Club History

We Are Guisborough Town

The club was founded in 1973, and, following Sunderland’s FA Cup success in the same year, adopted Red and White stripes as the home colours.

The Priorymen began life in the Middlesbrough & District League before joining the South Bank & District League, with the experienced duo of Mick Hodgson and Dennis Wheeler brought in to manage a team with ambition. Mick would go onto manage the team for more than 700 games before he left in 1993 after leading the club through the local leagues to the Northern League, and winning various cups along the way.

Town won their first trophy – the North Riding County Cup – in 1976, by beating Smith Dock 1-0 in the Final, with local lad Bryan Hodgson getting the only goal. The following year they joined the Northern Alliance and reached the North Riding Senior Cup Final, eventually losing to Scarborough in a replay following a 1-1 draw in the original tie.

The club continued to grow, and after third and second place finishes in the previous two seasons, Guisborough finally won the Northern Alliance League title in 1979/80. The club also reached the Final of the F.A. Vase, going down 2-0 to Stamford in front of a crowd of 11,500 at Wembley. The home semi-final leg against Hungerford Town saw a crowd of 3,112 at the King George V Stadium, which remains a ground record.


The club then joined the Midland League, which later became the Northern Counties East League. During a five year stay, Guisborough finished 5th, 5th, 12th, 8th and 5th.

In 1981 Mark Davis scored his first goal in a Guisborough Town shirt. He would go on to score 340 more, and remains the clubs all-time leading goal scorer on 341 goals.

The Priorymen joined the newly formed Northern League Division Two for the 1985/86 season. Mark Davis scored the clubs first ever Northern League goal on 17th August 1985, helping the Priorymen to a 2-0 home victory over West Auckland.

Guisborough finished the season in third place. A year later saw promotion, with Guisborough finishing as runners-up to Billingham Synthonia.

The 1988/89 season saw Guisborough reach the F.A. Cup First Round proper for the first, and only, time in the clubs history. A crowd of 5,990 watched Bury beat Guisborough 1-0 at Ayresome Park, the home of Middlesbrough F.C. The side also reached the Northern League Cup Final, where goals from Ian Robinson and Craig Gibson gave the Priorymen a 2-1 victory over Tow Law Town at Spennymoor.


The Priorymen recorded their highest ever League finish at the end of the 1990/91 season, finishing as Northern League Division One runners-up to Gretna. The same season saw the club win the North Riding Senior Cup for the first time. A solitary goal from Neil Hodgson was enough to see off South Bank in the Final.

A year later, Guisborough reached the North Riding Senior Cup Final again, this time losing 3-2 to Scarborough. The Priorymen got their hands on the trophy for a second time in the 1992/93 season with a 2-0 Final victory over Rowntree Mackintosh. Guisborough retained the cup at the end of 1993/94 season with another 2-0 win, this time over Pickering Town.

The 1996/97 season had Guisborough dreaming of another trip to Wembley after an F.A. Vase run that took the club to the Semi-Final. Guisborough had seen off Prudhoe Town, Poulton Victoria, Tow Law Town, Wisbech Town and Taunton Town, all in home ties, on route to a 2-0 Semi-Final first leg defeat against North Ferriby United at the KGV. A 1-1 draw in the second leg was enough for the Villagers, setting up a Wembley appearance against Whitby Town.


Several lean years followed, and in 2004/05, Guisborough finished bottom of the Northern League First Division, ending an eighteen year stay in the Northern League top flight. The downward spiral continued, and Guisborough finished the 2005/06 season second from bottom.

Guisborough finished 9th the following year, and 12th in the 2007/08 season. February 2008 marked a key moment in the clubs rebuilding project. Dean Coates had left his role as Manager, and first team coach Chris Hardy stepped up to take charge of his first game on 9th February 2008. Chardy, as he was affectionately nicknamed, set about the task of restoring the Priorymen’s Northern League Division One status, and in his first full season in charge, 2008/09, he set off a trend that would continue throughout his time at the club – the club would go on to better the final league position of the previous year in each season that Chardy was at the helm.

