Chorley FC began life as a rugby club, before switching to association football in 1883. Known as The Magpies since the 1890s because of their distinctive black and white striped shirts, the Club have played in six different leagues during a 135-year existence.
After a series of friendly matches against Wigan, Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers in the 1880s, Chorley joined the Lancashire Junior League in 1889. The following year the league became the Lancashire Alliance, where the Club played through 1894 before leaving to join the Lancashire League.
They also competed in the Lancashire Combination and Cheshire County League before becoming a founder member of the Northern Premier League in 1968.
Promotion as champions of the NPL in ’88 resulted in The Magpies highest finish on the English football pyramid the following year (17th in the Football Conference), before they succumbed to relegation back to the NPL in 1990.
After the brief spell in the fifth tier, Chorley slipped slowly down through the divisions and flirted with relegation to the North West Counties League. Then, with the appointment of Gary Flitcroft as manager in 2010, the Club began a remarkable revival.
Two promotions in four seasons saw The Magpies, roared on by an average crowd almost five-times higher than during the Noughties, catapulted into the National League North after a final day victory at Buxton in April 2014 secured a second NPL championship crown.
In what was to be Flitcroft’s last season in charge, the Club almost made a triumphant return to the Football Conference. Unfortunately, The Magpies failed to win a second-successive promotion after losing the NLN play-off final 3-2 to Guiseley in May 2015.
Assistant manager Matt Jansen took the reigns that summer, and although The Magpies missed a play-off berth in 2015/16, they returned the following season only to lose a second play-off final. This time in front of over 8,000 fans at FC Halifax Town.
Yet another play-off appearance was booked in April 2018. However, Harrogate Town edged the semi-final 2-1 with an injury time winner. The defeat was Jansen’s last game in charge.
Assistant Jamie Vermiglio took over the day after Jansen departed and led The Magpies to National League North playoff success 10 months later, returning the Club to the fifth tier of English football with a 4-3 penalty victory over Spennymoor Town at Victory Park.
The Club have appeared in the FA Cup first round 12 times; 1899-1900, 1938-39, 1945-46, 1963-64, 1978-79, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1990-91, 2017/18, 2018/19 & 2019/20.
Knocking out Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 in the First Round second replay at Burnden Park, Bolton, in 1986-87 being a highlight. The second round saw Preston North End taken to a replay at Deepdale, before the Club succumbed 5-0 in front of 16,308.
The second round was also reached in 1990 with a 2-1 win over Bury at Victory Park, before The Magpies were knocked out 1-0 at Shrewsbury Town.
The 2017/18 campaign saw a return to the first round after a 27-year absence, only for Fleetwood Town to come from behind to win 2-1 at Victory Park in front of the BT Sport cameras.
The following season Doncaster Rovers were taken to a replay after a 2-2 draw at Victory Park, before a third round one appearance in as many years ended in a 1-0 defeat at Mansfield Town.
Chorley’s best season in the FA Trophy was 1995-96, when they made the semi-finals before losing over two legs to eventual winners Macclesfield Town. Previously The Magpies qualified for the quarter-finals in 1976-77, going out to Dagenham.
During that run The Magpies knocked out non-league giants Wimbledon in a second round replay at Fellows Park, Walsall. The first replay, at Victory Park, attracted Chorley’s highest Trophy attendance of 6,310.
National League North playoff winners: 2018/19
Northern Premier League winners: 1987/88 & 2013/14
NPL First Division North playoff winners: 2010/11
Lancashire Combination winners: 1919/20, 1922/23, 1927/28, 1928/29, 1932/33, 1933/34, 1939/40, 1945/46, 1959/60, 1960/61 & 1963/64
Lancashire League winners: 1896/97 & 1898/99
Lancashire Alliance winners: 1892/93
FA Cup first round: 1899/00, 1938/39, 1945/46, 1963/64, 1978/79, 1985/86, 1987/88, 2017/18, 2018/19 & 2019/20
FA Cup second round: 1986/87 & 1990/91
FA Trophy quarter-final: 1976/77
FA Trophy semi-final: 1995/96
NPL Challenge Shield winners: 1988
Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy winners: 1893/94, 1908/09, 1923/24, 1939/40, 1945/46, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1960/61, 1963/64, 1964/65, 1975/76, 1979/80, 1981/82, 1982/83, 2011/12, 2014/15, 2015/16, 2017/18
Lancashire FA Floodlit Cup winners: 1967/68
Lancashire Combination Cup winners: 1924/25, 1942/43, 1958/59, 1962/63
Lancashire FA Youth Cup winners: 1976/77, 1980/81, 1981/82, 1982/83
Highest league finish: 17th in the Football Conference (1988/89)
Highest attendance at Victory Park: 9,679 (1923/24 FA Cup vs Darwen)
Highest attendance overall: 16,308 (1986/87 FA Cup @ Preston North End)
Record goal scorer: Peter Watson (1958-1966) 372
Single season goals: Peter Watson (1960-61) 71