Folk House Old Boys Football Club was formed in 1926 giving local miners & residents a football club to play organized and competitive matches against other local football teams. In 1982 they changed their name to Blidworth Welfare Football Club and for the season 1982-83 they became founder members of the newly formed Northern Counties East League, a competition founded from the merging of the old Midland Counties League and the Yorkshire League. Blidworth joined Division One South of this league when it was reorganised for the 1984-85 season and twelve months later when there were further reorganisation they became members of the new Division Three. In season 1986-87 Blidworth left to join the Central Midlands League and started life in the Premier Division eventually winning promotion to the Supreme Division in 1990. In 1994 Blidworth were promoted back to the Northern Counties East League for season 1994-95 competing in Division One but were relegated back to the Central Midlands Supreme Division after finishing bottom at the end of season 1997-98.
In 1998-1999 under the guidance of John Slater Blidworth were relegated back to the lowest point of the football pyramid the Central Midlands Premier Division, Slater resigned and Blidworth were close to folding but happily the club was rescued at the last minute by Steve Spencer who after spending time maintaining the ground decided to become the new first team manager. Although Blidworth had their worst ever season finishing bottom of the league without a single win the club was invited by the Football Association to attend the Lilleshall Centre of Excellence for a tour of the facilities and an afternoon of training with England coaches. The fact that the club is still alive today is solely down to Steve. The club had the facilities to play at a much higher level but were struggling to build a team capable of achieving the success it craved so in 2001 Rudy Funk a vibrant and influential local manager was appointed as the new first team manager by incoming new Chairman Alan Whitworth and the pair started the huge task of trying to turn the club around on and off the pitch. Two Seasons of relative success and rebuilding followed but after Funks departure in 2003 Blidworth struggled in the league & cup competitions for a number of years under different management teams until in 2007 when under the management of Dave Hughes the club won the Nottinghamshire Intermediate Cup beating Bulwell FC 2-0 at Hucknall Town’s Watnall Road Ground on a warm & sticky night in April.
In 2007-08 the Central Midlands league was reshuffled which saw Blidworth move to the Supreme Division and again under the management of Dave Hughes the club reached the final of the Quartet Catering League Cup where they were unfortunate to lose 1-0 in extra time to Dunkirk. This defeat followed an extraordinary cup run where Blidworth beat holders of the cup Heanor Town, league leaders and champions elect Askern Welfare, plus Holbrook Miners Welfare in the semi final. After 2 fantastic seasons at the helm Dave Hughes reluctantly resigned as manager of the first team before the start of the 2008-09 season after his brother Rob was attacked whilst on holiday in Crete, the Manager felt he could not continue whilst his brother was in a serious medical condition in hospital. This resulted in Chairman Alan Whitworth appointing the management duo of Kevin Chappell & Keith Easom assisted by ex Blidworth player Simon Ward. The pair had previously worked together at Shirebrook Town looking after the Reserve & A sides. Easom had been a player at Shirebrook Town whilst Chappell had experienced football management at Worksop Town, Matlock Town & Matlock United and had been assistant to Rudy Funk during his days in charge at Blidworth. The club appointed Graeme Rodger & Chris Bullock to manage the reserve side that played in the Supreme Reserves Division of the Central Midlands League. The first team had to manage without Kev Chappell during the second part of the season as ill health forced him to leave his role at the club so Easom ran the first team virtually on his own till the end of the season and managed to keep Blidworth in the Supreme Division finishing in a very respectable 14th position with the reserves finishing in 10th.
