-trick of League Championships and also won the Border Counties Floodlit League.1976-77 saw 'Church win the League Championship yet again and this was the year the Worcestershire Senior Cup and the Boarder Counties Challenge Cup returned to Lye Meadow. The Club gained entry into the Southern League for the 1978-79 season, and as the only true village club playing in the league finished in a creditable third position.

And so to another milestone for Alvechurch with the winning of the Midland Division and the Championship of The Southern League having beaten Southern Division Champions, Dartford, in the two-legged final, to make the 1980/81 season one of the most successful in the clubs history.

The 1981-82 season produced a see-saw battle to retain the League Championship but Nuneaton finished the stronger to push Alvechurch into the runners-up position. During that season Alan Smith gained international recognition when representing the England non-league team and subsequently joined Leicester City, then Arsenal for 800,00 (where he gained full international honours playing! for England).

It was back to success in the 1982-83 Season when having gained elevation to the Premier Division of the Southern League the Club won the Southern League Cup following victory by seven goals to two on aggregate against Waterlooville.

Following the demise of benefactor Philip Palmer and then president Alan Wiseman, the club were relegated to the Midland Division of the League. Geoff Turton of the Rocking' Berries pop group stepped in to keep the club alive aided by the sale of Andy Comyn to Aston Villa.

Financial speculators gained control of the. club in 1992 resulting in closure the following November 1993.

In 1994 a dedicated band of supporters resurrected the club, rebuilding the seated stand and refurbishing the club house to gain admission to the Midland Combination Premier Division. Finishing it 5th position in the league and beaten finalists in the Smedley Crooke Cup the team went on in the following season to reach the League Cup Final only to lose out to League Champions Bloxwich Town.

In 1997 further progress was made with the erection of floodlights, that has enabled the club to maintain its Combination Premier League status.

The last few seasons has seen the club embark on the promotion of junior football at Lye Meadow with a number of different age groups including an under 18 side playing in the Midland Floodlit Youth League. This side won the club's first major trophy for 17 years when it lifted the 1999/2000 Birmingham County Youth Cup, following a thrilling extra time victory against Paget Rangers.