MANGOTSFIELD UTD – A BRIEF HISTORY
The 2016/17 season is Mangotsfield’s 17th campaign as a Southern League club. This is their eighth season in the Division One South & West, previously finishing 9th in 2009/10, 3rd in 2010/11, (but losing the play-off semi-final, 1-3 to Frome Town), 14th in 2011/12, 13th in 2012/13, 11th in 2013/14, 10th in 2014/15, and 14th in 2015/16. The Board of Directors comprises, Mike Richardson as Chairman, Bob Jenkins as Vice-Chairman, Pete Crowley as Director of Football Club Development, and Finance Director, Martin Preedy.
There has been football in the village since 1888 and four years later, Mangotsfield FC became a founder member of the Bristol & District League (later to become the Western Football League in 1895) but the club folded after 10 years. From 1898 until the 1950s, Mangotsfield FC was disbanded and subsequently reformed on several occasions. In January 1951, the parent club dispensed with the Reserve X1 for financial reasons leaving many local players without a team to play for. These players decided to form a new club in the village and at the start of the 1951-52 season, the newly-established Mangotsfield United FC was entered into the Bristol & District League, Division Vll. They achieved five successive promotions and gained entry to the Bristol & District Premier Combination in 1957. The club remained there until 1972-73, when it was accepted in to the Western League.
The Club became established in the Western League during the 1970’s and despite being relegated to the first division in 1981-82, “The Field”, as they were affectionately known, bounced straight back the following season and under the guidance of the charasmatic Ralph Miller, who as Chairman, undertook the task of improving the ground and its facilities, became a force in the Premier, mainly featuring in the leading positions.
In 1991, the club, managed by Harold Jarman and assisted by Terry Rowles, achieved regional glory by taking the (then) Great Mills League Premier Division title, ahead of runners-up Torrington. Disappointingly, they were denied promotion to the Southern League as their ground failed to meet the grading requirements and there followed several lean seasons as the team disbanded. Under newly-elected Chairman Richard Davis, however, off the pitch, things were improving.
Terry Rowles returned to manage the club himself in 1995 and kept them in the spotlight by consistently finishing in the top three/four in the Great Mills/Screwfix League and an appearance in the FA Vase semi-final ( losing to Clitheroe), but their ambitions of promotion and Southern League football were always thwarted by the continual success of Taunton and Tiverton Town. It was considered very important to establish a sound working base, improve ground facilities and secure a long-term tenure on their Cossham Street ground.
In earlier years, the Roger Pullin / Richard Davis partnership had seen many improvements take place, with the installation of Conference-style floodlights and at the end of the 2003/04 season, the Cossham Street end of the ground was covered, together with new toilet blocks and social club improvements. Ex player Andy Black returned to the club as Manager in 1999 and guided the club to promotion to the Dr. Martens Southern League and three successful campaigns. The 2003/04 campaign did not go too well and just before Christmas, Black was replaced by Martyn Grimshaw. Towards the end of the campaign, Nigel Webb came in as his Assistant, but the club could only finish in 13th place, which was not high enough for the planned re-structuring of the Pyramid.
The Management duo made promotion their priority in 2004/05 and the club headed the table for most of the campaign, eventually taking the Division One West title with a 21 match unbeaten run. After 28 seasons at Western League level, the club had spent just five campaigns at Southern League level before reaching the Premier Division. The club have looked for financial stability in recent years, with the need to reach out to the community and attract a broader fan-base and local sponsorship. There has been some success in that area with the Cossham Street ground now taking the name of The Doug Hillard Sports Stadium.
Sometimes now referred to as “The Mangos”, the 2016/17 campaign, began with the first complete season under manager DAVID (Boris) MEHEW. His new Assistant is LEWIS HOGG, who has returned in the new role. Their aim is to return the club to the Southern Football League, Premier Division, where they spent four seasons from 2005-2009, finishing 10th, 9th, 14th and 22nd, with the ultimate aspiration of Conference South Football.