Thatcham Town Football Club is an English football club based in Thatcham, Berkshire. It is a member of the Hellenic League Premier Division and plays at Waterside Park. The club is affiliated to the Berks & Bucks Football Association
Thatcham Town Football Club was founded in 1894 and played friendly matches only for the first two years at "The Marsh", now known as Dunston Green. The club was known as Thatcham at this time and added "Town" to its name later in 1974. The club joined the Reading Temperance League in 1896 where it remained for the next fifty-seven years, winning Division Two in 1905–06. During this period, Thatcham also won the Reading Town Senior Cup, the Berks & Bucks Junior Cup in 1935–36 and was runner-up in the Reading & District Premier League.
In 1949, the club purchased eleven acres of land off Northfield Road. This became known as Lancaster Close. Early in 1970, seven acres were sold and the proceeds used to finance the construction of a new clubhouse and dressing rooms. In 1953, Thatcham became a founder member of the Hellenic League and was promoted to the Premier Division on three occasions as Division one champions in 1958–59, 1964–65 and 1972–73. In 1974, the club changed its name from Thatcham. In the 1974–75 season the club won the Hellenic League Championship and the Premier Division Cup; in addition Thatcham also reached the final of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup losing to Wycombe Wanderers. However, Thatcham was awarded the Cup by default because of a dispute between Wanderers and the Berks & Bucks FA.
In 1983, floodlights were erected and were first used when Thatcham entertained Fulham at Lancaster Close in January that year. After a short stay in the Athenian League, the club spent two seasons in the London Spartan League before joining the newly formed Wessex League in 1986. In the 1988–89 season, Thatcham achieved its best result in the FA Vase by reaching the quarter finals, losing to local rivals Hungerford Town.
To provide improved facilities, the club moved to a new ten-acre site at Waterside Park during the 1992–93 season and a record gate for the new stadium was set when 1,400 spectators saw Thatcham lose by a single goal to Aldershot Town in the 1993–94 FA Vase. Under the management of Jim Greenwood, in 1994-95, the club set a Wessex League and club record when they went 33 league games unbeaten and won the Wessex League Cup beating Fleet Town in the final. The following season, in 1995–96, Jim Greenwood led Thatcham to the League Title. The following season saw the club's best ever FA Cup run, reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round after defeating Southern Premier Gloucester City and Southern Division Bashley. In 1997, the club reached the Final of the Wessex League Cup for the sixth time in eight years, and won the Cup for the fourth time.
In 2002–03, Thatcham was awarded the FA Community Standard Charter, the first club at this level in Southern England to earn this award. Two seasons later, under new manager Jason Braidwood, the club reached three local Cup Finals, winning two of them, and finished third in the League. In the 2005–06 season, the club went one better and was runner-up to Winchester City and, with the club meeting FA ground-grading requirements, it joined the Southern League in Division One South & West. In the 2008–09 season, his first full season in charge, manager Gary Ackling guided the club to winning the Basingstoke Senior Cup.
In June 2010, Thatcham appointed Colin Millard as manager. With over half of the squad departed, many to its local rival Hungerford Town, and a reduction in the club's playing budget, Millard had the difficult task of rebuilding the squad for the 2010–11 season. Millard left the club in October 2010, and Ackling returned to manage the club. In April 2011, Thatcham Town beat Tadley Calleva 4–1 to win The Basingstoke Senior Cup Final. This was played at the ground at Andover New Street. Thatcham won the competition again at the end of the 2011–12 season, beating Basingstoke New Inn 3–0 in the final.
Thatcham Town plays its home games at Waterside Park in Crookham Hill, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 4PA.
Having previously played at The Marsh in Dunston Green, Brownsfield (the home of the local cricket club) and Station Road, the club moved to a new 10-acre (40,000 m2) site at Waterside Park in 1992. The record attendance at the current home is 1,400 for the visit of Aldershot Town in the FA Vase in the 1993–94 season.
Probably the best known player to have played for Thatcham is Lawrie Sanchez. Sanchez was born in London to a Northern Irish mother and an Ecuadorian father, but when it came to selecting which country to represent at international level in his playing career, he chose Northern Ireland. He played for Thatcham three times before moving on to Reading.
The former Burnley striker Charlie Austin used to play for Thatcham.
Other players who have played for Thatcham and who have played or managed in the Football League or a foreign equivalent to this level (i.e. fully professional league) are:Joe Tillen
Wessex Football League:Winners: 1995–96
Runners-up: 1998–99, 2005–06
Hellenic Football League Premier Division :Winners: 1974–75
Hellenic Football League Division One:Winners: 1958–59, 1964–65, 1972–73
Reading Temperance League Division Two:Winners: 1905–06
Berks and Bucks Senior Cup:Winners: 1974–75
Berks and Bucks Senior Trophy:Winners: 2004–05
Wessex League Cup:Winners: 1990–91, 1991–92, 1994–95, 1996–97
Basingstoke Senior Cup:Winners: 2008–09, 2010–11, 2011–12
Berks and Bucks Junior Cup:Winners: 1935–36
Best league performance: 5th in Southern League Division One South & West, 2010–11
Best FA Cup performance: 4th Qualifying Round, 1996–97
Best FA Trophy performance: 2nd Qualifying Round, 2008–09
Best FA Vase performance: Quarter-finals, 1988–89
Highest attendance: 1,400 vs Aldershot Town 1993–94