The club now known as Worthing Football Club was formed in 1886 with the merger of the two local teams, 'Worthing Old Boys F.C' and 'Woodcolliers F.C' the latter who played on a Sunday and both originally played at Gardeners Meadow in Worthing. Gardeners Meadow was sold to be re-developed which meant that the club had to move to Spennells in Kidderminster. So a massive fundraising project was carried out enabling the club to purchase their current ground at Ribbesford Meadows under the guidance of Robert Burns.
After playing in the Kidderminster and district leagues Worthing's main senior side under the management of Craig Payton and Chairman Geoff Edwards joined the West Midlands Division One South in 1999. Prior to that Ribbesford Meadows has been an on going project providing football facilities to cater for teams, which include West Midlands Premier League, Kidderminster & District League, Stourport & District 11 aside Boys League; and small sided League. Worthing also boast being one of the first clubs in Worcestershire in 1993 under FA Coach Chris Middleton to start a Mini Soccer Centre. The centre is now run under mini kickers by FA Coach Wayne Payton and co-ordinator Jo Payton.
In 2005 Worthing finished runners-up in West Midlands Division 1 gaining promotion to the West Midlands Premier League. In order that Worthing compete in this league they had to rent local rivals ground Stourport Swifts. In 2006 Worthing were granted permission to Build stands and floodlights at their home ground at Ribbesford Meadows, in their second season Worthing finished 3rd and were league leaders until bad floods meant the team didn’t play many games and could have possibly won the league. If Worthing had won however they would not have been allowed to gain promotion due to on-going development of the groun
In 2007-2008 Worthing’s Ribbesford Meadows ground had been given a higher rating allowing them to play matches at higher levels and gain promotion if they finished in any of the top places. Worthing F.C also made history in this season when they were allowed to enter the F.A vase for the first time. Worthing managed to get to the 3rd round proper losing out eventually to higher opposition Coventry Sphinx.
Worthing's History pre 1900
As no record has been found of the Annual Meeting of 1894 it cannot be ascertained who took over the chairmanship and newspaper reports of subsequent meetings in the 1894/5 season show the following members taking the Chair: Mr. Priestley (Wribbenhall Victoria), Councillor G.W. Hobson (Droitwich) and Mr. F. Tandy who was the Association Treasurer.
The Annual Meeting of 1895 was held at the Raven Hotel, Droitwich, on the 27th September and gives a glimpse into how the Association was organised. In attendance were: Alderman G.W. Hobson, C.C., who was voted to the chair, and Messrs. John Lewis, Hon. Secretary; F. Tandy, Hon. Treasurer; R. Morgan (Worcester), Lyons (Olympic), G. Saunders (Worcester Artillery), Mr. Priestley (Worthing Victoria), J. Glazzard (St Johns Waverley), Mr. Harris (Harrisons Stourport), Bowning (St. Marys Albion), A.C. Hope (St. Johns Bible Class, Kidderminster), Evans (Droitwich), G. Sealey (Redditch Town), W. Miller (Worcester Rovers), J. Ray (Redditch Excelsiors), Standford (Berwick Rangers) and A.W. Essex (Evesham Wanderers). In his report the Secretary said that the number of clubs had increased from 33 in 1893/4 to 81 in 1894/5; seven clubs had competed for the Senior Cup and 22 for the Junior Cup. The Treasurer reported on the accounts and said that the Association made a loss of 15 19s during the preceding season.
The elections resulted as follows: President – Earl of Dudley; Vice-Presidents – Colonel Long, M.P., and Messrs. A.F. Godson, M.P., Alfred Baldwin, M.P., and Moore Brown. The Chairman, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer were re-elected as were Messrs. R. Morgan (Worcester) and Dutfield (Kidderminster) as Hon. Auditors. Mr. Fred Tandy (Kidderminster) was re-appointed as representative to the Birmingham County Association. There was a vote for the four representatives of the Junior clubs to the Council which resulted in the election of Messrs. Lyons, Glazzard, Priestley and Hill, although the latter was not present. Quartermaster Coles and Albert Hope (St. Johns Bible Class) were also recommended to the members as they had the next highest votes. There is no mention of Senior Club or Charity Cup Competition representatives to the Council or of Senior Members as there seems to be little doubt that Messrs. Morgan and Dutfield would be in this category.
There was a club called simply Worthing F.C. who in 1927 was founder members of the Worcestershire Combination, the league that changed its name to the Midland Combination in 1968. Indeed I believe a representative of Worthing F.C. attended the meeting at which the Combination was formed, held at the Seven Stars, Oldswinford on 28th April 1927.
Worthing finished 8th out of 10 in 1927-28 with a record of 6 wins and 12 defeats and a goal record of For 41, Against 80.
They remained in the league until 1938, usually finishing in the bottom half and being at the very bottom in 1931-32 while their best season was 1929-30 when there were just 6 clubs and two league programmes were completed in the season. Worthing were 3rd in the league of the first series and runners-up to Dudley Town in the second series. Their other top half-finish came in 1936-37 when they finished just above half-way, 7th of 14. Stourport Swifts, Lye Town and Bridgnorth Town were also members of the Combination for a while during Worthing’s spell in the league.
In 1937-38 Worthing were bottom of the table for the second time and left the league. I also have some information on Worthing F.C. in the Kidderminster League after the war. The club were in Division One in 1948-49, finishing as runners-up to Highley, other members being Bridgnorth and Ludlow. Stourport Swifts joined the league in 1950 and were in and out over the next few years. Worthing were 2nd again in the league in 1949-50, to Steatite. From 1927 to 1952, all references call the club Worthing F.C. but from 1952, they are referred to as Worthing Comrades. I assume, but don’t know, that the Comrades part of the name was dropped in the 1920s and revived in 1952. Comrades as part of a club name was quite common after the First World War but most were dropped quite soon afterwards to make clubs more inclusive. It therefore seems likely that in 1952 Worthing decided to revive the name to respect the club’s past. In 1957-58, Worthing were Kidderminster League champions, with Bridgnorth 5th, Ludlow 9th and Stourport Swifts 10th of 11. Worthing British Legion were in the Second Division of the Kidderminster League at the time.