History

Formation
Armagh City Football Club was formed under the name of Milford Everton in 1964 by a group of Armagh schoolboys. They obtained a pitch in the village of Milford, just outside Armagh, known as “The Holm”. The name Milford Everton was chosen because some of the founder members supported the English club of that name.

Background
Milford Everton played friendly matches against established teams in Mid-Ulster before joining the local Lonsdale League and a short time later the Mid Ulster League. During the late 60’s and the early 70’s Milford Everton became one of the leading sides in Mid-Ulster football and decided at that time to make application for membership of the Irish League “B” Division. Admitted to the “B” Division in 1975, they went unbeaten throughout the first half of the season before finishing a very credible fourth.

Re-organisation
During the 1980’s, changes in the ground standard criteria meant that the picturesque Holm with a river on three sides of the ground was no longer suitable for “B” Division football and so the committee began to explore various alternatives. With no other ground available in the Milford area, the committee took the major decision in 1988 to relocate to Armagh city itself and at the same time change its name to Armagh City Football Club. The club initially secured a ground-sharing arrangement with Armagh Boy’s Club at the Mill Field while at the same time entering into negotiations with Armagh City Council to obtain a long lease on a plot of land upon which it could be build its own facilities. A green field site was leased at Ardmore just off the Newry Road in 1991 and as they say the rest is history. An international size pitch was constructed the following year and by 1994 everything was in place including an excellent dressing room complex with a viewing lounge in on the upper floor of the social club.

Senior football and back again
At the end of the 1997/98 season it was announced that Institute and Armagh City would be promoted to senior football, joining the Irish League First Division in 1999/2000. Considerable work was done to bring Holm Park up to Irish League standard, including the erection of a 300 seat grandstand, floodlights and tiered terracing behind each goal. The new facilities were put to the test in January 2000 when Glentoran visited in the Irish Cup. A record crowd of 1400 saw City come within seconds of knocking out the holders, until Stuart Elliot grabbed the latest of equalisers to break Armagh hearts. An impressive third place in the 2000/01 First Division was coupled with the club’s first senior trophy, the Mid-Ulster Cup, thanks to a resounding 3-1 win against Newry Town.

Having missed out on a place in the IFA’s new 16-team Premier Division for the 2003/04 season, City found themselves back in intermediate football. A strong season saw City finish second to derby rivals Loughgall and the ensuing two-legged playoff against Cliftonville was the closest Armagh had ever been to top flight football. As it turned out, the tie was all but over at the halfway point, as the north Belfast side came to Holm Park and cruised to a 3-0 win. A 1-1 draw at Solitude brought some satisfaction, but City knew a great opportunity had slipped away in the first 90 minutes.

Manager Colin Malone build on the squad that came so close in 2003/04, and the following season proved to be a great one. Having wrapped up the Bob Radcliffe Cup on Boxing Day, City went unbeaten in the league for the entire season to gain promotion to the IFA Premier League. Three seasons in the top flight brought their ups and downs, as City reached 11th position in 2006/07, the club’s highest ever finish in local football, before an ‘invitational’ league devised by the IFA left City outside senior football once again.

City struggled to re-adjust to life in intermediate football, as players who had been brought in during the Premier League days moved on and Armagh were forced to look to local players to build the team once more. A link-up with Spanish outfit Fundacion Marcet during the 2009/10 season saw several Brazilian and Spanish youngsters feature in the City side as the committee looked at ways of consolidating the club’s future, but in the end ties were cut with Marcet as Marty Rice took the reigns for the 2010/11 season with City beginning life in Championship 2.

The 2011/12 season was a difficult one for the first team as City started afresh, but the success in the youth ranks suggested that the future would be brighter. An incredible run in the Harry Cavan Irish FA Youth Cup saw City’s U18s claim a famous victory in the final against Cliftonville, providing the youth section with its first ever national cup win. The impressive nature of the win would prove a good omen in the years ahead, and the squad would eventually provide several key members of City’s first team.

After two years of consolidation, City found themselves in the promotion mix in 2012/13, only to be pipped to second place by Ballyclare Comrades. The following year, however, would go down in history as one of the finest in the club’s history, as the young side wrapped up the Bob Radcliffe Cup at Christmas, before dominating the league campaign to run out champions. A little deja vu played out at Holm Park in January, as defending Irish Cup champions Glentoran again visited, only to leave with a 1-1 draw thanks to Philip Donnelly. City travelled to the Oval for the replay and showed the initial performance was no fluke, with the Glens needing a last minute winner to escape. The season culminated in City’s first ever appearance in an Intermediate Cup final, but Championship 1 leaders Bangor ended season’s dream season with a loss. Notwithstanding the final game, the year vindicated the hard work put in by everyone at the club to recover from the challenges of the previous few years. The involvement of so many local players was a particularly sweet element of the success, and would prove the potential both in the club and the city at large.

City’s first season in Championship 1 outlined that the club was intent on continuing its growth, as a strong second half of the season saw the team finish in the top half of the league, while again performing well across cup competitions.

Re-building
At the start of the 2013/14 season Armagh City were able to install a new state of the art 3G FIFA 2* synthetic pitch at Holm Park having received funding grants through Sport NI and financial help from Armagh City Council. The pitch is one of the best in the league with the quality of the surface widely complimented. This facility has enabled the club to hire out the pitch to the public throughout the whole year, not only for matches but also for training purposes. As it has always been our intention to place the club at the heart of the community, this magnificent new facility will serve as the cornerstone upon which we continue to strive towards this goal.

Achievements

Irish FA First Division: Champions 2004/05
Irish League First Division: Runners-Up 2003/04
NIFL Championship 2 Champions 2013/14
Irish FA Intermediate Cup: Runners-Up 2013/14
Irish League B Division Cup: Runners-Up 1993/94
Mid Ulster Cup: Winners 2000/2001
Runners-Up 1975/1976, 2014/15
Bob Radcliffe Cup: Winners 1991/92, 2004/05, 2013/14
Runners-Up 1982/83, 1996/97, 1998/99, 2003/04
Mid Ulster Shield: Winners 1969/70
Runners-Up 1973/74
Mid Ulster League Division 1: Champions 1973/74
Runners-Up 1974/75
Alan Wilson Memorial Trophy: Winners 1972/73
Alexander Cup: Winners 1973/74

 

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Armagh City v Coagh United

Saturday 30 September 2017
Holm Park, 3pm

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