Thornbury Town Football Club are a football team based in Thornbury, just north of Bristol. They currently play in the Gloucestershire County League at the eleventh tier of English football.
The exact date of the formation of a football club in Thornbury is uncertain, but it is known that football was being played in the town in 1896 and that there was a Thornbury Town Club in 1898. In their early days only friendly matches were played but the club then joined the Dursley & Wotton League.
During the years up until the First War World, football was played on a number of different pitches in the town, but after the War the club settled at the Blakes ground which is now the top part of the old Grammar School field. At this stage the club were competing in the Bristol & Suburban League.
In 1923 the Wesleyan & Free Church League was formed in Bristol, which led to a split in the Town club, with a Thornbury Wesleyan team being formed to play in the new league. In 1933 the two clubs amalgamated to form Thornbury Sports and this is the club which is now running, although the "Sports" was later dropped to become Thornbury AFC before "Town" was added to the title in the early 1970s.
During the Second World War, The Maritime Regiment was stationed in Thornbury and it was with their help that the club was re-formed when hostilities ended. Unfortunately club secretary Mervyn Burns was killed in the war and many of the club's records were lost with his passing. At this time the club started playing at its present home at the Mundy Field, although in those days where was no changing facilities at the ground and players had to change at such places as the Exchange Hotel (now the Knot of Rope) and even at the Market.
The early years were a bit of a struggle but in 1949-50 the District League Division 3 title was won, and promotion to the top division followed two years later. 1956-57 saw the club achieve its first major honour winning the Premier Combination Championship. A dinner held in celebration was graced by the presence of Sir Stanley Rous who was the Chairman of the Football Association at the time.
Subsequent relegations left them rebuilding once again in the mid-1960s, but they won the Second Division championship in 1965-66 and in 1968-69 the club became founder members of the Gloucestershire County League. Whilst never actually winning the Championship the early years in the County League were relatively successful and crowds for the home fixtures in the Mundy's often topped 500.
In 1971 the club finished third in the league and were accepted into the Western League but because of difficulties in bringing the ground up to the required standard were unable to take the step up. Relegation followed in 1977 when the club rejoined the Bristol Premier Combination.
The next 20 or so years saw Town striving to regain their former status and until the late nineties they never really threatened to take the Premier Combination title and thus ensure promotion. The only success in that period was when they reached the final of the GFA Senior Amateur Cup on two occasions. In 1985-1986 they lost 3-2 to RWP in the last competitive game to be played at Eastville Stadium, and in 1989-90 they were losing finalists once more when Bristol Manor Farm Reserves won 1-0 at Yate Town.
The late nineties saw the club maintain a strong focus on local talent and this eventually bore fruit. The appointment of former player John Hucker as first team manager in 1999 saw a rise in fortunes and they reached the final of the Stroud Charity Cup at the end of that season, losing narrowly to Dursley Town. The following season saw the club finish 4th in the league, having topped the table for most of the campaign, only to fall away in the last month.
Dave Wiffle, who had given many years service to the Thorns as a player, following a professional career that included Bath City, Manchester City and Clevedon Town, then took up the reins, assisted by Steve Burbage, another former player with a long association with the club. In their first season in charge, Town took the Premier Combination title by 13 points after a highly successful campaign that included a run of 13 consecutive league wins and finally achieved that elusive County League spot once more. They also reached the final of the League Cup, losing to Sea Mills Park.
That summer saw a lot of hard work undertaken at the Mundys, with the building of dug-outs and £16,000 spent on improved drainage and some revamping of the dressing rooms. All the work seemed well worth it with the first season back in the County League seeing the club at the top of the table for some three months until the turn of the year. Unfortunately a dip in form after the New Year saw Thorns drop down the table but still finish in a creditable 7th position with 55 points.
The 2003-04 season again saw the team top the table briefly but a poor run of results led to Thorns sliding down the table to again finish in 7th place. However some silverware came their way when they beat Taverners on penalties, after a 2-2 draw, to lift the Stroud Charity Cup at Shortwood United’s ground. This season also saw the formation of an Under-18 side under the stewardship of Terry Payton and they gained entry to the Gloucester County Youth League.
Thornbury again finished 7th the following season, but the next two seasons proved to be disappointing and having been relegated at the end of the 2006 - 07 season, a new committee and first team management were appointed. Dave Lippiatt took over as first team manager, coming to the club from Sea Mills Park.
Thornbury finished 9th in the 2008/09 season and are looking to improve on that position with several new acquisitions in the close season.