Club History

Barton Town Old Boys Football Club was formed at the start of the 1995/96 season as a result of the amalgamation of the two longest established and most successful clubs in the North Lincolnshire town of Barton upon Humber, Barton Town FC and Barton Old Boys FC.

Barton Town had been in existence for well over 100 years, being formed in 1880, and playing out of their Marsh Lane ground, still the home of the new club, since 1927. “ Town “ was one of the founder members of the Lincolnshire League, winning it in 1960/61, before embarking on its “golden era “ over the following two decades, initially in the Midlands League and then, particularly, in the Yorkshire League The club returned to the Lincolnshire League in the early 1980’s, winning the first division title in 1981/82. The“ Swans “ remained in the league for the next 10 years before dropping out for the usual off-field reasons, lack of help and finance. Barton Old Boys had been a member of the Scunthorpe and District League since 1959. eventually boasting two sides, in the first and second divisions.

Over the ten year period from the mid-1990’s, “ Old Boys “ were arguably the most consistently successful team in the League, culminating in 1994/95 with the winning of all four major Scunthorpe League competitions, a first at the time.
In order to progress the two clubs merged and started the 1995/96 season in the Lincolnshire League. After a disastrous start, the new Barton Town Old Boys finished a very creditable fourth and won the Lincs. County Senior “B” Cup for good measure. 1996/97 saw the team’s fortunes peak, winning the League and Challenge Cup “ double since when another County Cup triumph and two more Challenge Cup titles have been added to the list of honors. After five highly successful and enjoyable seasons in the Lincolnshire League, things were starting to turn stale, on and off the pitch, so the decision was made to move on, into the newly-formed Humber Premier League for the start of the 2000/01 season, Despite being the only side from south of the River Humber, the team performed well, finishing third However, in order to gain a foothold on The Football Pyramid, the decision was made to move on again. Consequently, Barton Town Old Boys joined the Central Midlands League for the start of the 2001/02 season, bringing in Leigh Palin as first team coach to work alongside manager Peter Mitchell The move paid off as the team finished runners up in the Premier Division, gaining automatic promotion to the Supreme Division for the start of the 2002/03 season.

After a difficult start to the following season, Leigh Palin left the club in October 2002 and was succeeded in January 2003 by Alex Irvine who joined the club as joint manager, working alongside ex Hull City and Brigg Town stalwart, player Neil Buckley. After flirting with relegation, the team put together an excellent run of nine wins from the last 12 games to finish a difficult season in a relatively comfortable 13th position. Irvine left the club that summer, leaving Buckley in sole charge and it has been a story of further progress since then. 2003/04 saw the team finish in 7th place, separated from the top six by goal difference only. There was further improvement in 2004/05 as Buckley, alongside long-serving Old Boys player Ian Durnian as assistant manager, saw the progress continue as the team claimed fourth spot, being denied a top three place only because of a draw in the final game of the season. Summer 2005 marked the installation of state of the art floodlights at the Marsh Lane ground and that, along with the securing of a long term sponsorship deal with Paul Vickers of Lindsey Relay, the local Euronics Centre, signalled the club’s intent both on and off the pitch prior to season 2005/06. On the pitch, that intent was certainly realized as the title of Supreme Division Champions 2005/06 was added to the club’s list of honours Along with the reserve side’s promotion to the top flight of the Humber Premier League, it was certainly a season to remember for all involved with the club.

Off the field, ground grading requirements prohibited promotion to the Northern Counties East League, the club‘s immediate ambition. As a result of that undoubted setback the club embarked on an extensive redevelopment programme, bringing in Paul Friskney as Chief Executive Officer to oversee the project which involved, amongst other things, turning the playing area and floodlights through 90°, new access, car-parking, changing rooms, clubhouse and stands. Supreme Division runners-up at the end of the 2005/07 season, the club was in the fortunate position of being considered once more for promotion to the Northern Counties East League and this time the facilities were not found wanting. As a consequence, 2007/08 saw the club begin a whole new era, a perfect end to all the hard work put in, on and off the field, over the last few years and a fitting tribute to Denis Cox, who has been involved with Barton Town F.C. for over half a century Ninth place in Division One was the outcome of the club’s first foray in the NCEL, a comfortable finish, albeit a little disappointing bearing in mind the team had been promotion contenders until around about the turn of the year, before loss of form, injuries and suspensions took their toll A great run in the League Cup, which saw a number of Premier Division sides beaten at Marsh Lane en route to the semi-final provided some consolation for missing out.

