Southwell City was formed in 1893 and plays its football on the Memorial Ground in the shadow of the magnificent Norman Minister which became a Cathedral just prior to the club’s formation. Hence the name Southwell City, despite the fact that City status has never officially been conferred on the market town.
Records from the early years are sketchy. One of the earliest club photos dates back to 1911, when the team won the final of the Newark and District League Challenge Cup. Sadly, many of the players in that team would go one to lose their lives fighting for their country in the 1st World War.
The Southwell City team photo of 1922/23 featured Barney Johnson, landlord of the George and Dragon pub (now known as the The Bramley Apple Inn).
The club was reformed in 1955. At the time, City played home games on Crafts Fields in Southwell, which is now a housing estate. After competing in the Newark & District Alliance, the club joined the Notts Football Alliance in 1957. City competed in this competition until the end of the 2002/03 season, when it took the decision to move to the Central Midlands League.
In 1995 City regained its Senior Division status under manager Mick Heron. The first year saw a struggle against relegation and Heron resigned at the end of the season. The club turned to its then Reserves manager, John Campbell . The first year saw consolidation and the following year City achieved its highest position in its history. In total John Campbell was manager for 9 years and enjoyed the most successful period in its history, being runners up twice, third and eventually winning the coveted Senior Division championship in 2000/01.
Cup success has been rare for City with only two wins in seven finals. However the Notts Alliance Senior Cup was eventually won in 2001/02. City reached the final of the Notts Senior Cup twice. First in 1989 under ex Forest professional Colin Barrett where they lost to Eastwood Town 2-0, and secondly in 2002 when they lost 1-0 to Gedling Town in a closely fought County Senior Cup Final at Meadow Lane. This success on the field was matched by the Club’s investment in its facilities, with City having modern changing facilities and an excellent Clubhouse and bar. Floodlights were installed in 2001.
In 2003/4 City joined the CML, and in their first season gained promotion from the Premier Division having finished second to Radcliffe. City first season in the Supreme Division saw them consolidate and they finished 14th At the end of the 2004/05 John Campbell decided to retire and City appointed Brett Marshall as their new manager. City finished a creditable 4th in the Supreme Division in season 2005/6 and 8th in season 2006/7 and 7th in season.2007/8. They also were the runners-up in the Floodlit Cup in season 2007/8. Mark Nangle took over as manager for season 2008/9 and finished 12th and 13th in the next two seasons.
Since last season City, have merged with Southwell United Youth Football to form the 3rd largest club in Notts with over 30 teams at all levels. The senior section of the club, besides running a 1st team, runs a Reserves side in the Notts Senior league plus U-19s and U-18s teams, and two Veterans teams. The club also achieved Adult Charter status and is working towards Community Club Charter status which it hopes to get later this year. The objective of the merger is to enable the joint club to develop facilities that will enable the club to provide the much needed pitch and changing facilities for the Junior sides and a ground that will enable City to progress to Step 6 and beyond.
In 2012, City merged with Southwell Amateurs to continue to build one of the biggest clubs in Nottinghamshire. After 2 strong seasons under the management of Dave Scott, City then spent the next 2 and a half seasons in turmoil; with the squad in disarray and lots of change off the pitch.
In Jan 2016, the first team appointed Tom Macdonald as manager, assisted by Jonny Upton and Freddie Danby. In the summer, Russ Hullett and Shaun Stocks also joined the management team – and the recruitment of players continued. Whilst developments continue on the pitch, the same can be said for off the pitch as the executive committee continue to refurbish the clubhouse to ensure the club is at the level it needs to be.
In May 2019, with Jonny Upton now manager, the team finished a great season by winning the Samba Nottinghamshire Senior League Senior Cup with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Stapleford Town. This was City’s first trophy since 2002.
Still under manager Upton, City won the Notts Senior League in 2021/22. After a shaky start to the season the team went on an unbeaten run that broke all previous club records, including 16 consecutive victories in league and cup. This was the club’s first league title in 21 years and enabled the club to apply for promotion to Step 6, the United Counties League, for the first time ever.