A Brief History of AFC Totton (The Stags)
Totton Football Club was formed in 1886 and became one of the founder members of the Hampshire F.A. when it was inaugurated, and was also one of the founder members of the New Forest League, formed in 1904. After the 1914/18 War they entered the Southampton Senior League and the New Forest League, and in 1920/21 joined the Hampshire League West.
The early matches were played at South Testwood Park before Totton moved to Testwood Park, on 30th December 1933. In 1975 they amalgamated with Totton Athletic, installed floodlights and opened a Club Room and Bar at the ground.
Totton’s most successful season was in 1981/82 when they won Hampshire League Division 1 for the first time, the Russell Côtes Cup, Hampshire Intermediate Cup, Southampton Senior Cup and Reg Mathieson Trophy and in 1983 reached the 5th round of the FA Vase losing 1-0 away to the cup holders Forest Green Rovers.
Totton became one of the founder members of the Wessex League when it was formed in the 1986/87 season, finishing third. The Medisport Wessex League Cup was won in 1989/90 and the Club was runner-up to Southern League Bashley in the Russell Côtes Cup in 1990/91. The Carlsberg FA Vase provided the Club with a good run in 2001, reaching the 4th Round.
Season 2002/03 saw the Club enjoy a good FA Cup run before losing to Slough Town in a 1st Qualifying Round replay. The Club did gain some silverware though, beating League Champions Eastleigh 2-1 in the final of the Jewson Wessex Football League Cup.
2005/06 saw many changes in Team personnel and with Stuart Ritchie now at the helm, 4th place was gained in the League, together with a fine run in the FA Cup and the winning of the Wessex League Cup for a third time. 2006/07, proved to be the most memorable in the history of the Club. In the League the first Team had a season-long battle with Gosport, missing out on the title by one goal – a bitter disappointment after having led the table from October until the last week of the season, but the highlight of the season was the Final of the FA Carlsberg Vase at the new Wembley Stadium for the first time in the Club’s history, Sadly in front of a record 36,232 crowd for a Vase Final we had to settle for Runners-up spot after a thoroughly entertaining and skilful match against Truro City, losing 3-1.
After the achievements of the previous season, 2007/2008 was always going to be a challenge. A good early run in the FA Cup set the team up nicely for the season, and that momentum extended into a great run in the League. In what became a battle with any of five teams in with a chance, the team responded brilliantly, ultimately producing 27 points from 30 in March & April to seal our first ever Wessex League Championship, and promotion to the BGB Southern League. Certainly the past two seasons will linger long in the memories of those lucky enough to be part of the adventure, and a glowing tribute to a dedicated team and fantastic supporters. An exciting new adventure was about to begin!
2008/09 saw AFC Totton reach new heights after being promoted to the Southern League South and West Division One. After a table topping start to the season we eventually finished 3rd in the league and after beating Beaconsfield SYCOB in the play off semi-final we ended up with a home tie for the final against Didcot Town. It was a superb match which went to extra time before Didcot scored the winner.
2009/10 had seen AFC Totton lift the Hampshire Senior Cup after reaching the final for the first time in the Club’s history. This wrapped up yet another great season for the Stags as we narrowly missed out on promotion for the second season in a row, this time finishing runners up in the league and losing in the play off semi-final against Cirencester Town 2-3, after coming
from 2 goals down to unfortunately concede a goal in the 90th minute.
2010/11 was one of the most successful seasons in the clubs history, picking up not only the Hampshire Senior Cup for the second time but also retaining it from the 2009/10 season beating Sholing 3-1 at St. Marys Stadium. But this was eclipsed by the club being crowned Champions of the Southern League South and West Division, just pipping Sholing to the title by 2 points in a nail-biting finish to the season. The Club was named club of the season for the South and West division and also picked up the fair play award along with the Merit Cup for the most goals scored. The Club also celebrated a golden boot award for one of the crowd favourites Mike Gosney who scored 36 goals. The Club were also very pleased to see another crowd favourite doing well and penning his first pro contract to secure a deal with Port Vale.
The highlight of the 2011/12 season was AFC Totton reaching the 2nd round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in the Club’s history. The match, televised live on ITV was against Bristol Rovers our visitors coming out on top in convincing style. Nevertheless history was written and shall never be forgotten.
This was not the only history making event of the season – Stefan Brown made his mark in the record books by scoring the fastest FA Cup hat-trick by a substitute, scoring all 3 goals in 15 second half minutes, AFC Totton also reached the Hampshire Senior Cup final for the 3rd season in succession, losing out to 2-0 Eastleigh.
The Club narrowly missed promotion to the Conference South, but lost 4-2 at Oxford City.in the play off final after only one season at Southern Premier League level.
Season 2012/2013 saw AFC Totton consolidate their position in the Southern Premier League, their 14th position coming after a mixed bag of results, with home results disappointingly not matched by performances away from the Testwood Stadium.
The Red Insure Cup saw an early exit at the hands of Sholing, but a better run in the Hants Senior Cup ended with the scores level at 90 minutes against a strong AFC Bournemouth side, with the Stags losing out 4-2 on penalties. Very worthy of mention is the tremendous effort of the Youth side who defeated AFC Bournemouth on their own patch, after an epic 11-10 penalty victory in FA Youth Cup. Unfortunately they were defeated in the next round of the competition but the win at Bournemouth will remain in the memories of everyone who attended the match.
In the FA Cup progress was made to the 4th Qualifying Round where the Stags lost a close encounter 3-2 at home to Cambridge City, but on the way they recorded a remarkable result, defeating then Conference South side Truro City by the same score in Cornwall.
In the FA Trophy, Totton were rewarded by three home draws, beating Bideford, Gosport Borough, and Conference South Basingstoke Town before giving a fine performance at Blue Square Premier side Forest Green Rovers, only losing by a solitary goal in time added on.
The 2013/14 season saw the Stags undergo major changes, caused by previous miss-management of the Club. Forced to field mainly inexperienced youngsters in the tough surroundings of the Southern Premier League, relegation was half expected, although as the players matured, performances improved, and the dreaded drop nearly avoided.
The Club was stabilised financially by the new Executive Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Andy Straker, whose previous enthusiasm as a staunch supporter carried over into his new role.
The club was relegated from the Southern League Premier Division in April 2014. Its first season in the South & West Division 1 league saw the continuation of the rebuilding of the team. The team eventually finished 15th in the league.
Just before the end of the 2014/15 season, manager Steve Riley departed from the club and Steve Hollick, the then goalkeeping coach took over the running of the team until the end of the season. Prior to the start of the 2015/16 season, Steve Hollick was made permanent manager of AFC Totton.
The rebuilding of the team continued and even though the squad was strengthened, the team could finish no higher than they had the previous season, with another 15th place finish.