Paget Rangers

The club was established in 1938 by pupils of Paget Road School in Erdington, Birmingham and was accepted into the Intermediate Division of the Birmingham Juvenile Organisation Committee. In their first two seasons Paget were successful, winning the league title on both occasions, however the outbreak of World War II brought a halt to progress. At the end of the war, Paget joined the Birmingham Youth and Old Boys AFA, before moving to the Central Amateur League in 1949 and then the Worcestershire Combination (now Midland Combination) in 1950.

In 1951 Paget Rangers purchased a site on Springfield Road in Walmley for a cost of £550. Springfield Road was to be Paget’s home for the next 42 years. The 1950s was a decade of consolidation for The Bears, before experiencing their first major success in 1960 when a unique quadruple was achieved: Paget won the Midland Combination League Title, the Midland Combination League Cup, the Birmingham Junior Cup and the Sutton Coldfield Charity Cup. Paget went on to retain the league title again in 1961. Further success followed in 1967 when Paget Rangers defeated Alvechurch to win the Midland Combination League cup (Alvechurch had beaten Paget in the previous year’s final). In 1970 Paget won the Midland Combination Premier Division for the third time, following that success with a second-place finish in 1971.

In 1971 the club erected floodlights at Springfield Road, becoming the first Midland Combination club to have floodlights. The switching on of the lights was marked by a visit of Aston Villa to Springfield Road.

Paget Rangers won their fourth Midland Combination League Cup in 1983 and a fifth success followed in 1986, earning Paget Rangers a place in the Southern League for the first time. Several players resigned followed the departure of manager Eddie Caulfield to local rivals Sutton Coldfield Town, and after one season in the Southern League the club was relegated to the West Midlands (Regional) League.

Paget adapted to the West Midlands (Regional) League and achieved a top half finish in all but one season between 1988 and 1994. The highest place achieved during this period was a second-place finish in 1992, when Gresley Rovers won the title. Success was achieved in the League Cup in 1992, when Paget Rangers defeated Gresley Rovers in a thrilling final. The club also reached the final of the League Cup in both 1993 and 1994, but finished as runners-up on both occasions.

In 1993 Paget Rangers sold their Springfield Road ground for housing development for a fee in excess of £1.4 million.[citation needed] Whilst a site for a new home was sought, Paget Rangers began a groundshare agreement with Sutton Coldfield Town.

In 1994, following league restructuring, Paget were elected as founder members of the new Midland Football Alliance. Paget won the inaugural championship in 1994/95 by a twelve-point margin from Hinckley Athletic to again achieve promotion to the Southern League Midland Division.

In the 1994-95 season, in addition to claiming the Midland Football Alliance Championship, Paget won the Lord Mayor of Birmingham’s Charity Cup when beating Moor Green in the final, and finished as runners-up in the Staffordshire Senior Cup to Stoke City. The same season saw them reach the semi-final of the Birmingham Senior Cup, with their best-ever run in the competition which included a 2–1 victory over Coventry City in the quarter final. However, they were beaten by Aston Villa at Villa Park.

In all, throughout the 1994/95 season, a total of five Southern League Clubs were beaten in various cup competitions. The first season in the Southern League resulted in a fifth-place finish, including victories over both Tamworth and Nuneaton Borough. Rangers were at the top of the league at Christmas 1994, after which striker Ian Bennett and midfielder David Campbell were sold to Leicester United.

After five seasons ground sharing with Sutton Coldfield Town, Paget moved to their new home at Vale Stadium at Castle Vale, for the start of the 1998/99 season. The expected increase in attendances didn’t materialise, the new pitch was prone to flooding and boardroom disagreements due to the inheritance of £1.4m caused the team to struggle both on and off the pitch.

The Club continued to play in the Southern League Western Division for two more seasons before relegation occurred at the end of the 2000–01 season. As the season was drawing to a close, several players departed following the withdrawal of financial support, after which several youth team players were played. Paget were relegated to the Midland Alliance, but four wins from their final six games meant Paget avoided bottom spot.

Paget’s first season back in the Midland Football Alliance saw youth featured prominently as the Bears attempted to stabilise in new surroundings. Paget achieved a mid-table position in their first season back in the Midland Alliance, however the club resigned at the end of the season and subsequently folded. The club’s final game was at home to Barwell on 23 April 2002. Paget won the game 3–1.

In 2011 Paget Rangers supporter Matthew Dainty relaunched the club. After 18 months of planning Paget’s application to the Midland Football Combination for the 2012/13 season was rejected, after which the club joined the Birmingham AFA where they were placed in Division 2. Paget won the Birmingham & District AFA Senior Cup at the first attempt, defeating Athletic Sparkhill in a final 6–5. In total three Premier Division clubs were defeated in the competition. Paget also came top of their league, pipping second-place Aston Reserves by a few points, to secure the AFA Division 2 title in their first season back.

For the 2013/14 season Paget’s application to the Midland Combination was successful and the club was placed in Division 3. Despite establishing a twelve-point lead by Christmas, the Bears were eventually caught and overtaken by eventual champions Kenilworth Town and runners-up Coventry United. Third place was sufficient for the club to be promoted to the Midland Football League 2nd Division for the 2014/15 season. Paget also reached the final of the Smedley Crooke Memorial Cup in 2013/14, going down by four goals to one against Bromsgrove Sporting at their Victoria Ground in front of a crowd of 408.

The 2016/17 season was a hugely successful one for Paget Rangers. The club progressed to the 2nd round proper of the FA Vase for the first time in 26 years defeating Highgate United and St. Andrews along the way, both of whom played two divisions higher than the Bears. Paget also completed a league and cup double, being crowned champions after defeating Coton Green 2-1 in the final league game of the season before winning the Les James Challenge Cup for a record sixth time, defeating Redditch Borough by 2 goals to 1 at Walsall FC’s Banks’s Stadium.