The club was formed as Clitheroe
Central in 1877 at the Swan Hotel in Castle
Street by local businessmen. After
playing in local leagues the club joined the
Lancashire Combination in 1903 and dropped
Central from their name.
major trophy won was the Lancashire Junior Cup in
1893 - a trophy they had to wait 92 years to win
again. In 1985 at Deepdale, home of Preston North
End, they defeated Barrow 1-0 with local lad Eric
Geldard scoring in extra time.
Except for breaks during the first
and second World Wars (1914-18 and 1939-45)
Clitheroe played in the Lancashire Combination
until the end of the 1981-82 season. They won the
Lancashire Combination Cup in the 1934-35 season
and the League Championship in the 1979-80 season.
For the 1982/83 season The
Lancashire Combination amalgamated with the
Cheshire County League to become the North West
Counties League. Clitheroe became one of the
founder members, however the state of the ground
meant they started in the third division. There
then followed one of the most successful periods
in the club's long history when under the
guidance of manager Eric Whalley (now Chairman of
Accrington Stanley) they won the Third, Second
and First Divisions in consecutive seasons.
Captained by Mick Ashcroft the team regularly
attracted bumper gates, with the championship
winning season seeing three crowds of over 1000.
Cracks started to appear when
Whalley took over the manager's seat at
Accrington Stanley and took almost the whole
first team with him. To compound matters, the new
UniBond Division 1 was formed but a lack of
floodlights meant the Blues could not take their
rightful place and they found teams effectively
It was not until the mid-1990s
that the club recovered from this setback and
started to fulfil its potential and not only to
become a force in the NWCFL Division 1 again but
also make itself known on the national FA Vase
Possibly the highlight of the club's history came
when the Blues reached the 1995-96 FA Vase Final
under the joint managership of Dennis Underwood
and Gary Butcher after an epic two legged Semi
final win against Mangotsfield United from
Bristol. 2050 people were on Shawbridge for the 2nd
leg when a deflected goal saw the Blues home with
7 minutes of extra time remaining. The Wembley
final pitted the Blues against a powerful Brigg
Town side and a 0-3 reverse in front of 7500 fans
was a fair reflection of the play.
The last decade of the 20th
Century saw most of the 10 years spent getting
the ground up to scratch with £130,000 being
spent in the process. The sale of 2 players, Jon
Penman to Southport and Carlo Nash to Crystal
Palace (within a month of the Vase final), helped
considerably with the expenditure on the ground.
saw little success on the pitch after the Wembley
visit until manager Steve Parry led them to the
Floodlight Trophy by beating Kidsgrove Athletic 2-1
in the 1998-99 final.
Local lad Dave Burgess took over
the management of the First Team in 2000/01 after
several successful years running the second
string, with player Lee Sculpher as his assistant.
In their first season they finished as league
runners-up and FA Vase semi-finalists.
Work commitments led to Dave standing down in
2001/02 and Lee took over and again finished as
league runners-up before losing 1-2 to Mossley in
the League Cup final at Bury's Gigg Lane ground.
Early cup exits the following
season enabled the Blues to concentrate on the
league and superb away form saw the 2003/04 NWCFL
championship won on the final day of
the season with a 3-2 victory at Nantwich Town -
a memorable late goal from Neil Reynolds sealing
a fantastic achievement.
Shock news was received November '04 when Lee
Sculpher resigned as manager and short spells in
charge by Paul Byron, Tommy Lawson and Mark
Smitheringale followed before Chris Stammers was
appointed manager on 18th September 2006. A
further shock was received immediately after the
1-10 loss to Kettering Town in the FA Trophy on
25th November when Chris tendered his resignation
citing he had taken the club as far as he could.
His assistant Ash Berry took temporary charge of
team affairs before the club appointed popular
Neil Reynolds and Kendal's veteran player Peter
Smith as the new management team on 6th December 2006.
club started to invest again in its
infrastructure both on and off the pitch. Some £50,000
has been spent on a new canteen and clubhouse,
the latter being completed one day prior to the
first game of the 2008/09 season.
|Neil Reynolds stood down towards
the end of the 2008/09 season and Peter Smith
brought in Kenny Mayers as his assistant. The
partnership led the team to the club's then highest
ever league placing of 8th at the end of the 2009/10
Just one match into the 2010/11 campaign Kenny
Mayers returned to Squires Gate to continue a
playing career and Peter Smith moved swiftly to
bring in Phil Eastwood as his playing assistant. Peter
Smith resigned amicably at the end of March 2011
and chairman Carl Garner stood down from his
position to take over the managerial reins. He
promptly won the league's Manager of the Month
Award for April by remaining unbeaten in his
first 8 games as a manager....and the club had their highest
ever finish of 6th in the 2010-11 season! Unfortunately the
2011/12 season was not a good one and Carl Garner
stepped aside in March 2012 for Lee Sculpher and
David Burgess to see the season out with
Clitheroe doing just enough to keep their Evo-Stik
In May 2012 the club appointed Paul Moore as
manager and assisted by Dave Hughes he steered
the Blues to a club record Northern Premier
League points haul of 73 points to finish in 8th place.
Paul Moore left the club by mutual consent on 12th October 2013. Ex-Blues player
Simon Garner was appointed as the new manager on 14th October
2013 with another former player Ryan Parr as his assistant.
club has invested again in its
infrastructure with new, bigger changing rooms in place ready
for the 2014/15 season and continued pitch improvement work
during the close-season ready for the 2015/16 campaign.
Garner resigned at the end of the 2015/16 season having led the team
to a decent league placing of 7th at the end of that season.
Ex-Wales international Simon Haworth was appointed as the new manager on
29th April 2016. In his first season he reached the
semi-finals of the League Cup and the Lancs FA Trophy and
finished just outside the play-offs in 7th place. Discipline
was so much improved that the club topped the Non-League
Paper's Fair Play table and picked up the PFA Fair Play award
at the National Game Awards held at Stamford Bridge in May
Simon Haworth stepped down at the end of the 2017-18 season
after reaching the final of the Lancs FA Trophy but ending the
season with a poor run of results that saw the team slide down
to 12th place. Former Warrington Town manager Stuart Mellish was appointed as the new manager on
29th April 2018 with ex-Ossett Town manager Lee Ashforth as his assistant.
After a poor start to the 2018-19 season the club accepted
Stuart Mellish's resignation on 12th September 2018 and his
assistant Lee Ashforth was named as manager 8 days later with
coach David Mannix as his assistant. Another poor run of
results at the end of the season saw Lee and his team sacked
on 29th April 2019. Ex-Lancaster City manager Phil Brown was appointed as the new manager on
8th May 2019.
The 2019-20 season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and
Phil Brown stood down as manager on 11th May 2020. The club
moved quickly and appointed former player David Lynch as new
player-manager on 15th May 2020. He will be assisted by Chris
Holland and Carl Garner who returns to the club as Director of
The 2020-21 season was also cut short due to the coronavirus
David Lynch resigned on 22nd July 2021. Senior players Billy
Priestley and Gary Stopforth were placed in interim charge the
following day and appointed as the new management team on 1st