Stafford Rangers: A look at the recent history of Saturday’s opponents
Saturday afternoon sees South Shields travel to Stafford United in their penultimate away league fixture of the season.
Here, we take a closer look at the recent history of the West Midlands-based club.
The first reference of a football club in Stafford was made in the Staffordshire advertiser in 1876. In 1896, the club moved into their current Marston Road home.
In 1974-75, Rangers defeated Stockport, Halifax and Rotherham on their way to the fourth round of the FA Cup before going out to Peterborough in front of 31,160 supporters at Stoke’s Victoria Ground.
2002-03 saw Stafford finish as runners-up in the Southern Premier League as well as reach the first round of the FA Cup for the first time in a decade.
The next season, Rangers finished third and were promoted into the newly-formed Conference North.
In 2005-06, they won promotion to the Conference Premier thanks to a play-off victory over Droylsden.
Their stay at that level lasted just two years though, before they were relegated back down to the Conference North.
Despite appointing the likes of Steve Bull, Tim Flowers and Matt Elliot the club couldn’t improve their fortunes and they were relegated to the Northern Premier League in 2011-12.
Then in 2015-16 Boro won the Evo-Stik First Division South title, with the club turning a corner both on and off the pitch.
The following season, the club consolidated their position in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, finishing 13th in their first season back, improving on the last season by finishing in 12th position.
The end of the season saw the departure of manager Neil Kitching and most of the playing staff due to the geographical problems caused by the FA’s re-structuring of the non-league pyramid.
Former Stafford striker Steve Burr returned to be club as manager in the summer of 2018 to rebuild the the squad and take the club forward.
He resigned in December 2018, with Alex Meechan and Andy Fearn now in joint charge of the team.