Newport (IW) FC – Brief History

The modern Newport IOW Football Club, with it’s well appointed St George’s Park facilities, presents a different picture from that conjured up by the club’s origins on January 27th 1888. The actual date of formation can be established from the original minute book, which is still in the club’s possession. At that time, well over 100 years ago, Newport played on a piece of land known as Well’s Field, which later became known as Church Litten.

Newport became founder members of the Isle Of Wight League in 1898 and were League Champions of that competition on four occasions, they were champions for the first time in 1908, adding further championships in 1909, 1910 and 1924. In 1927 the club became members of the Hampshire League.

The 1935/36 season saw Newport reach the 2nd Round of the FA Cup for the first time, bowing out at Southall. Newport once again reached the 2nd Round of the FA Cup in 1946 when they defeated Clapton Orient in the 1st Round, before losing at Aldershot. The decade from the mid-1940s was a golden era for the club, with Newport appearing in the 1st Round of the FA Cup on a regular basis. League clubs faced were Swindon Town in 1952/53 and again the following season, Watford in 1956/57 and Shrewsbury Town in 1958/59.

As the story moves into the 1960’s, despite further Hampshire Senior Cup wins in 1961 and 1966, the club struggled both on and off the pitch and in 1969 the club was relegated from Division One of the Hampshire League for the only time in its history.

In 1986, Newport became founder members of the Wessex League, finishing a creditable fourth place in that debut season. The following campaign was to be the club’s last in the Wessex League when, despite finishing as runners up in the league, they were promoted to the Southern League. Locally, on the Isle of Wight, the club has had great success in it’s “Gold Cup”. This senior trophy has been won by the club on no fewer than 35 occasions since it’s first success in 1930.

The 2000/01 season was a highly successful one for the club with the Islanders winning the Dr Martens League Eastern Division Championship. That season saw a massive 22 clean sheets kept, and an unbeaten run of 24 matches. Promotion to the top flight of the Dr Martens League proved to be a major hurdle with the Islanders in what was to be their only season in the Premier Division.

Sadly by December of 2003/04 the club was in administration and the fight to keep the club alive was taken up by the supporters. The Save Newport (FC) Action Group fought tooth and nail and were rewarded with a new Board with some directors coming from the Supporters Trust.  The 2004-05 Season saw Newport make its debut in the Isthmian League, the first season was a struggle but through the legendary ‘port passion, the Islanders came good.  The club were also proud to play host to the ESFA’s England U19’s side versus Finland, the 2-0 home win saw a crowd of 2986 at St George’s Park.

2007/08 saw the Port struggle on and off the pitch. The reins were picked up by members of the Supporters Trust who engaged manager Derek Ohren but with little funds for players, relegation was to follow at the end of the season. With a completely new side we went on to finish sixth in the Wessex Premier in our first season. Our new youth structure has led to players coming through into the first team and a return to the Southern League is the club’s ambition. Derek Ohren departed during the 2010/11 season to be replaced by his assistant Paul Sleep who took the club through to November 2011. Steve Brougham, a previous Port coach and player, was then appointed to take over the first team – bringing purpose and commitment to a successful 2012-13 season; The Port finished 6th in the Wessex League Premier and took a well deserved Isle of Wight Gold Cup victory.