Colne F.C. were formed in January 1996, by a group of like-minded people under the wing of now Chairman Dave Blacklock. The enthusiasts combined their strengths and knowledge of non league football, and arrangements were made for a new club to use the vacant Holt House Stadium, once used by the Dynamoes in the North West Counties Football League Division Two.
Colne FC’s first ever competitive game was on the 17th August 1996 against Middlewich and the result ended in a 1 – 0 defeat. The team was then managed by Keith Mason, but after his resignation soon after, Denzil Hart was appointed to the hot seat. His first game was a 6 – 0 defeat away at Ashton Town, but just two games later Colne FC recorded their first ever victory thumping Bacup Borough 5 – 2. The highlight of the season, coming when the reserves won the BEP Cup at Clitheroe’s Shawbridge ground.
The clubs fourth season was eagerly awaited but in September 2000 manager Hart left the club by mutual agreement. Player John Lister was placed in temporary charge and his appointment was made permanent a month later. Lister learned lessons from this campaign and in 2001/02 finished 14th. In the summer of 2002 James Webster took control of the club, to become the youngest chairman in the league at the age of 24. James was a player at the club with plenty of experience and along with his father who was vice chairman, had a strong desire to see the current side emulate the success of its predecessors.
Season 2002/03 started well enough, but in December 2002 John Lister resigned as manager. Paul Lynch took over as manager and the improvements continued, but in August 2003, Paul was offered the position of manager at Unibond side Rossendale United and subsequently left. Webster responded immediately by appointing Nigel Coates as the new manager as well as player Gary Rishton as his number 2. Nigel had played for the Dynamoes, being in the FA Vase winning team and had experience of management at local rivals Nelson.
Season 2003/04 brought back the glory days to Colne with a string of successes. In the League Colne had to play catch up after a successful cup run, but ended the season 10 points clear in Division two, scoring 102 goals in their 38 games. We completed the double by winning the Division Two Trophy 1 – 0 over Great Harwood.
The season was capped by an amazing run in the FA Vase for a North West Counties Football League Division Two club, they progressed all the way to the semi-finals, (via an incredible 1 – 2 away win at AFC Wimbledon) before being defeated over two legs 4 – 3 on aggregate to AFC Sudbury.
As the season progressed attendances started to rise as the local population realised we were no longer the whipping boys of the league, and the infamous RED ARMY was formed.
Colne took little time in adjusting to life in the First Division, another FA Vase run and a creditable 10th place was secured in 2004 /05
Consolidation has followed and Colne FC’s highest league positions to date have been 5th in season 2007-08 and the same again in 2010-11.
At the beginning of season 2005/6 the senior sides at Colne were officially amalgamated with what was Foulridge Minors Football teams. This adds the junior section to the resources of the club and the following season was awarded Charter Standard status. In November 2013 Colne’s manager for the past 10 years stepped down from the hot seat and former Colne player Steve Cunningham was appointed manager, with another former Colne favourite Ted Cockett as his No.2 and Coach.
Steve and Ted have ambitious plans for the club and wasted no time in bringing in a few new faces to boost the playing squad, consolidating for the rest of the season but with big hopes and plans for the following seasons. In May 2014, Chairman Dave Blacklock stepped down from his role to allow Shaun O’Neill to take the club forward as Chairman.
Shaun and his business partner, Club President Lee Duerden are the driving force behind our Main sponsor XLCR Vehicle Management of Colne.
In Cunningham’s first season in charge, Colne finished in 4th place, and at that point, it was Colne’s highest ever finish. Cunningham added a few players over the summer of 2015 and the next season was to be the best in Colne’s 20 year history.
Colne won the NWCFL in dramatic style on the final day of the season with an 83rd minute Danny Boyle goal, which meant for the first time in Colne’s history they would be playing in the Northern Premier League 1st Division North aka the Evostik League. Cunningham also guided the Reds to the league cup final in which they were defeated by Atherton Collieries and the Lancashire cup semi final where they were beaten by Chorley FC.
With all this going on, due to the fantastic efforts of a strong and loyal band of followers and officials including the resurrected ‘Red Army’ and the continued support from our Main Sponsor ‘XLCR Vehicle Management’ there is a bright future on the horizon for Colne FC. This season is our 20th anniversary and Cunningham has vowed not to rest on his laurels as he hunts for successive promotions.