The History of Redditch United
The Reds are one of the longest established football clubs in the Midlands, starting out as Redditch Town in the Birmingham Combination League in 1891 and being crowned first winners of the Worcestershire Senior Cup in 1894.
The club prospered in the 1930s and again 20 years later when they were Birmingham Combination champions in 1952 and 1955.
In 1971, United was added to the name and in November of that year, the club reached the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. A record crowd of 4,500 rammed into the Valley Stadium to see the Reds draw 1-1 with Division Four side Peterborough United before losing 6-0 in the reply.
The following season saw them join the Southern League and were promoted to the Premier Division at the end of the 1975-76 campaign having scored more than 100 goals in the process.
They were founder members of the Alliance Premier League at the start of the 1979/80 but struggled against the likes of Barnet and Yeovil Town in what would evolve into the Football Conference.
The club then plied its trade in the Southern League for more than 20 years the highlight of which was another run to the first round of the FA Cup in 1989 before losing 3-1 to Conference side Merthyr Tydfil in front of another sell-out crowd.
The club made the headlines at the end of the 1997-98 season, playing nine games in nine days due to a backlog of fixtures brought about by the poor weather.
At the end of the 2003/04 season, the Reds clinched an historic double promotion under the guidance of manager Rod Brown. Having secured the Southern League Western Division, the club then won two play-off matches to secure a place in the newly formed Conference North where they stayed for seven seasons.
Entrepreneur Chris Swan took control of the club in March 2011, clearing outstanding debts to guarantee its continued survival. Together with his wife Sallie in her role as vice-chairman, Swan began a strategy of developing the club’s community links, working with schools and other organisations across the town and surrounding area.
The Junior section was re-launched with teams including boys, girls and disabled sides.
The Club has worked hard to forge strategic alliances with the likes of Redditch Borough Council, West Mercia Police, Birmingham City Girls and West Bromwich Albion Foundation with the first community hub established offering football to disadvantaged youngsters.
The Reds won the Worcestershire Senior Cup and a number of players made the move into full-time football including Jermaine Hylton who joined Swindon Town and Omari Sterling-James who went to Cheltenham Town.
Having just missed out on the play-offs in 2014/15, the club finished runners-up the following year only to lose out to Leamington in the play-offs.
In 2016, the club worked with Redditch Borough Council, the FA and the Football Foundation as a £900,000 investment programme was carried out which saw a state-of-the-art 3G playing surface installed as well as substantial upgrades to changing facilities. The new-look facilities were officially opened by Sports Minister Tracey Crouch.
A full time Academy was developed which enables scholars to take part in College and University level education alongside an elite football programme. Since its formation a number of players have developed through the pathway to senior football at Redditch United and other local Clubs.
Redditch United Women’s Team does the double, as they are crowned League and Cup winners.
The future for The Reds has never looked brighter – over 900 people playing on the 3G pitch each week, 50 different teams, and excellent community links. Further development of the infrastructure is planned to enable Redditch United are able to continue to provide excellent opportunities for the local community.