The History Of Brigg Town Football Club
Brigg Town FC, known as the Zebras, are the oldest surviving club in Lincolnshire, and one of the oldest clubs in England, having been formed in 1864. In the non-league world only Sheffield (1857), Harefield Utd (1858), Hallam (1860) and Cray Wanderers (1860) are older.
Brigg football was said in early 1870 to have become a recognised institution in the town, and members were practising hard to take part in some important matches at Lincoln, Hull etc. From 1875 to 1888 Brigg Town was a strong and resourceful side, and at the end of 1883 it was reported that for two seasons Brigg had been runners up for the Lincolnshire Challenge Cup, in actual fact, losing to Spilsby in the final of the first County Cup competition. Brigg thereby gained the reputation of being the premier club in North Lincolnshire, scoring victories over Grimsby Town, Hull Town and Lincoln City – a few years later Grimsby Town and Lincoln City were in the Football League second division.
Thus the town of Brigg was one of the main centres of football in the latter part of the 19th century, with the club secretary, Harry Storm, being a leading light in the formation of the Lincolnshire FA. Of the original 16 clubs in the association no less than four of them were from Brigg itself.
The club played for many years in the Lindsey League, using the Old Manor House Convent playing field in Station Road. The club had many glory days at the Brocklesby Ox, where a record ground attendance of 2000 was noted, before moving to their present ground in Hawthorn Avenue.
In 1948 Brigg Town became founder members of the Lincolnshire League. In season 1949/50 the Zebras won their first League title and this was to be repeated a further seven times, before the team was elected to the Midland Counties League in 1976.
At the end of the first season in the Midland League the club finished in third place and took the title in the following season, losing only one game in the process.
At the formation of the Northern Counties East Football League in 1982, Brigg were placed in Division One, as their ground did not meet the grading requirements of the Premier Division, but did gain promotion in 1985. New floodlights were installed during 1989/90 to ensure Premier Division status was maintained. Improvements have continued, and the ground and facilities now meet the requirements of the UniBond League.
From 1996, Brigg finished fourth twice, third and second in the NCEFL Premier Division. In season 2000-2001 however, the Zebras went one better to win the title by a massive ten points. Unfortunately promotion to the UniBond League was denied, because the necessary ground improvements were not complete by the due date. In seasons 2001/02 and 2002/03 Brigg again finished in runners-up spot, and they were also memorable for FA Cup and Vase runs
The 1995/96 season was the best in the clubs long history, when the Zebras lifted the coveted FA Vase, beating Clitheroe 3-0 in the final at Wembley Stadium. Brigg Town are now well known for their exploits in national FA Competitions reaching the 6th and 5th Round of the Vase in 2000/01, and 2001/02.
In season 2001/02 however, Brigg put themselves firmly on the map when they reached the 1st. Round Proper of the FA Cup, for the first time. After starting in the Extra Preliminary Round, and beating UniBond opposition in subsequent rounds, Brigg visited Conference Champions Boston United, in the 4th Qualifying Round and came away with a famous 1-0 victory. This set up the trip to 2nd Division Tranmere Rovers, where despite losing 4-1, Brigg won many plaudits for the quality of their football. For this tremendous run Brigg were awarded the title of FA Cup Non-League performers of the season from the sponsors AXA.
Season 2002/03 was yet again a wonderful success story, when Brigg repeated their 1995/96 feat, by winning the FA Vase for a second time. The Final was staged at Upton Park, the home of West Ham United, and the Zebras put on an excellent display to win 2-1, and beat favorites AFC Sudbury. To win the Vase once is a dream come true for many clubs, but to win it twice is an achievement that Brigg Football Club and the Town itself can be justifiably proud.
A third place finish in the NCEFL Premier Division, following the re-structuring of Non League football, was enough to give them promotion to the UniBond League Division 1, for season 2004/05. The club responded well with a creditable 8th. place in their first season, and a same place position last season, sees them as an established UniBond League team.
Brigg consolidated there place in the Unibond League again in 06/07 with a 17th place, with the advent of the new league structure the Zebras will play in the newly formed Unibond League Division One South in 2007/8.