WJFC History

The club was the brainchild of Bill Hickenbottom, who formed the first Wyrley Juniors team in 1982, with the help of Trevor Smith and Maurice Nock. Trevor and Maurice are still actively involved with the club and Bill enjoys the role of President of the club.

The early years saw little success on the field until the Under 12s won the Walsall Junior Youth League title in 1985. At this point, the number of teams had grown to 3. In the early 1990s the club had grown to 6 teams, with the catchment areas being Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay. Monthly committee meetings were held at The White Horse pub in Cheslyn Hay and were chaired by the long-term Chairman, Melvin Madeley. The explosion in team numbers and players was ignited by the creation of the clubs boys soccer school in 1994, which was followed in 2000 by the girls soccer school.

The club for many years represented Willenhall in their Twinning arrangements with Drancy, Paris, France with many teams enjoying tournaments organised by their French hosts. In 1996, the club organised the first of its annual tournaments at Cannock Cricket and Hockey Club, attracting 12 teams. The club now hosts a 3 day tournament in June and July each year at its home ground, attracting over 138 boys and girls teams. It is recognised as the most organised and the best tournament in the Midlands. In 1997, Melvin Madeley stepped down from his role as Chairman to concentrate upon work commitments and was succeeded by Keith Hardy.

In 1999, the club was recognised for its efforts in the Community and was delighted to receive an Heraldic Shield from Great Wyrley Parish Council. The 1990s onwards has seen tremendous on-field success with many league titles and cups won each year. In the season 2003/2004 alone, the clubs teams won 4 league titles, 4 runners-up, 3 cup winners, 1 Staffs Cup runners-up and for the first time won the Staffs County Cup at Under 16 level. The club is now a registered charity and its aims are to provide football facilities for individuals of all abilities.
In 2002, the club achieved FA Development Club Charter status and topped this in 2003 by attaining the FA Community Club Charter status, one of only 120 nationally at that time. In September 2004, the club was recognised by the Staffordshire FA as Community Club of the year. Keith Hardy, Chairman, also received a Workforce Volunteer Award.

The aim of the club has always been to have its own base, and in 2003 obtained planning permission for 3 pitches, 6 changing rooms and a clubhouse. Planning permission for a revised scheme that met Football Foundation criteria was granted in November 2009. A 50 year lease is in place from Essington Parish Council and the Club subsequently raised £1.1m needed to build the project.

In February 2004 the first of an annual schools tournaments was held at Great Wyrley High School, with Cheslyn Hay Primary winning the first competition. The second tournament was held in November with Lower Farm Primary School winning. In February 2005 the club was delighted to announce that it had accepted Walsall FC’s offer to become their official feeder club. The following month the club signed an agreement with Cheslyn Hay Sports College to become their official football club partner. The Club also received the Walsall MBC Club Mark recognition later that year, which was renewed in 2010.

In September 2006 the Club received amazing recognition, becoming Community Club of the Year for Staffordshire for the second time in 3 years but also topped that with Community Club of the West Midlands Region – in effect being within the top 8 clubs in the UK!

The Club celebrated 25 years in existence with a celebration dinner in June 2007 attended by representatives from local High Schools, Primary Schools, Parish Councils, Staffs FA and Walsall FC.

In September 2009, the Club received the FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year award for the THIRD time in 6 years, cementing it’s place as the premier Junior Club in the county. Steve Foster also received the Young Volunteer of the Year Award from Staffordshire FA.
In October 2009, the club won the Regional vote of a Norwich Union competition ‘Join Our Team’ and won £13,500 in the process.

In March 2010, the Club received an Heraldic Shield from Cheslyn Hay Parish Council for its sporting achievements in the community.

In June 2010, Keith Hardy, Chairman, heard that he had received a Regional FA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Community Football and was runner up nationally.

In July 2010, Julie Bennett attended a Basic Sign Language Course for Football and as a result the Club became one of only 70 Deaf Friendly clubs nationally.

In September 2010, Emily Quimby and Catherine Davis heard that they had received Young Volunteer of the Year Awards from Staffordshire Football Association.

In January 2011, the Club started the build of it’s £1.15m complex at Long Lane, Essington. The build took 9 months, with the pitches used from the 2013/14 season.

