Promoted to Nationwide Division Three 1999. Relegated to Vanarama National League 2015.
Promoted to League Two 2016.
1896-1901 t u v
1932-1938 a o w
circa 1957 g
1965-1966 early n
1965-1966 late g n
1981-1982 q s
1982-1983 e j
1987-1988 a c d
1996-1997 d p s
1997-1999 b c m
1999-2000 b l
2000-2002 b m
2006-2008 a m
Until recently it was believed that Cheltenham Town was founded in 1892 but research published on the club's web site (April 2010) states that it came into being five years earlier. Credit goes to a native of the town, Albert Close White who became a devotee of the association game while at college in London and introduced it to Cheltenham when he returned to take up a teaching post. The club was formed after trials were held at the East Gloucestershire cricket ground in 1887.
It is unclear what the team wore in their formative years although it is implied by a report in the Cheltenham Chronicle (29th August 1896) that they were common to many of their opponents (white shirts perhaps?). This same report confirms that the committee decided to adopt ruby shirts, giving rise to their nickname of “The Rubies.”
Cheltenham played in local leagues until 1932 when the decision was taken to turn professional and join the Birmingham Combination. At this time the ruby shirts were dropped in favour of red and white hoops.
Three years later Cheltenham joined the Southern League, where they remained for the next 50 years.
The Gloucestershire Echo reported on 16 July 1938 that the hooped shirts were to be replaced with a new outfit of white shirts with red collars and sleeves, black "knicks" with a red or white stripe. black socks with red and white tops. Furthermore "on the pocket as an emblem there will be a red robin." (The version shown here is an impression of how it may have appeared.).
Success did not arrive until the mid-1950s when the Robins (as they were now nicknamed) achieved six consecutive placings in the top six and won the Southern League Cup in 1958. In 1969 they dropped into the second tier of the Southern League and although they returned to the Premier Division in 1977, they narrowly failed to qualify for the Alliance Premier League, which was formed in 1979 and was the forerunner of the Conference.
After a further period of mediocrity, Cheltenham won the Southern League championship in 1985 to earn promotion to the Football Conference. The club crest, which is the coat of arms of Cheltenham, was adopted in 1991. After seven years at the top level of non-League competition, Cheltenham were relegated back to the Southern League but they returned in 1997. Two years later Cheltenham sealed the Conference title with a dramatic 3-2 win against Yeovil and with it a place in the Football League.
After two very creditable finishes, the Robins reached the play-off final in 2002 where they beat Rushden & Diamonds for a place in Nationwide Division Two. Life at this higher level proved too challenging, however, and the club were relegated at the end of their first season. Indeed, the team has ever since bounced between the two lower divisions.
For the 2010-11 season a brand new crest was introduced, a smart modernistic design that revived the robin motif, the team's traditional nickname. The following season, to mark their 125th anniversary, an all-ruby strip was used. The colour proved popular with supporters and was retained when striped shirts returned in 2012-13.
For the 2014-15 season more familiar red and white striped shirts were adopted but the return to this traditional look was not matched by success on the field and the Robins were relegated to the rebranded National League but they bounced back immediately, winning the title with 12 points to spare.
- (a) Cheltenham Town Official Website
- (b) empics
- (c) Alliance to Conference (John Harman 2005)
- (d) Ade Williams
- (d) jumpers4goalposts
- (e) Mark Halliwell
- (f) David King
- (g) Mike Weaver
- (h) Ralph Pomeroy
- (i) Fabrizio Taddei (Errea)
- (j) Mark Alton
- (k) Brendan Lewis
- (l) Stefan Cooper
- (m) Keith Ellis (HFK Research Associate)
- (n) Simon Monks
- (o) Warren Lyons
- (p) Paul Evans
- (q) Michael Gluck
- (r) Margate FC History submitted by Richard Ralph
- (s) The Non-League Directory
- (t) Cheltenham Chronicle (29 August 1896) submitted by Brian Webb
- (u) Gloucestershire Echo (15 August 1900) submitted by Brian Webb
- (v) Gloucestershire Echo (13 April 1901) submitted by Brian Webb
- (w) Gloucestershire Echo (16 July 1938) submitted by Brian Webb
- (x) Gloucestershire Echo (20 August 1932) submitted by Brian Webb
Crests are the property of Cheltenham Town FC. Photograph courtesy the club's Official Website.