Renamed Fleetwood Freeport
2000-2002 f g
2004-2006 e g
2006-2007 a c g
2007-2009 c d g
2009-2011 b g
2011-2013 b g
The original Fleetwood FC was formed in 1908 and played in amber and black stripes before switching to red shirts with white sleeves shortly after the end of the Great War as part of an arrangement with a local trawler company whose corporate colours were red and white. At first the team competed at junior level but later they entered the Lancashire Combination, winning the title in 1924 as well as a hat trick of Lancashire Combination Cups (1932, 1933 and 1934). They joined the Northern Premier League on its formation in 1968 but, after years of financial difficulty, the club was forced into liquidation in 1976 when HMRC took out a winding-up order over unpaid taxes. Their collapse coincided with that of the local fishing industry due to the Icelandic Cod Wars and EEC restrictions.
Fleetwood Town FC was formed in 1977 and a year later they joined the Cheshire County League (then the 6th tier). In 1982 they joined the Second Division of the new North West Counties League (NWCL) and won promotion at the first attempt. Fleetwood joined the First Division of the Northern Premier League in 1987 and were promoted to the Premier Division as champions at the end of the season. Financial problems continued to beset the club and in 1996 it too folded.
The modern club came into being in 1997 as Fleetwood Wanderers but under a sponsorship deal with Freeport PLC, changed this to Fleetwood Freeport FC after just two matches. The club crest with an appropriately maritime theme was designed by supporter, Mike Roe, was modified to reflect this. Fleetwood joined the North West Counties Second Division (10th tier) and won promotion to the First Division and the NWCL Cup into the bargain. When the sponsorship arrangement came to an end in 2002, the club adopted the name of their predecessor. A local businessman, Andy Piley, took over as chairman and thanks to his substantial investment in the team and their ground, Fleetwood Town began to climb up the pyramid.
The team won the NWCL Division One championship in 2005 and were promoted to the Unibond Northern Premier League (NPL) First Division. They were promoted to the NPL Premier Division after just one season and in 2008 they reached Blue Square North, the sixth tier of English football.
The club badge was originally sewn directly onto the players' shirts but from 2010 it was presented on a disk with lettering round the outside.
After investing £1m in improvements to their Highbury Stadium (what a suitable ground for a team that plays in Arsenal's colour) the "Cod Army" were promoted to the Blue Square Premier Division via the play-offs in 2010.
The rather fine Parkside Stand, with its attractive curved roof, was completed in April 2011 at a cost of £4.5m, bringing the capacity of Highbury up to 5,500.
During the 2011-12 season, Fleetwood reached the third round of the FA Cup before losing at home to their local rivals Blackpool (then in the Championship). After a run of 29 games without defeat, the team won the Blue Square Premier championship with two games to spare and with it, promotion to the Football League.
After spending much of 2013-14 in the top three, the teams form slipped and they finished fourth, missing out on automatic promotion but they navigated the play-offs and were promoted to League One for the first time. Playing at a higher level proved challenging and in July 2015 the chairman announced that the club would move to be self-sustaining, selling young talent on and trimming the playing staff rather than buying players in in order to climb further up the pyramid. A new training complex was opened in April 2016.
The club crest was modified in 2018-19.
In 2019-20 the team reached the promotion play-offs after finishing in sixth place (based on points-per-game) but were beaten by Wycombe Wanderers at the semi-final stage. They struggled in 2021-22, however, and only stayed up because their goal difference was better than that of Gillingham who went down.