Colne F.C. was formed in January 1996 by a group of like-minded people under the wing of former Chairman Dave Blacklock. The enthusiasts combined their strength and knowledge of non-league football, and arrangements were made for the new club to use the vacant Holt House Stadium, once used by the then de-banded Colne Dynamoes with the club playing its first competitive game the North West Counties Football League Division Two.
Colne F.C.’s first ever competitive game was on the 17th August 1996 against Middlewich and the result ended in a 1-0 defeat. The team was managed by Keith Mason but his early resignation paved the way for Denzil Hart to be appointed to the hot seat. His first game was a 6-0 defeat away at Ashton Town but just two games later Colne F.C. recorded their first ever victory thumping Bacup Borough 5-2. The season will be remembered as the reserves won the clubs first silverware as the BEP Cup was secured at Shawbridge, home of Clitheroe FC.
Hart left the club in September 200 with player, John Lister placed in temporary charge with his permanent appointment confirmed a month later. Lister revamped the playing squad and finished 14th in his second season at the helm.
In the summer of 2002 James Webster took control of the club to become the youngest chairman in the league at the age of 24. James was a player at the club with plenty of experience and along with his father, who was appointed Vice Chairman, had a strong desire to see the current side emulate the success of the grounds former occupants. Season 2002/03 started well enough but in December 2002 John Lister resigned as Manager. Paul Lynch took over as manager but subsequently left to take the reins at Unibond side, Rossendale United.
Webster responded immediately by appointing Nigel Coates as the new manager with Gary Rishton filling the role of assistant. Nigel had managerial experience at local rivals Nelson but was lured by the Holt House due to his affiliation with the town. Coates had played for Colne Dynamoes, and was involved at Wembley as the club won the FA Vase.
Season 2003/04 and having played catch-up since Christmas, the league and cup double was secured as the club finished the season 10 points clear in Division 2, having scored an incredible 102 goals in their 38 games and overcame Great Harwood 1-0 in the Division 2 Trophy Final
The season was capped by an amazing run in the FA Vase as the club progressed all the way to the semi-finals (via an incredible 1-2 away win at AFC Wimbledon) before being defeated over two legs 4-3 on aggregate to AFC Studbury. With the success came the rise in attendances. The local population again dreamed and so the infamous ‘RED ARMY” was formed.
Colne took little time in adjusting to life in the First Division, another FA Vase run and a creditable 10th place was secured in 2004/05. Consolidation followed with two 5th finished in season 2007/08 and the same again in 2010/11.
At the beginning of the season 2005/06 the club were officially amalgamated with Foulridge Minors Football teams adding much needed and now coveted junior section to the resources of the club and the following season the club was awarded Charter Standard status.
In November 2013 Colne’s manager for the past 10 years stepped down from the hot seat and former Colne player, Steven Cunningham, was appointed Manager with another former favourite, Ted Cockett, as his assistant.Steve and Ted had ambitious plans for the club and wasted no time in bringing in a few new faces to boost the playing squad, consolidating for the rest of the season but with big hopes for the following campaign.
Shaun O’Neill was appointed chairman in May 2014 and alongside business partner and Club President Lee Duerden became Main Club Sponsors at the newly named XLCR Stadium.
A new club milestone was reached as the Reds finished 4 as the 2014/15 season ended. Colne were beaten finalists in the MEN Utd Cup the year after but this was eclipsed as the club gained promotion to Step 4 of the English pyramid, as Danny Boyle scored an 82nd minute winner in the final league game versus 1874 Northwich.
The club finished a remarkable 4th and a defeat against Farsley Celtic followed in the playoff semi-final. With the sponsorship agreement with XLCR now over, James Webster was again named Chairman and immediately tasked with ensuring the club could not only compete but more importantly, survive.
Utility Renewals Ltd was the main sponsor and Ryan Haigh was appointed Chairman in June 17 and alongside partner Kirsty Dixon, almost immediately changed the club crest and with it created Colne F.C ‘the brand’. The Town crest that had not only symbolised Colne F.C. since its formation in 1996 but also the Dynamos before hand, was replaced.
The rampant lion at the top of the arms (strictly speaking, its crest) from the armorial insignia of the De Lacys', who were the ancient Lords of the Manor of Colne, was now the main focus moving forward. The ‘Lego’ Lion as it has been locally referred to, is now the prominent image of the forwarding think club and recognisable nationwide.
‘The Red Army’ was for the first time, emblazed on the club shirt as colours reverted back to those of the town. Red and White, always the recognised home colours stayed but the away blue, or more recently white, was reverted back to yellow. Changes were made to the organisation of the club as a business working ethic was followed with player contracts becoming increasingly common.
The exciting summer of 2017 saw Colne F.C. pay its first fee for a player as Hakan Burton joined from Conference North side, Curzon Ashton and a certain Alex Curran joined the club following his release from Blackburn Rovers.
The playing squad took a major overhaul during the playing season as the club finished joint 7th but dropped to 8th on goal difference and ultimately missed out on the playoffs in what proved to be the strongest league as the tier was reshuffled and 4 teams gained promotion from the Evostik North.
Colne F.C. achieved its highest league finish to-date with 4th placed secured on the final day of the season in what was now the Evostik West but were sadly defeated in a hotly contested semi-final against Leek who themselves missed the chance of promotion at the final hurdle.
A lot has to be said of the volunteers who, although small in numbers, work tirelessly to preserve the clubs facilities. There is no need to list them but it must be remembered that no matter how far this football club hopefully progresses, nothing would have been possible without their efforts.
Exciting times are a-foot for the Lancashire Club as the Chairman negotiates the final stages of a new look Stadium with state of the art facilities and a 4G playing surface.