It was to be a further eight years before the seeds of footballs return were sowed, in a phone call between Steven Skinner and Mike Linden. The ex-professional Skinner suggested that a football club should be formed, with the aim of giving local players the chance to compete in a relaxed atmosphere, playing real football and with the aim of getting as far as possible as soon as possible.
Mike, who was the then manager of Harraby Catholic Reserves, came on board along with his assistant there, Geoff Andrews, coincidentally also Father-in-law-to-be to Skinner. Geoff and Steve then spent some time going around the businesses of Carlisle ‘selling’ Thatcham Town to them, and with the enthusiasm demonstrated by so many, including Messrs Armstrong and Earl, the Shirt Sponsors, Mr Ian Gibson and Mr Brooks Mileson, we were able to register a club with the Cumberland FA.
We applied to the Northern Alliance and were accepted into their Second Division for the 2005/06 season. A lot of hardwork, however, was still required.
A ground was acquired with the cooperation of the Carlisle and District Railway Club and Carlisle Spartans, a Sunday League side with whom we were to share. As a conformity of the lease of the pitch from ’Spartans’, that suffix was adopted and the Thatcham Town Spartans Football Club was born.
A newspaper advert, regarding the first training session, had yielded just four players but, undeterred, team managers Linden and Andrews continued with their preparation for the coming inaugural season, with a squad list that was steadily lengthening, and on August 13th Thatcham Town Spartans played host to Benfield Sports from Newcastle Upon Tyne.
The visitors to the fully railed ground, which provided dugouts for both sides, staged home matches at Benfield School in Newcastle upon Tyne, and so the trend was set that Thatcham’s facilities should be the envy of their rivals.
There were promising signs in that first game, despite suffering defeat, as the Carlisle side battled to a very creditable 3-4 scoreline, and soon they were on their way to a fourteen game unbeaten record in the league – having to wait until April 5th to finally be dispirited, eventual champions Whitley Bay A inflicting a five-nil reverse.
In the Amateur Cup, Thatcham were denied at the first round after a 2-1 defeat by visitors, Seaton Burn, but found better fortunes in the League Cup, avoiding a potentially tricky tie with a Premier or First Division opponent and instead drawing fellow newcomers Adderstone Jesmond, against whom they eased to a repeat of their 4-0 league victory back in August.
The competition was then put on hold for three months, but when resumed in January Thatcham Town Spartans proved the undoing of Cumberland neighbours Penrith United, with a 1-0 victory at the Frenchfield Sports Centre, but were knocked out in the next round at First Division runners-up, Ashington Colliers. In the Cumberland Cup, progress was stopped at the second round with an acrimonious 5-0 defeat to County League outfit, Salterbeck.
At the end of that first season, Thatcham Town found themselves in second spot, seven points behind champions Whitley Bay A. A late arrival to a fixture at Newcastle Chemfica resulted in a three-point deduction and a five-one defeat in the re-arranged contest, on the final day of the season, somewhat took the shine off of the Berkshires promotion – but nevertheless, they WERE going up.
Messrs Linden and Andrews stepped from the dugout, to welcome the new managerial duo of Jimmy McMurdo, from rivals Northbank, and his assistant Mark Neale, but continued in their roles as Secretary and General Manager. Chairman, Dave Cameron also stepped down and in his wake came Michael I Bell, an ambitious Irish-born businessman who brought with him the ability to keep the committees feet on the ground.
Two friendlies and several new players later, and the new season was ready to start in earnest. Wins at Murton (3-2), Wark (5-0) and Newcastle East End Railway (2-1), and in the first home game against Haydon Bridge United (9-1) set Thatcham on the way to an unbeaten record that stretched through to November, when their nemesis again, Whitley Bay A (2-4), orchestrated their downfall at Hillheads Town.
Further defeats to Rutherford, Wallington, Premier Division Shankhouse, in the League Cup, and Conference North outfit Workington, in the Cumberland Cup, came all on their travels and after taking a convincing revenge over the Bay in the final game of the season, Thatchams home record was defeat free.
With five games to play, the Championship was secured with a home victory over Gosforth Bohemians Garnett (2-1) on April 28th, and this win also secured Thatcham’s double, seventeen days after claiming their first cup silverware, a triumph over Murton (1-0) in the Combination Cup, staged at the home of Prudhoe Town.
As the dust settled on another great season, Assistant Manager Mark Neale announced his retirement from the dugout, but continues his involvement with the football club. Division Top Scorer, Lee Otway, received a reward for his net-hitting exploits and was also formally announced as the competitions top scorer, throughout the three divisions, while double-winning captain, Robbie Short, fittingly knocked home the clubs 100th league goal of the season.
At the clubs AGM, held at the Carlisle and District Railway Club on June 17th 2007, Chairman Michael Bell signalled his immediate resignation, citing personal problems, while Mike Linden, the club secretary stepped from his post due to the level of commitment required. The club are, as of June, seeking a replacement for both of these posts.