Widnes FC were formed in February 2003 as The Dragons AFC, later to be known as Widnes Dragons. The Club developed a fantastic reputation locally for their contribution towards the development of grassroots football in Halton and for providing opportunities to play football for over 200 players from the age of six to open age.
The Club put in a great amount of effort and worked tirelessly to run the club according to the best practices laid down by the FA, to that end the club achieved the FA Charter Standard award in December 2003, being recognised as the first club to achieve this award in Halton. In 2008, the Club later went on to be awarded the FA Charter Standard Development award for the continuous development of grassroots football.
In March 2012 Widnes Dragons started a consultation process with Widnes Vikings RLFC to become part of the Vikings Sports brand, a partnership that would enhance the clubs community status. A First Team was established with the short-term goal of being granted entry into the North West Counties Football League as Widnes Vikings FC.
Later that year during the Club’s annual AGM, the Club’s members agreed to become part of the Widnes Vikings Group and agreed on a 12-month transitional period up to the end of the 2012/13 season. The club were proud to achieve the FA Charter Standard Community Club award in July 2012.
Steve Hill was appointed First Team manager in September 2012 and steered the Club to a 4th place finish in its inaugural and so far, only season in the West Cheshire League Third Division. During this season, the Club also submitted its application to join the North West Counties Football League for the 2013/14 season.
Prior to the season, Widnes’ application was successful, and the Club began life in the North West Counties Football League Third Division with a 3-1 home defeat to Cheadle Town before winning their first game in the NWCFL with an emphatic 5-1 away win over Northwich Flixton Villa.
Hill eventually guided his side to a 14th place finish in their inaugural season in the First Division with 36 points from 36 games.
Off the pitch, the Club would be re-named as Widnes Football Club after ending their partnership with Widnes Vikings. The junior setup would also breakaway from the Club, re-forming as a separate entity under The Dragons guise.
The 2014/15 season saw the Club make significant progress in cup competitions. Widnes reached the last 16 of the League Cup before falling to eventual League Champions Glossop North End and reached the Quarter-Final of the Liverpool Senior Cup, beating Prescot Cables before being knocked out in the last eight by eventual winners Skelmersdale United.
The season also oversaw the Club’s first foray in the FA Vase. Widnes were knocked out in the Second Qualifying Round following a 2-0 defeat at AFC Emley.
Following the season’s conclusion, winger Ben Tollitt became the first former Widnes player to play for a Football League club as he signed a one-year deal with 2008 FA Cup winners Portsmouth, after impressing on trial with Paul Cook’s side during pre-season. Tollitt’s performances earned the former Widnes man a one-year extension after scoring once in 16 games in all competitions for the EFL League Two club.
Tollitt has since gone on to achieve two promotions with Tranmere Rovers, and is now on the books at Blackpool in League One.
The following season saw the Club again reach the Quarter-Final of the Liverpool Senior Cup, coming up against an Everton XI managed by David Unsworth. The young Toffees excelled in the game and beat Widnes 8-0 despite an admirable performance from the home side.
After a 13th placed finish, Chairman David Day and Manager Steve Hill stepped down from their roles, allowing a new Board of Directors and management team to be appointed to bring some much-needed new stimulus to the club.
Mr Day remained on the newly established Board of Directors, headed by incoming Chairman Ian Ross that bring the necessary expertise and drive to enable the Club to progress over the coming seasons.
Danny Meadowcroft and Brian Pritchard where appointed as joint managers heading into the 2016/17 season but later left the Club by mutual consent following an indifferent start to the season in September. Danny Salt was appointed interim manager, leading the side to a win and a draw in his two games in charge.
Former Burscough, Warrington Town and Runcorn Linnets manager Joey Dunn was appointed as new First Team Manager later that month.
Dunn’s appointment led to a massive turnaround in results, with Widnes putting together a run of just two league defeats in their final 32 league games as the Whites surged to the North West Counties First Division title.
The title and promotion was secured with a game to spare after a 5-1 win at AFC Blackpool, with Widnes winning 14 straight games to finish at the top of the pile. The Whites also performed admirably in cup competitions that season, reaching the last eight of both the League Cup and Liverpool Senior Cup, and the Semi-Final of the First Division Cup before losing out to eventual winners City of Liverpool.
