Northwich Victoria were formed in 1874 and named in honour of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. The following year the club established themselves at the Drill Field, so named, as it was the former Drilling Ground of the 22nd Company of the 3rd battalion of the Cheshire Rifle Volunteers.
Vic’s initially played only friendly matches but graduated to a loose association of clubs called the Combination. A giant step forward was taken in 1892 when Northwich became founder members of the 2nd division of the Football League. Two seasons were spent in the league but the financial burden of professionalism saw the club resigning league status at the end of the second year. During Vic’s final season in the league, they acquired the services of the legendary Billy Meredith, the peerless Welsh wizard of the wing.
The club returned to the Combination until 1898 when it joined the newly formed Cheshire League where it stayed for two years. A spell in the Manchester league followed before the club became members of the Lancashire Combination in 1912/13. Organised football came to a halt at the outbreak of the Great War but when hostilities ceased, the Vic’s joined the newly formed Cheshire League. Although a top ranking club, the title was captured just once in a memorable 1956/57 campaign.
Vic’s again became founder members of a new league when they accepted an invitation from the Northern Premier League in 1968, remaining there until they signalled their ambition by joining the new Nationwide Alliance Premier League in 1979. Last season was the club’s 25th continuous season among the elite of non-league football.
Before joining the national elite however, Vic’s name had been on the tips of the nation’s tongues following the remarkable FA Cup run in 1976/77. The team defeating three football league sides en route to the fourth round – Rochdale, Peterborough and Watford (the latter being watched by a crowd of 8,989 at the Drill Field including at that time their chairman Sir Elton John), before finally bowing out to Oldham Athletic in a game seen by nearly 30,000 at Maine Road.
In 1982/83 the Club reached its finest hour when they won through to the final of the FA Trophy but lost 2-1 to Telford United at Wembley. The Vic’s faithful had only to wait twelve months before returning to the twin towers, where they drew 1-1 with Bangor City. To the delight of their fans the Greens won the repay 2-1 at Stoke’s aptly named Victoria Ground.
After a short spell in the doldrums the 1990s saw Vics begin to reassert themselves as a leading force in semi-professional football. Most notably, when defeating Martin O’Neill’s Wycombe Wanders on their home turf in April 93 to lift the Drinkwise Cup.
In 1995/96 Vic’s continued their progress, recording a best finish of eighth in the league and another trip to Wembley in the FA Trophy, a fantastic achievement considering they were drawn away from home in each round. Alas, it was not a successful one as Cheshire rivals Macclesfield Town proved too strong on the day, winning 3-1.
Five years on Vics sampled further FA Cup glory under the management of Keith Alexander. The club claimed their first league scalp for 17 years defeating Bury at the Drill Field in a first round relay, before turning a 2-0 deficit against Leyton Orient into a 3-2 lead before a late equaliser earned the Londoners a replay at Brisbane Road, a game which they in turn won 3-2 after extra time having trailed the Vic’s 2-0, a thrilling match screened live on Sky TV.
When Alexander was offered the post of Director of Coaching at Lincoln City in the summer of 2001, he was replaced for two seasons at Northwich by former Northern Ireland international Jimmy Quinn. After Quinn departed for Shrewsbury Town, Vic’s unsuccessfully suffered three more managers before finishing bottom of the Conference in 2003/04, only to survive relegation on ground technicalities at other clubs.
Following the sale of the famous Drill Field Vics undertook ground sharing with neighbours Witton Albion which lasted a further 3 seasons.
-Vics' former home, The Drill Field-
In September 2004 the club went into administration and suffered a 10 point deduction. However, against all the odds current manager Steve Burr and his team produced some fantastic performances, eventually finishing outside the bottom three, culminating in the team being voted “Non-League club of the year” by the Non-League paper.
However due to a technicality in the club administration Vics suffered their first relegation since the foundation of the conference league & started the 2005/2006 season in the conference north.
