Radcliffe Borough's History-Making Season

Published on 7 May 2024 at 21:30

Underdog stories are seen as the best in the Football industry. Reaching a stage which no doubter would have ever expected, no matter what position a team is in. From Luton Town’s illustrious achievement of promotion to the Premier League to Wigan Athletics' shocking victory in the 2013 FA Cup Final. This is how Radcliffe Borough surprised the followers of non-league Football.

The Borough’s successful season has seen an incredible rise in home attendances at the Neuven Stadium. At the beginning of the season, Radcliffe’s attendance was mixed between three and four figures from August to the beginning of December. Towards the end of the year, the attendances would consistently have a four-digit number which would bring an average of 1,275 supporters from Boxing Day to the last home fixture of the season on 20th April.

Radcliffe broke their home attendance record twice this season. The first time saw 2,338 supporters attend a 5-0 victory against FC United of Manchester. The record would be broken again when 2,351 followers attended the last home game of the season with fans witnessing a 1-1 draw against Basford United along with a trophy lift at the end of the game.

The Chairman, Paul Hilton, has been delighted to see the increase in attendances and has patiently waited for Radcliffe to become a much stronger team when he first joined the club back in 2016.

“It’s been seven years of hard work.” Hilton said. “We started off with a lot to work with, a club that had a great past, but not having a positive-looking future.”

“We’ve gone from having 70 fans and a couple of dogs watching to having a thousand every Saturday.” Hilton added.

The community of Radcliffe has become more stronger than ever before as fans are more sociable with each other along with the employees of the Football club.

Pete, who has not revealed his surname for personal reasons, has been astonished with how the community has improved in the Radcliffe area since Paul Hilton became the chairman of the club.

“One of the biggest achievements they’ve had here is the way they have engaged with the local community, from linking in the children’s Football side of things to voluntary type projects.” Pete said.

“I feel really proud to be associated with the club. Paul has made a big impact with the club with developing 4G pitches near the stadium so the team can train in the Radcliffe area as well as have 3G pitches for grassroots Football.” Pete added.

When matches are not being played at the Neuven Stadium, some of the local supporters will look to follow high-tier Football clubs around the Greater Manchester area, such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers and Stockport County.

James, who has also not revealed his surname for personal reasons, has been amazed that so many of the fans have stayed committed and dedicated to watching the Borough at the stadium rather than watching the bigger teams in Greater Manchester back at home.

“I’ve been coming here at this club for the past 20 years and this season has been our best so far. It’s amazing to see that fans of all ages are invested with the club.” James said.

When Paul Hilton took charge of Radcliffe FC, the team just about survived in the eighth tier of English Football and avoided relegation as they finished 20th in the league.

Two more seasons later, the Borough would earn promotion to the Northern Premier League which was the first time they had competed in the seventh tier of English Football since 2007.

Hilton has felt honoured to work with Radcliffe and has been patient with the progress that the club has made in terms of contesting for promotion in the Northern Premier League.

The Chairman has been keen to build on the club and has believed he could draw more Football fans to watching Radcliffe. In their most successful season, Radcliffe have seen the most spectators in the club’s history.

“Radcliffe’s a proper working-class town with football fans in it and you know that if you can get the brand of football right, you can build something special in the town.” Hilton stated.

There is no question that the 2023/24 season has been Radcliffe’s greatest-ever, becoming champions of the Northern Premier League and finally having the opportunity to play in the sixth tier of English Football.

The Borough scored over 100 goals in the league which no team has done since 2018 when Altrincham became champions of the league with 101 goals scored. The player that has made a big impact for Radcliffe is Jordan Hulme who made 39 goals involvements with the 103 goals that the team scored in the league.

Radcliffe’s last home game of the season against Basford United would prove to be a special one for the fans and community. Despite conceding a late equaliser, the Borough would not take a harsh punishment as they still would be the winners of the league.

After the final whistle, just like any Football tradition for winning the league, a pitch invasion would happen as spectators would celebrate a glorious achievement with the players and coaching staff.

The trophy lift would be special to the club to as fans and employees would surround the trophy celebrations, from a distance, as it would be the Borough’s most iconic season in the history of the club.

For the first time in the club’s history, Radcliffe will be playing in the National League North where less clubs in the Greater Manchester area will be involved.

It is most likely expected that Radcliffe will be fighting in a relegation battle next season. However, the incredible fortune they have had this season against sides that have invested more money in their team like Macclesfield, the Borough may exceed those expectations.


Written by Charlie Oxtoby

Add comment


There are no comments yet.