Shots In The Dark

Last Saturday, Aldershot Town beat local rivals Woking 4-2 at Kingsfield in the FA Trophy, to keep alive their hopes of a double of the Trophy and the Conference championship. They’ve lost just once in their last thirteen games and are currently seven points ahead of second-placed Torquay United. Should they get promoted at the end of this season, they will take their place in the Football League sixteen years after the original Aldershot FC became the first Football League club to fold in the middle of the season since Accrington Stanley, some thirty years earlier. Curiously, Aldershot’s renaissance coincides with the redemption of Spencer Trethewy, the former “property developer” whose recklessness acted as the catalyst for the original club’s closure. The original Aldershot FC, it’s fair to say, never really set the world alight. They reached the FA Cup Fifth Round in 1980 (losing to Everton after a replay), but only spent a few seasons above the Fourth Division in their fifty years in the Football League. In 1987, they raised many eyebrows for charging a £9 admission fee (a pretty huge sum at the time) for an FA Cup Third Round match against (then First Division) Oxford United. They won 3-0, but less than 2,000 people were there to watch it. They were promoted into Division Three the same year, and this is where their problems started....

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