Founded in 1886, Shrewsbury Town have, like most clubs, experienced mixed fortunes in their history.
The origins for Shrewsbury Town can be traced back to 1879 when an early version of Shrewsbury entered the Shropshire Challenge Cup. However, they were unable to raise a team for a game against Newport and disappeared from the scene.
Shrewsbury became a hotbed for football with nearly 40 teams in the county town. One of the leading sides were Castle Blues. In 1886 Castle Blues were beaten by Wellington Town in the first round of the Shropshire. A month later Wellington faced another Shrewsbury side Castle Rovers. During the game spectators invaded the pitch and started attacking the Wellington players. Three of those arrested were Castle Blues players and it spelt the end for the club who folded at the end of the 1885/86 season.
On the 20th May 1886 Shrewsbury Town were officially formed, with a number of Castle Blues players joining the club. The club began playing at the Racecourse Ground at Monkmoor, but moved to Ambler’s field in 1889, Sutton Lane in 1893 and the Copthorne Barracks Ground in 1895.
Town moved to the Gay Meadow in 1910 and it would remain their home until 2007. The first competitive fixture played at the ground was against Wolves Reserves with Billy Scarratt scoring the first competitive goal in front of 3,000 fans.
When football resumed after the First World War, Town had their first golden era. A new stand was built in October 1922 and Town ended the 1922-23 season as Birmingham League Champions for the first time.
Town continued to improve and in 1938 they won the Midland League at the first attempt. They also reached the final of the Welsh Senior Cup and came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 in front of around 14,500 fans. Extra time wasn’t played and Town won the replay the following season.
After World War Two once again stopped football action, Town eventually joined the Football League in 1950 following a successful election campaign. Town’s first game in the Football League Northern Section Division Three took place against Wrexham with a record crowd of 16,070 watching Town win 2-1.
Town’s first real footballing legend was Arthur Rowley. Rowley joined Town from Leicester City and scored 38 goals in his first season, helping Town gain promotion from the Fourth Division. Rowley scored 152 league goals for Town taking his overall career tally to 434 goals, a league record which remains to this day. Rowley retired from playing in 1965, but continued to manage Town and guided them to the FA Cup Fifth Round two years in a row.
Perhaps Town’s most famous side is that of 1979. Managed by Graham Turner, Town were promoted to the second division for the first time in their history thanks to a 4-1 victory over Exeter City. Town remained in the second tier for 10 years, including consecutive eighth place finishes in 1984 and 1985.
Town began to drop down the leagues and although they survived on the final day of the 1999/2000 season, they dropped out of the league in 2003. Earlier in the season Town had caused one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history, beating Everton 2-1 thanks to two Nigel Jemson goals. But, they struggled to find another win after that and were relegated to the Conference.
Thankfully, the stay in non-league was short lived as Town bounced back at the first time of asking. Scott Howie was the hero saving three penalties as Town beat Aldershot in the play-off final. Trevor Chalis scored the winning penalty at the Britannia Stadium.
Town reached the League Two Play-Off Final in their final season at the Gay Meadow, losing 3-1 to Bristol Rovers, before leaving their home on the banks of the River Severn to move into a new stadium built for the 21st Century.
The 10,000 all-seater New Meadow hosted its first game on 14th July 2007 with Town beating the A-Line All Stars 4-0. The new stadium has brought about considerable success.
Town legend Graham Turner returned to the club in 2010 and guided them to League Two promotion in his second season with the club, before preserving their status the following season.
Town dropped back down to League Two in 2014, but the stay was short lived as new manager Micky Mellon guided Shrewsbury to promotion in his first season as manager. Mellon enjoyed considerable success at Town, reaching the fourth round of the League Cup in 2014 where they faced Chelsea in front of a Greenhous Meadow record of 10,210. Before reaching the FA Cup Fifth Round the following season, losing to Manchester United.
Mellon left the club in October 2016 and was replaced by former Grimsby Town Manager Paul Hurst. Hurst took over a side which sat bottom of League One, but a brilliant second half of the 2016/17 season saw Town escape relegation.
The 2017/18 season then became a memorable one for everyone connected with the club. The season started with a 16 game unbeaten run in the league and ended with two trips to Wembley. The first came in the Checkatrade Trophy Final as Town were beaten 1-0 by Lincoln City. Unfortunately, the run of defeats a Wembley continued just seven weeks later as they were beaten 2-1 by Rotherham United in the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final. Those defeats mean that Shrewsbury have now lost all five of their trips to the National Stadium. Just two days after the Play-Off Final Paul Hurst left to join Ipswich Town and he was replaced with John Askey from Macclesfield Town.
ARCHIVE - Town v Exeter City 78/7917 May 2019
In Town Talk our matchday programme we have looked back at the 1978/79 season, here is Bob Davis match report from the final game of the season at home to Exeter City
ARCHIVE - Conference Play-off Final Behind The Scenes16 May 2019
On Sunday 16th May 2004 Shrewsbury Town travelled to the Britannia Stadium to take on Aldershot Town in the National Conference Play-Off Final
Your 10 Years at Oteley Road14 February 2018
What are you memories and highlights of 10 Years At Oteley Road
Shrewsbury Town Remembers1 January 2018
We remember those fans and players who sadly passed away in 2017
Ian McNeill11 October 2017
Bob Davies reflects on Ian McNeill’s life and his time at Shrewsbury Town
Ian McNeill8 October 2017
The club are saddened by the news of the sad passing of former manager Ian McNeill
Ken Woodhouse20 July 2017
Shrewsbury Town have been saddened to hear of the passing of ex club Chairman Ken Woodhouse.