Aldershot Town prove there can be life after death

by Mike Moore

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
 

The "Phoenix Club" lives on

 

Tonight marks the 20th anniversary of the demise of Aldershot Football Club. Having been a member of the Football League for 62 years, the club was declared officially out of business on the 25th March 1992 and had to resign from the League.

Yet 20 years on, Aldershot Town FC have risen from the ashes, and tonight take on Bristol Rovers in what many might see as a standard midtable fixture. But for Shots fans watching tonight, the mere existence and stability of the club is a miracle in itself. And for a club once saved from bankruptcy by a 19 year old property developer, that is saying something.

Having folded a few months previously, Aldershot’s resurrection started in the Isthmian League Division Three, five levels below the division in which their predecessors had been playing, at the same ground that their previous incarnation had inhabited. In a model since mirrored by fellow ‘Phoenix clubs’ AFC Wimbledon and AFC Telford, they quickly rose through the non-league ranks, before regaining league status in 2008 under the assured stewardship of club legend Gary Waddock.

After a difficult season last time out, the Shots are now managed by former Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth, formerly boss at Newport County, another of the young hungry managers that have shown such potential, and Town are currently battling for the play-offs, recording a terrific away win against title challengers Southend last week which should do their chances no harm at all.

So take heart, supporters of clubs such as Portsmouth, Port Vale, and Rangers (as highlighted in a great BBC article last week). Even if administration and financial implosion manage to damage your club, have faith as fans and there will always be a way.

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