The start of season 2009-10 saw Keith Easom promote Chris Bullock to join him as assistant manager with Graeme Rodger left to run the reserves alone. The season also saw the formation of an under 19’s squad for the first time at Blidworth playing in Division 3 of the North Midlands League, Stan Matthews a qualified Level 2 coach was appointed as the under 19’s manager assisted by Chris Bullock. The season also saw the removal of the old wooden tea bar at the ground that had been in place since the club began, the management team purchased a redundant port a cabin which they developed into a more useable hospitality area. In January 2010 the clubs old wooden changing rooms which had not been used for a number of months for health & safety reasons were demolished and the football club moved into the cricket pavilion until their own facilities were built. Plans & funding applications were well underway for a brand new football changing facility overseen by vice chairlady Helen Wilford which were hoped to be in place for the season after. Blidworth finished in 17th place at the end of season which was a respectable position considering the lack playing staff the manager had at his disposal but after this Keith Easom, Chris Bullock and Stan Matthews resigned from their positions at the club and it was then decided not to run an under 19 side for season 2010-11. Graeme Rodger had resigned from running the reserves in Feb 2010 so players Dave Voller & Jez Wright supported by former referee Darren Wragg stepped up to run the reserve side for the remainder of the season but despite a great effort they finished bottom of the Supreme Reserve Division.
Former Southwell City and Kirkby Town Manager Brett Marshall was appointed Blidworth First Team Manager for season 2010-11 assisted by Steve Roebuck. Marshall has had a successful playing career at clubs such as Retford United and can count Blidworth as one of his old teams. Ambitious to progress with a good knowledge of the game with the ability & reputation to attract the right players Blidworth were hoping Marshall’s appointment would see them challenging for promotion at the end of the season. Former player Liam Best assisted by Darren Wragg were appointed by Marshall to run the reserve team. Best left the club after a few months due to work commitments so reserves captain Dave Voller stepped up to help Wragg to the end of the season which was a great success with the reserves finishing a credible 4th in the league whilst Marshall led the first team into runners up spot but only after a final day defeat to eventual champions Sheffield Parramore denied Blidworth the title.
In July 2011 after Marshall’s departure to Retford United and also the sudden departure of Chairman Alan Whitworth after 12 years, Scott Ward & Dave Voller took on the ownerless club after successfully running the Sunday side for 2 years. Voller a local & loyal servant to Blidworth was promoted to first team manager, working alongside Mick Gould as his assistant the pair worked hard to rebuild the club from scratch bringing in a whole new squad & backroom staff. Despite this the team finished the season in 12th place in the CML South division after the league split to North & South. The reserve team was scrapped for the season due to lack of funds but on a brighter note saw the return of an under 19 squad at Blidworth led by Martin Bower. Bower assisted by Kevin Heathcote brought a fine young squad to the club and finished the season in 6th place along with a late quarter final defeat in the under 19`s shield.
On October 7th 2012 the changing facilities at the new look Welfare Ground opened for use, local resident Don French took over the stalling project from Helen Wilford in September 2011 and within 10 months dug the first spade on site, a fantastic achievement for the club after nearly 3 seasons sharing the cricket pavilion. Gary Shelton joined the club as Chairman to help the club go forward with Dave Voller continuing as first team manager working alongside Mick Gould & Mike Wain who had rejoined the club part way through the season before. Voller & Gould decided to step down from the first team before the season started leaving Mike Wain to run the first team along with Richard Preston & Lee Cook who joined as his assistants. Wain & Preston left the club in November after a terrible start to the season with Lee Cook taking over as first team manager. Blidworth were rooted to the bottom of the table so Cook working alongside Scott McMillan & Gareth Briggs brought in their own squad and tried to revive the clubs fortunes but the club ended the season bottom of the table. Martin Bower assisted by Kevin Heathcote were promoted to run the reinstated reserve team after impressing the season before with the scrapped under 19`s, the reserve team finished in 3rd place in the Premier division.
This season see’s Martin Bower & Kevin Heathcote promoted to run the first team after 2 successful years at the club, the pair will introduce youth to the team with the clubs focus for the future in this area being very strong. Paul Holmes, Andy North & Andy Ellis join the club to run a new under 19’s squad and the reserve team. Holmes has been manager of Ashfield Scaffolding Athletic youth team for the past 7 seasons winning the league title 6 times along with numerous cup triumphs. Paul and his team hope to keep the run going into under 19 football and help to build a squad capable of challenging for first team honours in the years ahead.
Matches against Blidworth Welfare
|01 Nov 14||3:00 pm||FA Vase||Blidworth Welfare v Willenhall Town||0 - 2||Match Center|