Sholing FC

Ground: The Universal Stadium

Nickname: The Boatmen

  • Formed:1884 & joined Wessex League:2015
  • Clubhouse: Yes
  • Midweek: Tuesday
  • Colours: Red and White shirts, Black shorts, Black socks
  • Alt. colours: Blue and White shirts, Blue shorts, White socks
  • Sat Nav: SO19 9PW

Wetherspoons: "The Admiral St Lucius Curtis" Canutes Pavilion, Southampton, SO14 3JS

  • Sholing FC,The Universal Stadium,SO19 9PW

Directions: Exit the M27 at Junction 8 and follow the signs towards Hamble / Woolston. Drive up the motorway link in the left hand lane to the roundabout. Continue to the 2nd exit towards Hamble-Le-Rice, in the right hand lane, to the mini roundabout with Tesco on your left and continue towards Hamble. At the next mini roundabout take the 2nd exit and after 150 yards turn right into Portsmouth Road (Woolston) and the ground is 1/2 mile on your right.

Honours:League Cup Winners 2008-09 | Premier Division Winners 2013-14 | FA Vase Winners 2013-14 | Premier Division Runners-up 2015-16 | League Cup Winners 2016-17


The Boatmen have a long but fragmented history, running teams from the Woolston Works as early as 1884, when they are recorded as being refused permission by the Hants & Dorset FA to introduce fresh players as substitutes at half-time.

In March 1887 they were finalists in the first Portsmouth Challenge Cup, beaten 1-0 by Portsmouth Association Club. The Club were only beaten twice in 16 games that year (goal tally 72-6) and won the last Hants & Dorset Challenge Cup before these Associations split.

Woolston Works won the first ever Hampshire Senior Cup Final in 1888, beating Winchester 2-0. There was some controversy that year concerning Woolstons professional attitude, which was infamously referred to as “Kesson’s Boots’. Andover were beaten in an earlier round by Woolston, in which a Glasgow – based player called J. Kesson played a prominent part.

Andover protested that Kesson should be disqualified on the grounds of residency – although he had played for Woolston Works earlier that season, he had since moved back to Glasgow. Woolstons appeal rested on the fact that Kesson had left a number of clothing items at his lodgings in Woolston, and this should be interpreted as his intention to return. The Hampshire FA upheld the appeal and allowed Kesson to play.

Re-forming after World War 1 as Thornycrofts (Woolston), they turned professional and were admitted into the Hampshire County League from 1920/21 to 1925/26. In 1920/21 Thornycrofts reached the FA Cup First Round proper, meeting first Division Burnley at Fratton Park, and held them to a 0-0 draw, before losing 5-0 in the replay. Burnley were in the middle of a 30 game unbeaten run and went on to win the first Division Championship.

Thornycrofts Woolston re-formed in 1947 but were only able to keep going until 1952. The Club were re-formed as Vosper Thornycroft FC in 1960 and joined the Southampton Junior League. After several successful years, Vospers were promoted to the Hampshire League Division 3 in 1991. The following season they were promoted to Division 2. 1997/98 saw Vospers as Hampshire Division 2 Runners-up and also Hampshire Intermediate Cup Winners. In 2001/02 Vospers won the Southampton Senior Cup.