-Victoria Stadium, Home of Northwich Victoria FC-
The club under the ownership of Mike Connett commenced the season at the newly built Victoria Stadium & their form matched their superb new facilities as they went fifteen games undefeated before emphasis shifted to a tremendous F.A Cup run. After victories against Frickley , North Ferriby , Barrow , Morecambe & Woking the run culminated in the Vics playing their first ever game against a premiership side , & a great day out against Sunderland at the Stadium Of Light in front of 19,323 fans & cheered on by over 3,500 Vics supporters, the team produced a battling display, finally loosing the game 3-0. After slipping to 3rd in the league during January & February the team embarked on a record breaking run of 15 consecutive victories & were eventually crowned champions after defeating closest rivals Stafford Rangers by a 3-1 scoreline on the penultimate Saturday of the season this time cheered on by a record 3,154 at the Victoria Stadium .
Vics didn’t find it easy going back into the conference national & at the times were too close to the bottom four for comfort. However a superb run of fine victories at the end of March when they defeated the likes of Oxford United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Kidderminster, and Crawley & Tamworth saw them finish in a comfortable 13th place position in the league. They also had a successful FA Trophy run witch saw them reach the semi finals stage before being defeated 4-3 on aggregate to Kidderminster Harries. At the end a long hard season the club was rocked by the sudden resignation of manage Steve Burr & his ultimate move to Stalybridge Celtic.
Neil Redferan took over the managers job at the start of the 2007/2008 season. But his reign only lasted until mid October after only picking up one point from the first nine games of the season. Paul Warhurst stepped in for just 2 games before he too resigned.
Dino Mammaria one of the senior professionals at the club took over in a caretaker role until the position could be advertised, but he impressed the club officials & supporters so much that he was soon given the job on a fulltime basis.
It took until 24th November 2008 for Vics to register their first league win of the campaign against Rushden & Diamonds, the second half of the season saw a massive improvement in results & against all odds they secured safety from relegation with a tremendous 2-1 victory at Stevenage Borough in the penultimate game of the season .
Under the new ownership of Jim Rushe with the backing of the main sponsors Encia the club look forward to a bright future.
-Vics team unveil banner saluting the fans, for their efforts, as the team escape relegation (November 2008)-
On 19 May 2009 the club went into administration for the second time in five years following their relegation from the Conference National;They were threatened with a double relegation to the Evo - Stik Northern Premier League as a result of this, but ultimately won an appeal to be placed into the Conference North for the 2009-10 season.
On 24 October 2009, under the management of Andy Preece and Andy Morrison Northwich played FC United of Manchester in the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round. Northwich won the game 3–0. In the First Round proper, Northwich were drawn against former Premier League side Charlton Athletic, which was televised live on ITV1, providing much needed revenue for the club. Northwich won the game 1–0.Northwich were then drawn against Lincoln City, a match which was again televised on ITV1. The game was played on 28 November, with Lincoln winning the game 3–1.
The 2009–10 season saw Northwich achieve a mid-table finish, but due to the ongoing financial problems, the club were expelled from the league and placed in the Northern Premier Division.
During the season, Northwich won the Cheshire Senior Cup for the first time in 15 years, beating Woodley Sports on penalties. This was their first piece of silverware since they won the Conference North in 2006.They remain unbeaten in the competition under the management of Andy Preece and have reached the final for the 2010–11 season for the second successive year.
By the start of the new season, only 3 players from the previous season remained in the squad. The reserve feeder team, Woodley F.C, became Northwich Villa, who play in Division One of the Cheshire Football League. Many of the squad for that season came through the new structure into the first teams squad.
-David Fitzpatrick and Andy Preece lift the Cheshire Senior Cup after defeating Altrincham (2011)-
Northwich, now are into their second season in the Northern Premier League after a 12th placed finish last term. The 2011 / 2012 campaign saw the team relegated from the Evo - Stik Premier League, even though the team finished 2nd. The season saw Andy Preece leave for Airbus UK, and two other managers in the hotseat namely Paul Simpson and Martin Foyle.
Andy Mutch and Alan Wright took the helm for the following campaign which the team will contest in the Evo Stik Division One South. After an up and down beginning to the season Mutch resigned and was replaced by the then Kendal Town manager Lee Ashcroft with former Wigan Athletic legend Ian Kilford appointed as his right hand man. Lee guided the trickies to a very respectable 8th place finish, narrowly missing out on a play off place taking the season right to the end groundsharing with Stafford Rangers.
2013 / 2014 will see Vics switch leagues to the Northern section of the Northern Premier League First Division, hosting games at Valley Road in Flixton. Whilst the club continue to find a home back in Northwich.