During the season, Kevin Towey became the Club's new record goal-scorer following a brace at Skelmersdale United in November – a record that still stands to this day at 72 goals.
The summer of 2017 oversaw the Club’s attempts to re-establish a junior setup with two youth teams at Under 7s and Under 9s. Lindsey Davies was appointed as Youth Development Officer, and the junior section has thrived ever-since become a pillar of the local community.
The 2017/18 season started with Widnes’ first-ever FA Cup game which ended in a heavy 5-0 defeat at home to Handsworth Parramore at the Halton Stadium.
Widnes would endure an inconsistent start to life in the North West Counties Premier Division (level 9 of the National League system) – the highest level in the Club’s short history.
Ultimately, manager Dunn would depart in early October resigning from his position as manager. Senior players Kevin Towey and Steve Akrigg were installed as player/joint-managers and would go on to enjoy a massively successful first foray into management.
The duo began their stint with three successive 2-2 draws, with Widnes scoring late equalisers in each of those games to rescue a point. Their first win would come with an emphatic 5-1 win over Maine Road at the Halton Stadium as Sam Sheen netted twice.
Inconsistency would continue to plague the Whites in the following weeks, emphasised by a 3-3 draw at Padiham late in October that went viral after Widnes conceded twice in the last two minutes in a bizarre stoppage time period that was reported by various National Media outlets including the Guardian, the BBC and a feature on Soccer AM, while Champions League and World Cup winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas would tweet about the game on his Twitter account.
This would eventually have a positive effect on the side as Widnes never really looked back. A 3-0 home defeat to Charnock Richard in November would be the last time Widnes would taste defeat in the league until March as the Whites won 23 of their 25 remaining games to seal a second successive promotion to the Northern Premier League, beating out local rivals Runcorn Town on the final day.
In truth, Widnes’ form from November onwards was remarkable, only tasting defeat twice against Marine (Liverpool Senior Cup Semi-Final) and Barnoldswick Town – a run that included a 5-1 home win over Southport in the Liverpool Senior Cup, and league double over neighbours Runcorn Linnets.
The form would continue in the League Cup, as Widnes would end the season with a trophy after beating Burscough in the Final at Fleetwood Town’s Highbury Stadium, with the Whites coming from behind to win with goals from Ben Hodkinson and a late Sheen winner.
The summer of 2018 saw Widnes’ preparation for a first-ever season in the Northern Premier League Division One West (level 8 of the National League system) disrupted by pitch problems at the Halton Stadium, which had failed its FIFA artificial pitch test. With the surface due to be re-laid after the conclusion of the Rugby League season, Widnes were forced to begin the season at Barnton FC’s Townfield Lane ground.
Once again, the Club continued to make significant strides as one of Halton’s best junior football clubs. The 2018/19 season saw the junior section expand to 14 teams across eight age groups, including two girls’ teams at Under 12s and Under 14s.
Promotion to the Northern Premier League also allowed the Cub to enter a team into the NPL Football Academy, forming the Widnes FC 'Education and Football Academy' – an alternative to college, ideal for any 16/17 year-old who wants to gain a great education and develop as a footballer at the same time.
The Club’s first season at Step 4 proved to be an inconsistent one, with co-bosses Akrigg and Towey ultimately guiding the side to a consolidatory 12th placed finish. Widnes would again advance to the Liverpool Senior Cup Semi-Final, losing to Prescot Cables on penalties.
Widnes did add another trophy to the cabinet though with a 3-0 win at Runcorn Linnets to lift the North West Counties Champions Cup.
It was a significant season for a number of players, with Kev Pollard, Mike Burke and Chris and George Lomax reaching a century of Widnes appearances, while Accrington Stanley loanee Niall Watson would become the Whites’ youngest ever player and goal-scorer in a 2-2 draw against Colwyn Bay in January aged 18 years and 211 days.
The 2019/20 season will once again see the Club’s junior section expand to 19 teams, capping yet another milestone in the our burgeoning youth setup.