After finishing the 2008/09 season in 7th, Guisborough finished 5th the year after, before succeeding in their quest for promotion as Chris Hardy guided the team to a 2nd place finish in the 2010/11 season. That season, the Priorymen also won the North Riding Senior Cup for the first time in seventeen years, beating Marske United in the Final. A David Onions header was all that separated the two sides.


Back in the Northern League First Division for the 2011/12 season, Guisborough planned on a season of consolidation, and finished the campaign in 16th. Things continued to steadily improve, and Guisborough finished the 2012/13 season in 11th position, the highlight of which was a 4-1 win over Darlington as 1,350 packed the KGV.

The 2013/14 season saw the most prolific strike partnership to ever grace the KGV pitch. Danny Johnson and Mikey Roberts spearheaded the clubs attack, scoring a remarkable 105 goals between them, as the team shot up the League table to finish fourth. Inevitably, bigger clubs came calling, with Roberts joining Spennymoor, and later Whitby, and Johnson moving to Cardiff City at the end of the season.

The start to the 2014/15 season was hardly a remarkable one, with Guisborough knocked out of the F.A. Cup at the Extra Preliminary Round stage, and inconsistent League form leading to Guisborough sitting in 12th position after the opening six games having won two, drawn two and lost two. But a run of twenty League games between November and March propelled the Priorymen into a six-way title fight. Despite topping the table for the majority of the second half of the season, defeats to eventual Champions, Marske United, and fellow title chasers Morpeth Town in the final two games of the season ended the dream of a first Northern League Division One title. The chance to win some silverware was still alive, with a North Riding Senior Cup Final against Middlesbrough still to come, but, unfortunately, Middlesbrough ran out 2-0 winners at the KGV.

Chris Hardy left in club to take up the vacant Manager’s position at Whitby Town in December 2015 with his Assistant Manager, Steve Dowling, taking charge of first team affairs at Guisborough. Dowling led the Priorymen to a second consecutive third place finish in the League, and a second consecutive North Riding Senior Cup Final. Middlesbrough once again lifted the trophy, this time with a 3-1 victory at the KGV.

The summer of 2016 would ultimately prove disastrous for the Priorymen, with seven first team regulars leaving before a ball had been kicked in the 2016/17 season. A new look squad started the season well with a comfortable 5-2 F.A. Cup Extra Preliminary Round win over Liversedge and an opening League victory against Sunderland RCA, but things soon took a turn for the worse. Guisborough would only win a further two games until Steve Dowling resigned following a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Ryhope C.W. on Tuesday 22nd November 2017, just 357 days after taking up the post.

2010s Continued

First team coach Chris Fairless stepped up to take charge of the team while the club searched for a new Manager. In his one and only League match in charge, Guisborough beat Whitley Bay 2-1 to move off the bottom of the table.

Ten days after Dowling’s resignation, and after a healthy interest in the vacant Managers post, Guisborough appointed former Development Side Manager Gary Forster, with Lee Farrington also returning to the club as his Assistant. Forster’s first win came in the Boxing Day derby at Marske United, but two draws and seven defeats in the next nine games left the Priorymen with a lot of work to do to avoid the drop heading into the final six weeks of the season. A run of five wins in the remaining seven games meant that Guisborough finished the season on 34 points and in the final relegation place, just one point behind Washington in 19th.

However, this wasn’t the end of the drama. Norton & Stockton Ancients had resigned part way through the 2016/17 season and South Shields won promotion to the Evo-Stik North, and with only Jarrow F.C. being promoted into the Northern League Second Division, the Northern League was going to be running with just 41 teams across its two divisions for the 2017/18 season. The Northern League recommended to the F.A. that the League have 22 teams in its First Division, and 21 in the Second Division, which would have effectively granted Guisborough a reprieve from relegation. The F.A. however, denied this request, informing the League that Division One would run with 21 teams, and Division Two with 22.

Armed with Northern League support, and the knowledge that other League’s at the same level all ran with more or equal numbers it their top divisions, Guisborough appealed the F.A. decision. On 13th June 2017, officials from the club travelled to Wembley to have their case heard, returning triumphant in the knowledge that the appeal had been successful, and Guisborough Town would still be playing Northern League Division One football for the 2017/18 season.