After five successful seasons at the helm, late July 2008 saw the shock resignation of Neil Buckley, due to increased work commitments. Despite that blow, the club responded promptly, promoting coach Carl Stead to the hot seat to work alongside existing assistant manager, Ian Durnian and newly-appointed player/coach, Craig Burdick to send out the
message that it was very much“ business as usual The story of the 2008/09 season was another one of steady, if unspectacular, improvement. A fifth place finish was the outcome, but, in a worrying case of history repeating itself, not before another dreadful dip in form in the new year, which saw the team slump from genuine promotion contenders to mid table contenders. Barton ran eleven points adrift of a guaranteed promotion slot. The disappointment of missing out was compounded by the loss of a number of key senior players who had been instrumental, with others, in the club’s success over the previous four seasons. The lure of football at a higher level. something that the club had signally failed to provide, proved to be too strong. The 2009/10 season proved to be another season of two halves. In contrast to the previous two seasons, it began poorly. one or two bright spots notwithstanding, and, plagued by a terrible run of injuries, showed little sign of improvement as the season wore on With the team marooned in mid-table in late November 2009 and finding it increasingly difficult to balance family and work commitments with football, Carl Stead resigned, Ian Durnian assumed the mantle of caretaker until a new management team of Dave Anderson and Mally Parker was appointed in early January 2010.

And so 2010 saw the start of a new chapter in the history of the club. The new faces had the desired effect. Players, both old and new, responded superbly to the promptings and demands of the new management duo, finishing the second half of the season in fine style. A sixth place finish, largely on the back of an unbeaten away run stretching back to January, bears testimony to the great strides forward made under the new regime In their first full season at the helm, and in a huge testament to the management team and all the players involved, Anderson and Parker guided the side to promotion to the Premier Division, the highest level in the history of the club and achieved a full two seasons ahead of schedule. Not without a few nervous moments along the way, promotion was finally secured on the last day of a memorable season. After a fraught start, the first season in the top flight saw the club finish a creditable 11”‘, helped in no small way by a seven match winning streak, part of a longer unbeaten run in all competitions during November and December. The team also made it through to two cup finals, the County Senior Trophy and the President‘s Cup and although missing out, narrowly, in both, they too marked a significant step forward.

Season 2012/13 saw the club achieve its main aim, that of consolidating and improving on the previous seasons mid-table finish, hovering amongst the top six. And on merit, for much of the campaign, a disappointing late run of seven league games without a win, although countered by an equally fine run-in of seven games unbeaten. saw the club finish in eighth place, still a very encouraging achievement. The award of the F A.‘s Charter Standard and the re-introduction of an Under 19’s side under the management of Stefan Wolkowski, alongside assistant, Matt Hammond in the Northern Alliance signaled the club’s future intent, to become a true ” community club ” by nurturing and developing local youngsters with a view to eventually blooding them in the first team alongside established players from further afield. This philosophy was further enhanced by the establishment, under Dave Wilson and Shaun Hannah, of an Under 18’s side in the Summer of 2014 along with the development of a strong working partnership with established local junior set-up, Barton United FC with further ground improvements being undertaken in the close-season, 2013/’14 saw the first team looking for further consolidation by establishing itself as a top six side.

To the immense credit of players and management alike, the team exceeded all expectations to claim the runners-up spot behind worthy winners, Brighouse Town. An increasingly youthful and very closely-knit squad created, in the process, a club record 23 game unbeaten league run stretching over a full five months during which, and for the first ever time in the club’s relatively short history, the team hit top spot, mid-run, in late December, staying there over the Christmas and New Year turn before eventually being pegged back.

The 2016/17 season was a rollercoaster of a season for Barton that ultimately ended in relegation from the NCEL Premier Division. After undergoing a big revamp with a new committee, the management that has spanned over 6 years departed. Along with the departure of the management, a big amount of the players did too, forcing new Player Manager Paul Foot to replace ex-Manager Dave Anderson and try to salvage what he could, in order to have a squad that could compete in the NCEL Premier Division. Dave Botham came in as the new Assistant Manager & Physio for the season. The team endured a bad start to the season, and by Christmas was bottom of the table, with virtually no chance of survival. The additions of ex-Hull City players Ryan Williams and Gary Bradshaw brought a big amount of spine to the team, and the results began to come with that. In what was nearly the best comeback in a long while in the NCEL Premier Division, Barton were relegated down to the wire on the second-to-last fixture of the season. It was a very valiant effort, and it was a difficult pill to swallow as every fan knew the season would have finished very differently with the squad they had. The future for the club in the behind-the-scene stabilised hugely with Mark Gregory after a full season into the role of the Chairman of the club.

