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|Full name||Clitheroe Football Club|
|Founded||1877 (as Clitheroe Central)|
|League||Northern Premier League Division One North|
|2012–13||Northern Premier League Division One North, 8th|
Clitheroe F.C. are an English football club based in Clitheroe, Lancashire, playing in the Northern Premier League Division One North. They were established in 1877 as Clitheroe Central. After joining the Lancashire Combination in 1903, they removed Central from their name.
The club was formed as Clitheroe Central in 1877 at the Swan Hotel in Castle Street by local businessmen. After playing in local leagues the club joined the Lancashire Combination in 1903 and dropped Central from their name. The first major trophy won was the Lancashire Junior Cup in 1893 – a trophy they had to wait 92 years to win again. In 1985 at Deepdale, home of Preston North End, they defeated Barrow AFC 1–0 when Eric Geldard scored in extra time
Except for breaks during the first and second World Wars (1914–18 and 1939–45) Clitheroe played in the Lancashire Combination until the end of the 1981–82 season. They won the Lancashire Combination Cup in the 1934–35 season and the League Championship in the 1979–80 season.
For the 1982–83 season The Lancashire Combination amalgamated with the Cheshire County League to become the North West Counties League. Clitheroe became one of the founder members, however the state of the ground meant they started in the third division. There then followed one of the most successful periods in the club's long history when under the guidance of manager Eric Whalley they won the Third, Second and First Divisions in consecutive seasons.
In the 1995–96 season when under the joint managership of Dennis Underwood and Gary Butcher they played at Wembley Stadium in the final of the FA Vase. Some 7,500 people watched the game against Brigg Town and although Clitheroe won against them earlier in the season in the FA Cup the club was beaten 3–0 in the Vase Final. A public appeal to help with the visit to Wembley saw £7,400 donated by townspeople and businesses.
The last decade of the 20th Century saw most of the ten years spent getting the ground up to scratch with £130,000 being spent in the process. The sale of two players, Jon Penman and Carlo Nash, helped considerably with the expenditure on the ground. The club saw little success on the pitch after the Wembley visit until manager Steve Parry led them to the Floodlight Trophy by beating Kidsgrove Athletic 2–1 in the 1998–99 final.
Dave Burgess took over the management of the first team in 2000–01 after several successful years running the second string, with player Lee Sculpher as his assistant. In their first season they finished as league runners-up and FA Vase semi-finalists.
Early cup exits the following season enabled the Blues to concentrate on the league and their away form saw the 2003–04 NWCFL championship won on the final day of the season with a 3–2 victory at Nantwich Town – a late goal from Neil Reynolds sealing the title, the trophy lifted by captain Adam Gardner and club stalwart Keith Lord.
In November 2004 Lee Sculpher resigned as manager and short spells in charge by Paul Byron, Tommy Lawson and Mark Smitheringale followed before Chris Stammers was appointed manager on 18 September 2006. After the 10–1 loss to Kettering Town in the FA Trophy on 25 November Chris tendered his resignation citing he had taken the club as far as he could. His assistant Ash Berry took temporary charge of team affairs before the club appointed Neil Reynolds and Kendal's veteran player Peter Smith as the new management team on December 6
They have reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup in seasons 1959–60, 1965–66 and 1967–68.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.