The Official History
In 1890 Workington Reds became founder members of the Cumberland Association League where they remained until 1894. A seven year spell in the Cumberland Senior League followed.Whilst in this league the Reds recorded a record win over the Cockermouth Crusaders with a score of 17-1.
Lancashire League status was obtained in the year 1901,although,after only two seasons the Reds returned to the Cumberland Senior League for one year. From 1904-10 Workington competed in the Lancashire Combination but, in an effort to economise, it was decided to switch to the North Eastern League. After one season in the year 1910 the club was disbanded, and went into voluntary liquidation.
Workington Reds AFC was re-founded in 1921 after a 10 year break.
After election to the North Eastern League for the start of the 1921-22 campaign, they commenced the season with a game at South Shields reserves where they were beaten by a score of 2-1. After their earlier struggles the team eventually finished second in the season of 1938-39.This memorable season in their history included a run of 18 unbeaten league and cup games.In 1935 and 1937 the team won the North Eastern League Cup and they losing finalists in 1938.On eight occasions the team scored a century of goals with 147 in the 1933 season. Their complete North Eastern League record was: Played 923 Won 454 Drew 150 Lost 319 Goals for 2205 Goals against 1667.
THE GOLDEN YEARS
Saturday the 18th of August 1951 will forever remain a significant date in Workington Reds long history,as this was the date that the team made their debut in the Football League at Halifax Town.
Life was a struggle in the early years as an 8-0 defeat was inflicted upon them by Wrexham.
However,after the club stabilised their position they enjoyed some epic battles which are now and forever part of history.During the 1957-58 season they entertained Manchester United at Borough Park, in the third round of the FA Cup.The Busby Babes as they were known, included Harry Gregg in goal with Bobby Charlton and the late great Duncan Edwards who sadly was lost in the Munich Aircrash some days later.The Reds were never meant to be on the same stage as Sir Matt Busby’s Babes but the Workington gave them a magnificent game until Dennis Violet completed his hat- trick in the second half, running out eventually as 3-1 winners.This game was played in front of 21,000 fans which is a record for Borough Park.During the 1965-66 season Workington inflicted defeats of 7-0 at home and 6-1 away on Swansea City.
Their most noteable managers during this period of success included such famous names as Joe Harvey and Bill Shankly whose name is recognized the world over.There was also Keith Burkinshaw who later guided Spurs to one of their memorable FA Cup wins.Promotion from the 4th division was finally achieved under the guidance of Ken Furphy who later became employed with the England team.It was also during this era that the Reds reached the League Cup Quarter finals where they lost to a great West Ham Utd team.The following season the team entertained Chelsea at Borough Park and held them to a 2-2 draw.In the replay at Stamford Bridge Chelsea were the winners by a score of 2-0. Previously Workington had beaten Blackburn Rovers of the first division by a score of 5-1 at Ewood Park and defeated second division Norwich City at Borough Park.A 9-1 victory over Barrow in 1964 was a League Cup record until it was finally broken in 1983-84 season.
The clubs best season in the FA Cup was the 1933-34 season when as a non league club the Reds reached the fourth round,only to lose to Preston North End 2-1 at Lonsdale Park.In 1951-52 the team lost 1-0 to Liverpool at Anfield in front of 52,581 spectators.
Several embarrassing cup defeats have been inflicted upon them since then with the team not having appeared in the first round proper since 1982
NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE
On the 18th of June 1977 Workington Reds, within 24 hours of losing their football league status became members of the Northern premier League. The first home game was against Stafford Rangers where they lost by a score of 3-0. The Reds struggled to make an impact for the first few seasons, but during 1982-83 campaign the side put together a run of 14 games without defeat and eventually finished in seventh place.
In the year 2000 the club reached the final of the Presidents Cup beating Marine. In 2003-04 they got to the final which was a two legged affair.Although the two games ended in a 6-6 tie they lost on the away goals rule.
By 1986 life had become a struggle and only 11 wins were recorded over two seasons.Relegation to the newly formed first division was inevitable after a disasterous 1987-88 campaign.Another relegation followed in 1998 which saw the team become members of the North West Counties League. After struggling for so many years the events of the 1998-99 campaign were remarkable.The team won their last 14 games to clinch the title going top for the first time after the final game.It was the clubs first championship since they were founded some 114 years earlier.Upon winning this title the team became the first club to regain Unibond League status at the first attempt.
THE FA TROPHY
Workington Reds had their best run in this competition during the 1999-2000 season when they reached the fifth round only to fall against Kettering Town in front of 1600 fans at Borough Park.During the mid nineties they were away to Rothwell Town where the team enjoyed an amazing win by the score of 7-1.
THE FA VASE
The Reds only involvement in this competition was during the 1989-90 season while Workington was member of the North West Counties League.They reached the quarter final where they lost to Bedlington Tigers.
2004 – 2005
By now Workington were playing their best soccer for years under Tommy Cassidy and led the league right up to the final hurdle. However they were pipped at the post for the title by Hyde Utd and so Workington had to settle for a place in the playoffs.In the semi final Reds disposed of Whitby Town to reach the final against Farsley Celtic.At the end of the game which was Broadcast around the world by internet the two sides were level both having failed to score.Both teams now had to go to a penalty shootout .Adam Collin
the Reds Keeper saved three vital penalties and Hewson who had missed most of the season through injury stepped up to score and win promotion for the Reds to Conference North where Workington will contest the new season.