Despite being in the relegation zone, at the beginning of June 2017, The Swans were handed a lifeline in the form of a reprieve in the NCEL Premier Division. Ilkeston FC were wound up following financial problems – and this meant that Premier Division status was handed back to Barton, with a lot of people after watching the Swans, feeling this was deserved after their fantastic form in the second half of the season when the team settled.

The Swans went in to the 2017-18 season with Dave Botham at the helm, having swapped roles with Paul Foot. A full drama free pre-season, lessons learned from last season and an influx of new players, including a host of promising youngsters from the successful under-19’s squad meant Barton had renewed optimism ahead of the start of the season.

Despite Botham’s tireless work however, that optimism soon faded as a grim reality kicked in. Off the field success, largely on the back of unstinting efforts by Mark Gregory and his team was regrettably not reflected where it matters most. With the first team languishing in the relegation zone, the lowest point came after an ignominious exit in the FA Vase, resulting in Botham and Foot leaving the club immediately after that game. The club wasted no time in finding replacements, bringing in the highly regarded Dave Ricardo, who had just guided Hall Road Rangers to the Division One title. He brought in respected former Bridlington Town boss Gary Allanson as his assistant.

Their brief was simple enough, avoid a ‘groundhog day’ repeat of the previous season’s travails and re-establish the club as a driving force to be reckoned with at this level. By the end of January the club were sat in 20th place, with only five wins and a draw from 27 games. The winter months saw the match schedule wrecked by the worst weather the area had suffered for many years, and this extended well into the early months of 2018. However after the enforced break, the team came back revitalised and put together a winning run of 14 games, in which they only conceded seven goals. They also only dropped eight points from a possible 42. The Swans rose up the table in no time. The away win at Worksop Town on 21st April 2018 saw the club celebrate the success of club ‘legend’ Gaz Barlow, who scored his 300th goal for the club. A remarkable achievement at any level of football. This period of success saw the club finish 12th in the league. An incredible turnaround considering their position at Christmas.

Gary Allanson stepped down at the end of the season and Ricardo brought in ex-Hull City and Darlington player James Bennett to be his new number two. The mission statement this season was to aim for the top six of the NCEL Premier Division table. After a good start to the season, despite squandering a 3-0 lead in the FA Cup replay against Clipstone to lose 4-3, the Swans sat top of the table in September after an undefeated start. A poor winter period followed and the club fell into mid table obscurity. The Swans ended the season strongly and finished 11th, making progress on the 2017/18 season.

Ricardo and Bennett reshaped the squad for the 2019/20 season. Bringing in the likes of Ben Hinchliffe and Grimsby Town legend Craig Disley. However it was a slow start to the season, despite encouraging cup runs, with the Swans reaching the preliminary round of the FA Cup, and the second qualifying round of the FA Vase. With just one win from their first six league games, Ricardo was relieved of his duties on September 21, following a 5-2 loss to Grimsby Borough. Bennett oversaw the next two games before a successor was brought in.

Ex-Worksop Town manager Craig Denton was appointed on September 28, bringing in Rob Watson as his assistant. Another switch in playing personnel was made, with a host of players leaving and some new faces being brought in. The restructure worked for the club as Denton and Watson steered the club from the bottom of the league to mid table stability by the time the season was curtailed in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In May 2020 Denton resigned from his role due to work commitments and needing to be closer to home in Sheffield. Rob Watson took over as manager, bringing in ex-Hull City player Nathan Peat as his assistant. The COVID-19 Pandemic again called an early end to the season after just 14 competitive games were played. The NCEL Premier Division season was curtailed and the Swans were ninth in the table at the time of the curtailment.

Peter Mitchell and Ian Durnian were appointed as Co-Directors of Football as Chairman Mark Gregory wanted to put his focus into the commercial side of the club and entrust on the field matters to two Barton stalwarts. Their first job was to hire a new manager as Rob Watson resigned due to work commitments in April 2021. The pair appointed former Grimsby Town strikers Nathan Jarman and Danny North to be Manager and Assistant Manager respectively.

Following a less than stellar start to the season, the Swans soon found their feet. Going on an 18 game unbeaten league run, as well as progressing to the Third Round Proper of the FA Vase; the furthest the club has ever been in the competition. A heartbreaking last-gasp defeat at home to North Shields ending the Swans’ historic run. Barton finished the league season in seventh place, the highest the club has been for a few years. The club also made it to the League Cup Final played at Doncaster Rovers’ Eco-Power Stadium. For the first time in ten years, the Swans were in the Final of a competition, and following a tense affair with Garforth Town, the Swans prevailed. Tom Waudby’s winning goal in extra-time securing the Swans some silverware.

Jarman and North delivered in their first season in charge, and have laid the foundations for what should be another exhilarating season of football at the Easy Buy Stadium.