Guildford City FC SPORTS

Guildford City FC

Guildford City Football Club (formerly Guildford United and AFC Guildford) is a football club who play their home games at The Spectrum, Parkway, Guildford. The club was originally established in 1921, folded in 1974 and then reformed in 1996. Guildford City currently play in the Southern League Division One South & West.

The club originally formed in 1920 as Guildford United, but 1927 saw the coming of Guildford as a Diocese and with it the building of a Cathedral. On that basis it was believed that Guildford would become a city so the club changed its name to “City” and its colours to red and white stripes. The original Guildford City spent their entire existence at Joseph’s Road, before it was sold for development in 1974. The ground had a huge capacity of approximately 10,000, the record attendance being 9,932 which was recorded at an FA Cup replay against Aldershot in the 1938-39 season.

Although City were unsuccessful in the League in the early stages, the FA Cup proved different when in 1928-29 they battled through the qualifying rounds to set up a tie against Queens Park Rangers in the First Round Proper . In front of a crowd of nearly 8,000 spectators they won 4-2 to set up a Second Round clash with Bournemouth which they ended up losing 5-1.

At the start of the 1936/37 season the club took the decision to turn full-time professional, appointing Haydn Green as manager and saw them crowned league champions the following season. However WWII halted progress and the team went back to becoming a part-time club afterwards. City won the title again in 1955-56 and the Southern League Cup in 1962-63 and 1966-67 before Joseph’s Road was sold in 1969-70 season which signalled the beginning of the end and on 12th February 1974 the last game at Joseph’s Road was played.

In 1996, John Woodhatch, the Mayor of Guildford at the time asked Burpham FC if they move to the Spectrum Leisure Centre and represent Guildford as a football club. Guildford Spectrum provided a venue which had the potential for development into senior football and already had floodlighting and so the new team of AFC Guildford was formed. AFC Guildford played in the Surrey Premier League, which eventually became Division One of the Combined Counties League and 2003-04 saw them win gained their first ever major honour when they were crowned champions of Division One.

Initially Spectrum Leisure Centre was an extremely basic ground but following the clubs promotion it was upgraded to meet the requirements of the division and had a covered stand with 135 seats, a new officials changing room and toilets for public use being built. In 2005 the club then changed its name to Guildford United, before acquiring the name of Guildford City soon after and the once famous name returned to senior football after an absence of over 30 years.

Further improvements were made in 2011 after City won the Combined Counties Premier Division trophy but were denied promotion due to Spectrum failing a ground grading inspection. The team did win the league again the following year and were promoted to the Southern League Division One Central division. The club is keen to relocate from the ground however, and has pursued various options including ground sharing with Woking and joining community regeneration projects, none of which has yet come to fruition. Guildford City were switched to the Southern League Division One South & West for the 2013/14 season, with former Sandhurst Town and Cove manager Dean Thomas taking the helm.

For more details, please visit the Guildford City FC website HERE.

James Martin