In July 2011, the Club learned that it had won Staffs FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year for the fourth time in 8 years and also Regional Community Club of the Year for the second time. It capped this with being voted as NATIONAL Community Club of the Year i.e. top Club in England!

In August the Club picked up the National Community Club award at Wembley Stadium, with the Club name being flashed around the advertising hoardings throughout the Community Shield Game between Manchester United and Manchester City.

On October 1st 2011, the Club opened its doors on its brand new, state of the art Clubhouse at Long Lane.

In October 2011, the Club won the Black Country Community Club of the Year 2011 Award – a fine achievement as it was up against club in every sport.

In November 2011 it won the Walsall Volunteer Organisation of the Year award for its efforts in engaging volunteers and also hosted the FA Cup trophy.

In June 2012, it co-organised a series of sporting events between Parishes to celebrate the Olympic Torch coming through the village. It also hosted Essington PC’s event to celebrate the torch visit.

In September 2012, Sir Trevor Brooking formally opened the Club’s ground.

In June 2013, the Club heard that it had won the Staffs FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year for the fifth time in 10 years.

On June 2nd, 2013, the Club received the ultimate accolade – being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services. This is the highest award any volunteer organisation can achieve and is equivalent to an M.B.E.! This was presented to the club by the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire in front of a packed clubhouse on October 22nd.

On August 10th 2013 the club was one of 150 clubs or leagues nationally to be asked to hold an event for Sir Bobby Robson Day, celebrating 150 years of The FA.

In November 2013, the Club came runner up in the Lloyds Bank Community Vote in South Staffordshire, winning £3,000.

In January 2014 the club accepted Nike’s offer to be one of only 125 clubs nationally who are part of Team Nike.

In August 2014 the Club hosted The Peace Games for 8 Under 10s teams and 2 disabled teams to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1.

In January 2015 the Club set up a formal link with Bunclody AFC in Ireland and also became the first club in the Region with a Ladies Veterans Team.

In May 2015 the club was awarded Staffordshire FA Community Club of the Year for the 6th time in 12 years!

In November 2015 the club was awarded the Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Community Club of the Year.

In September 2016 the club became a Learning Destination for The Children’s University.

In June 2017 the club obtained Planning Permission to develop Harrisons site with changing rooms, floodlights and a 125 seater stand.

In July 2017 the club learned that it had won the FA Community Club of the Year for Staffordshire (7th time in 14 years), the North West Regional award (third time in 11 years) and amazingly the first club to win a National award twice – FA Community Club of the Year 2017 for the whole of England!!

In November 2017 the Club was awarded the Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke On Trent Community Club of the Year for the second time and was runner up in the Black Country and South Staffordshire Awards.

In March 2023 the club was runner up nationally in the Community Club of the Year category of Sports & Recreational Alliance awards.

In July 2023, the club was awarded Staffordshire FA Club of the year – the 8th time in 20 years that the club has won a County Club award.

The club is now 42 years old and it is recognised as a force to be reckoned with – on and off the field, with the aim of being the best at everything it does.

In February 2024 the club won a community award from Essington Parish Council and also heard it was granted FA Comets Club for pan disability players aged 5 to 11.

Future plans include the completion of the redevelopment of Harrisons Ground, Hazel Lane, Great Wyrley where a 30 year lease is in place.

We now have 67 teams, including 3 adult men’s teams, 3 Ladies teams, a Lion Cubs Centre for 3 and 4 year olds; 2 Young Lions Centres for 5 and 6 year olds , 3 FA Girls Girls Wildcats Centres for 4 to 11 year olds, Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays 6.00 until 7.00, an FA Squad Girls Centre for 12/14 year olds, a Just Play Centre for adults who just want a kick about; 22 girls teams, 33 boys teams, a boys futsol team and 5 autistic teams! We also hold a Goalkeeper Centre every Wednesday 6.00 til 7.00 at Cheslyn Hay astro turf.

The Club holds it’s Committee meetings at our Long Lane clubhouse every third Monday of every other month at 7.30 – everyone is welcome.

The history of the Club is littered with success BUT the future is very bright for the black and white of WJFC!

Proud to be Wyrley!