Another game, another new stadium for Grecian fans to experience as Exeter City travel to the EnviroVent Stadium on Saturday.
Ahead of the game we have an all-you-need-to-know about the Sulphurites.
- Founded: 1914
- Nicknames: Town, The Sulphurites
- Honours: Northern Premier League Division One (2001/02), Yorkshire League Division One (1926/27), West Riding County Cup (6 times winners), Whitworth Cup (13 times winners)
- Home Kit: NEW BALANCE Yellow and black stripes, black shorts, yellow and black socks
- Away Kit: NEW BALANCE Blue shirt, blue shorts and socks.
- Form: WWW (3rd in League Two)
Formed as Harrogate AFC in 1914, the club played in the Midland, Yorkshire and Northern Leagues before folding in 1932. The current club was reformed as Harrogate Hotspurs and changed their name again to Town in 1948.
Harrogate is a quaint town in the heart of Yorkshire famous for its natural springs. Its spa water contains iron, sulphur and common salt, hence the football club’s nickname: the Sulphurites. After her eleven-day disappearance in 1926, Devon’s legendary crime writer Agatha Christie mysteriously turned up to The Old Swan Hotel on the edge on Harrogate. The town was voted the “happiest place to live in England” three consecutive times between 2013-15.
As Harrogate AFC the club won multiple titles and local cups before its collapse. Hotspurs began in the Harrogate & District League and won their first trophy in 1936. The change of name in 1948 reflected the club’s status as the area’s most successful team.
It took Harrogate Town 51 seasons from their first appearance in the competition, to reach the FA Cup first round proper. In 2002/03 John Reed’s men defeated Great Harwood, Wisbech Town and Accrington Stanley to qualify but were humbled 5-1 by Conference side Farnborough.
The Sulphurites only became professional in 2017, which coincided with their rise up the football pyramid. Simon Weaver took charge of the first team in 2009 and since guided Town to the National League in 2018 before promotion to the Football League in 2020.
Last season, Harrogate cemented their League status and despite a Covid hit start to this term have still been able to propel themselves to third in the table with maximum points.
The 42-year-old began his career at City’s FA Cup third round opponents Sheffield Wednesday in the late 90’s. The former defender had playing spells at Lincoln and Macclesfield but nearing the end of his career focussed on playing lower down the pyramid.
Weaver joined Town in 2009 as a player/manager and his dad Irvine became club chairman. Together the Weaver’s transformed Harrogate from sixth tier strugglers to a football league legacy. In August, Weaver led his Harrogate side out at Wembley for the second time as the Sulphurites ran out 3-1 winners against Notts County.
- Name: The EnviroVent Stadium
- Capacity: 5,000
- Year opened: 1920
- Record Attendance: 4,280 v Harrogate Railway (1949)
- Address: Wetherby Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG2 7SA
While Starbeck Lane was the original ground of Harrogate AFC, Wetherby Road has always been the home to Harrogate Town. After the Weaver’s introduction, the EnviroVent Stadium (sponsorship) has seen some significant redevelopments to prove Harrogate’s young professional status.
In 2013 two new stands were erected and the pitch was renovated into an artificial surface to ensure the club would be able to host games over the damning winter months. Upon promotion to the Football League, regulations meant Harrogate had to remove the 3G pitch which led to Town starting the season at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium.
In addition to this, a new Main Stand was constructed with close to 1,000 seats, boosting the capacity of the stadium to 5,000. This will be the first time Exeter City fans will be able to travel to Wetherby Road since Harrogate’s promotion.
One To Watch
Muldoon joined Town in June 2018 having proved a success at former clubs AFC Fylde and Lincoln City, winning promotion to the Football League with The Imps and scoring The Coasters Goal of the Season against Macclesfield during 2017/18.
Muldoon has finished as top scorer in each of his three seasons at the club and holds the honour of scoring our first EFL goal away at Southend and first EFL goal in Harrogate against Barrow.
The 32-year-old was on target for the Town when they pulled off a shock victory at St James Park last season. His 77th minute finish separated the two sides and his physical presence dominated throughout.
Last season was the inaugural occasions of Exeter City and Harrogate Town playing each other. The first game at St James Park earned the Sulphurites all three points before a weather-swept return fixture ended goalless.
Harrogate Town 0-0 Exeter City | Sky Bet League Two | The EnviroVent Stadium | January, 19, 2021
Exeter City were severely limited for chances as ten-man Harrogate earned a point in Yorkshire.
Exeter City 1-2 Harrogate Town | Sky Bet League Two | St James Park | December 15, 2020
The free-scoring Grecians were humbled at home by the Football League new-boys. Jack Muldoon’s strike separated the sides after Jake Taylor had cancelled out Brendan Keirnan’s 31st minute opener.
Harrogate’s record for most goals in a game falls to Arthur Stanley (no relation to Accrington) who scored seven against Yeadon Celtic in the West Riding County Cup in a game that finished 11-2all the way back in 1938.