2002/03 Vospers were re-named as VT FC (after the parent company), and saw the Club as Runners-up in the Southampton Senior Cup.
2003/4 saw VT as Hampshire Premier League Champions, Southampton Senior Cup Winners and promotion to the Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1.
2005/06 VT Reserves won the Southampton Senior Cup at St Mary’s Stadium which gave the club their 3rd victory in 5 years.
2006/07 was a great season for the club. The first team finished in third place and the reserves finished runners-up in Combination 1 and they also won the Southampton Senior Cup again. The Club’s 4th victory in 6 years.
2007/2008 The 1st team were Runners-up to Totton in the Premier League and the Reserves won 3 out of 4 trophies. They are the Sydenhams (Wessex) Combination 1 League Champions, the Southampton Senior Cup Champions (for the third consecutive year) and the Sydenhams (Wessex) Combination Cup Champions. They missed out on the Hampshire Intermediate Cup by losing to Nursling in the semi-final which was the ONLY defeat they suffered all season. An achievement to be proud of.
2008/09 was equally a very successful season with the first team again Runners-up in the Wessex Premier, this time to Poole Town. They were Wessex League Cup Winners with a close 2-1 victory over Hamworthy United. Runners-up in the Hampshire Senior Cup with a narrow 1-0 defeat against Fleet Town. Reserves again won Wessex Combination 1 and the U18 Youth team made a clean sweep winning four trophies i.e The League, The League Cup, The Hampshire FA Youth Cup and the Echo Floodlit Cup….what a great season.
2009/10 In our very first season in the Zamaretto Southern League we finished a creditable 4th (play-off position) in the South & West Division and finished Runners-up in the Red Insure League Cup after going so close and finally losing on penalties to Cambridge City. The Reserves regained the Southampton Senior Cup at St Mary’s defeating Team Solent 2-0….the sixth time in the last ten years the Club has won it.
The Club changed their name in July 2010 to Sholing FC after the parent company VT Group were no longer in existence.
2010/11 In only their second season in the Southern League South & West, the 1st team reached an incredible 2nd place, only 2 points behind AFC Totton. Also Hampshire Senior Cup Finalists at St Marys losing 3-1 to AFC Totton. The Reserves gained an incredible Double by winning the Wessex Combination League and League Cup in its Final year.

2011/12 For the third season on the trot we once again reached the playoffs only to fall at the first hurdle by a 1-0 away defeat by Gosport. The reserves copied last year’s achievement by winning the League and League Cup in the newly formed Wyvern League.

2012/13 Despite being bottom of the leaguesholing-vase just before Christmas, the first team went on an incredible run in the second half of the season and finished 7th in the Southern League South & West.  The Reserves once again won the Wyvern League, this time going unbeaten the whole season.

The club made the difficult decision to voluntarily drop out of the Southern League South & West (step 4) and into the Wessex League Premier (step 5). With the focus of the club turning to developing the Silverlake Arena, we didn’t want to financially extend ourselves and sink into debt.

2013/14 Back in the Wessex League Premier Division saw the club playing lots of old local rivals and the first team got off to a storming start to the season and it wasn’t to be until February when we were first defeated.  However, due to terrible weather & cup commitments, the club barely played in January & February, meaning a huge backlog of fixtures in the final weeks of the season.  Despite having to play 20 games in 30 days, including NINE successive away games, Sholing won the League with 104 points and a goal difference of +105.

The Reserves made it a hat-trick of Wyvern League titles in the most thrilling way, scoring a goal in injury time in the last game of the season, to deny Portchester the title. They also won the Southampton Senior Cup at St Mary’s.

Of course, the FA Vase win will be what most people will remember from this season, the greatest honour in the club’s history.  Back in October as we faced Winchester in the 1st round, no one was dreaming of Wembley, but as the rounds were ticked off, we started to get the feeling that this would be our year.  So on the 10th May 2014 at the home of football, Wembley Stadium, backed by over 3,000 fans, Marvin Mclean scored the only goal and Byron Mason & Dave Diaper lifted the Vase.  In a whirlwind of activity that followed, the team paraded the FA Vase in front of the Southampton FC fans at St Mary’s, were given an official reception by the Mayor of Southampton and appeared on both local TV stations.

After 15 years in charge of the first team, Dave Diaper handed over the reins to Dave Fear & Mick Marsh, in order to concentrate on the Ground redevelopment (for which the club has kindly received backing and grants from Sport England & the FA to build a new clubhouse and 3G pitch).   We also said a fond goodbye to players Marc Diaper, Tyronne Bowers & Lee Bright, who all decided to “retire at the top” after Wembley.

2014/15 Club was granted promotion back into the Southern League South & West division. After 21 matches in charge Mick Marsh & Dave Fear stepped down from their managerial role leaving Chairman Dave Diaper to step back into the fray alongside Stuart Hussey. Sholing finished in 17th position having been in that position for 32 weeks. Sholing reached the semi-final Russell-Cotes cup and the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup losing out 3-0 to Gosport Borough at Fratton Park. Ground grading issues saw Sholing relegated back to the Wessex League.

The Reserves much like the 1st team had a change of management part way through the season with Martin Tongs stepping up from U18’s to take charge. The Wyvern title eluded them this season losing out to AFC Portchester and had to settle for runners up and the two cup competitions saw them runners up again to Petersfield Town in the League Cup but were successful in the John Stimpson Memorial Shield beating AFC Totton.

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