LOOKING BACK - May 16, 2019 edition

Ian Crawley and manager Ron Bradbury celebrate after the win at Warwick
Ian Crawley and manager Ron Bradbury celebrate after the win at Warwick

VS Rugby

Thanks to Keith Coughlan for his help with this week’s column and reminding me that 1994 was the last time the town’s Butlin Road football club - VS Rugby as they were called back then - were promoted. Incredibly fans have been waiting 25 years for it to happen again.

The very successful VS Rugby team in the 1993-94 season

The very successful VS Rugby team in the 1993-94 season

That record-breaking season also saw their best ever points tally of 92, their most wins, longest ever home run without defeat and highest score away from home.

The team (pictured) only lost one game at home throughout 1993-94 and Ashley Warner was the league’s top goal scorer with 35.

The previous season had seen VS Rugby relegated to the Beazer Midland division after six years in the Premier - and chairman Roy Gallimore put the club into liquidation. With a new board having taken over, home crowds averaged 450, boosted by an exciting FA Cup run. After narrowly missing out on an FA Cup 3rd Round home tie with Tottenham Hotspur the previous season, VS had bounced back in October 1993 by winning a 4th Qualifying Round replay 2-1 at Harrow Borough, with two Ian King goals . The previous Saturday 826 Butlin Road fans had seen the sides draw 2-2.

That victory meant that Ron Bradbury’ and Bob Stockley’s rebuilt team earned an FA Cup 1st Round Proper home fixture against Brentford on November 13, 1993.

Brentford were in the Football League Division 2 (what is now Division 1)and won 3-0 with the Butlin Road crowd a magnificent 3,006.

There was another huge 747 crowd on New Year’s Day when Newport AFC visited Butlin Road and drew 1-1.

The game against eventual champions Rushden & Diamonds was also a massive attraction on April 2, 1994 with a gate of 1,233 seeing the points shared at 2-2.

Our 25 years ago archive for this week: May 12, 1994

VS Rugby have pulled off a fairytale ending to a dream season. Saturday’s celebrations went on into the early hours after their 2-0 win at Racing Club Warwick, thanks to goals from Simon Mason and Ashley Warner, which clinched the runners-up spot and promotion. Now life back in the Beazer Premier Division beckons - just a year after it seemed there would be no club at all. At the start of the season supporters were just happy to have a team. But expectations rose as they kept to the top of the table.