FRESH IN | Halifax Town

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Mon 03 Jul 2017

As the new season begins to draw nearer day by day, we’ll have six new additions to the National League next term. Continuing the series, here we cast our eye on promoted FC Halifax Town.
 
Name: FC Halifax Town
Formed: 2008
Nickname: The Shaymen
Ground: The Shay
Manager: Billy Heath
2016/2017: 3rd (Promoted via the Play-Offs, National League North)
 
Who Are Ya?
Formed in 2008 following the demise of the old Halifax Town, FC Halifax Town began life in the Northern Premier League Division One North. In their first season Halifax finished 8th before storming to the league title in the 2009/10 campaign. 
 
It was the first of successive promotions for the Shaymen as they reached the National League North in 2011. After a season in non-league’s step two, they built solid foundations and a year later went on to achieve promotion to non-league’s top flight via the play-offs in 2012. 
 
With the old Halifax having spent the majority of their history in the Football League, the new Shay looked to continue that tradition, finishing in the National League play-offs in their first season back. Sadly they went on to lose signalling the end of the sudden rise. They failed to reach the play-offs the next season and another year on suffered relegation to the National League North. However, they would soon bounce back.
 
Last Season
Under manager Billy Heath, the 2016/2017 season was one to remember at the Shay. Having left promoted North Ferriby United to head across to West Yorkshire, he led his side to a competitive and successful year. They battled with the likes of AFC Fylde, Kidderminster Harriers and Salford City for league honours, but it was play-offs that greeted the Shaymen come May. They faced faced Salford City in the semi-final drawing both legs 1-1 before winning 3-0 on penalties. They then went on to play Chorley in the final at the Shay. The game went to extra-time before Joe Garner’s 100th minute goal sent Halifax back to the National League in front of a record crowd for the National League North play-off final. 
 
The Gaffer
Manager Billy Heath has a wealth of experience in non-league football, but has never made it above National League level. During his playing career he played for the likes of Alfreton Town, Lincoln United, Matlock and North Ferriby United.
 
He went into management taking charge of the likes of Bridlington Town, Frickley Athletic and Hall Road Rangers before moving on to former club North Ferriby in 2011. With the Villagers he won promotion as champions of the Northern Premier League Premier Division and promotion via the play-offs in the National League. 
 
Perhaps his greatest achievement came in the FA Trophy in 2015. Heath’s Ferriby side reached the final at Wembley where they met Wrexham. The Dragons led 2-0 before United pulled two goals back before taking the lead in extra-time. Louis Moult equalised late on for Wrexham before Ferriby took the honours in a penalty shoot-out.
 
Following promotion to the National League, Heath surprised many by taking the job at Halifax, who had been relegated to the National League North, but had added to his CV yet another promotion last term.
 
The Squad
Halifax have a number of strong players in their squad and will be hoping to continue their fine form into the National League. Striker Tom Denton bagged 18 goals last season in what was his second successive promotion. He went up with North Ferriby in 2016 and has replicated that with boss Billy Heath.
 
It’s been a busy summer for Halifax with a number of quality signings joining. Former Wrexham defender Martin Riley signed for the club in May one a one-year deal. They have since signed Port Vale goalkeeper Sam Johnson and attacker Bohan Dixon from AFC Fylde.

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