Founder member of Division Two 1892. Failed re-election 1896.
Founder member of Division Three (North) 1921
1908-1909 a l
1909-1910 a l
1931-1937 a d j
1971-1972 early i
1974-1975 a l
1975-1976 early a l
1975-1976 mid a h
1976-1977 a l
1977-1980 a h l
1981-1982 a h
1983-1984 a f
1985-1986 a l
1988-1989 a l
1989-1990 a l
1990-1991 a g l
1991-1992 a l
1992-1993 a l
1993-1994 a g l
1994-1995 a g
1995-1996 a l
1999-2000 b g
2000-2001 c g l
2004-2005 c g
2008-2009 c l
The club was formed as an adjunct to the local cricket club in 1877 and was named for the Alexandra public house, which provided the club's first base. (The pub was itself named for the Princess Alexandra, one of Queen Victoria's daughters.) In 1889 the club joined the Football Alliance, rivals of the Football League. In 1892 the Alliance was incorporated into the League as Division Two. In four seasons, Alex had to apply for re-election three times and in 1896 they lost their place.
Records show that the club wore white shirts during their brief league career but reverted to red in 1901. The club usually described their colours as "scarlet and white" well into the 1970s.
After losing their place in the Football League, Alex competed in the Combination, Lancashire, Birmingham & District and Central Leagues before they returned to the Football League in 1921 as founder members of the new Division Three (North).
The Alex's League career was undistinguished to say the least. Prior to the Second World War the club managed to finish in sixth place three times (1922, 1923 and 1936). The situation did not improve when organised football resumed after World War Two and Alex were lucky to survive three consecutive re-elections (1956-58).
During the 1950-51 season, a crest was added to the shirts but we have not been able to establish the details. We can state that it was not the Crewe coat of arms, as these were not granted until 1955. The town's crest did, however, appear on the team's shirts in the 1958-59 season.
1963 brought the club's first promotion but this was followed by the disappointment of immediate relegation. The same thing happened in 1968-69. In 1975 a crest was adopted and was used for the next 20 years. Featuring a rather pedestrian design of a football surrounded by the club's name on a circular disc, it was surmounted by a lion holding a locomotive wheel, a motif borrowed from British Railways and celebrating the town's association with the railways.
Between 1978 and 1983 Crewe had to apply for re-election again four times in five seasons. The writing appeared to be on the wall.
In 1983 Dario Gradi was appointed manager. He consolidated and gradually transformed the club into promotion contenders, In 1989, the Alex were promoted to Division Three. Two seasons later they dropped back into the basement but, after contesting the play offs in 1992 and 1993 they achieved automatic promotion in 1994.
To coincide with their first season back in the third tier, a new crest was introduced for the 1994-95. The lion motif was retained but now with a football rather than a locomotive wheel, perhaps reflecting the diminished state of Britain's railways. This crest normally appeared on a white lozenge but was also stitched directly onto the shirt without any background, in which case the text was normally embroidered in gold.
The next three seasons Crewe contested the play-offs again and in 1997 they were promoted to Nationwide Division One (now the second tier). There followed five seasons in the second flight before relegation in 2002. The club bounced back immediately but in 2006 they were again relegated.
While the club's achievements may be modest, the consistency of the board's management must be acknowledged. In 2007, Dario Gradi was appointed Technical Director, having become the longest serving manager in the Football League after 24 years in sole charge. He had a second spell as manager between 2009 and 2011.
- (a) Crewe Alexandra FC (Images of Sport) Harold Finch 2001
- (b) empics
- (c) Crewe Alexandra Official Website
- (d) The Football Encyclopaedia (Associated Sporting Press 1934) - information provided by Arthur Fergus
- (e) Association of Football Statisticians - provided by Pete Wyatt
- (f) Jason Barnes
- (g) David King
- (h) Alick Milne
- (i) Little Oaks Football Cards
- (j) Simon Monks
- (k) Keith Ellis
- (l) Christopher Worrall
Modern crests are the property of Crewe Alexandra FC.