History

Crumlin United was founded by John Henry, Jimmy Wilson and Billy Friars in 1967 when they entered their first team in the Lisburn League Second Division under the name of Ulster Woolen Mills. The aforementioned company provided the team with a pitch for the season which was most welcome. Unfortunately, the closure of UWM the following year saw the team disband, only to resurrect itself in June 1968 in the Crumlin British Legion Hall, this time as Crumlin United.

With Jim Wilson as Chairman, and the team now donning a new kit purchased with a loan of £25 from the generous Gerry Mallon, they re-entered the Lisburn League. One of the stars of the 1968/69 season was young Jimmy Kelly who made his debut aged just 13, and who went on to play for Cliftonville and Glentoran and later the English club Wolverhampton Wanderers. Thanks to the efforts of young Jimmy and his teammates, the newly formed Crumlin United won promotion in their first season.

The success of the '68/69 season was followed by a period of consolidation and not much in the way of trophies, but as the team matured success wasn't far away and in 1973/74 the young men had came of age and won the Division II title after an end-of-season play-off against Ford's at Wallace Park under manager Billy McCleary (ex-Cliftonville). Of the many highlights of that season, perhaps the most notable was the goal-scoring prowess of Gerry Kelly who notched up an incredible 71 goals in all competitions.

Crumlin Utd played their home games at Crumlin War Memorial Park and, after a period of 10 years, they moved to the Ballymena Junior League, where between the 1980/81 and 1984/85 seasons they never finished any lower than 6th and were beaten finalists in no less than 6 cup competitions.

In 1980, Crumlin Utd. acquired their own Social Club and the revenue this brought in enabled them to purchase a six and a half acre site at Mill Road for the princely sum of £9,000. They became known under their current title "Crumlin United Football & Social Club" around this time.

At the beginning of the 1985/86 campaign, Crumlin Utd moved leagues again, winning the 3rd Division of the Dunmurry and District League, the Cyril Lord Shield, and the real icing on the cake - the prestigious County Antrim Junior Shield, with a 1-0 victory over Ballymena kingpins Wakehurst at Allen Park, Antrim. The team was captained by Paddy Tennyson, father of another (future) skipper Eamon.

Crumlin never made it into Division 2 of the Dunmurry League for, by the time the next season began, they had moved again into Division 2C of the Northern Amateur League. United gained promotion out of 2C at their second attempt but 2B (or not 2B) wasn't the question for too long, because their impressive new pitch was completed in 1989.

Crumlin Utd. now had intermediate status, and the start of the 1989/90 season saw them elevated into Division 1C. That Division 1C title was captured in 1991 and three years later, Crumlin were promoted again – to the Premier Division after a play-off victory over Islandmagee at Enkalon. Yet Crumlin didn't stop there and, under manager Gerry Kerr, just kept on winning and lifted the coveted Premier League title in their first season of asking (1994/95) by captain Brian Tennyson. Not to be outdone, there has also been success for the Seconds, as winners of the Templeton Cup (1995), (1998), the Walter Moore Cup (1992) and the Division 3A title in 1999/00. At youth level, Crumlin have had plenty of success with league and cup titles in the Down & Connor League, South Belfast Youth League, Mid-Antrim League and in various summer tournaments over the years. The Ladies team compete at the highest levels too in the Northern Ireland Women's Football League.

Back in the 1990s the rise and rise of Crumlin Utd has developed in parallel with the expansion of Crumlin - the town, which was no longer the small country village it used to be. With new housing mushrooming and the price of property (then) reasonably cheap, Crumlin was earmarked by city folk as an ideal place to escape from all the hustle and bustle of Belfast, and, just 14 miles away, it was still close enough should any withdrawal symptoms set in (which it did in many cases). The strategic location of the town has been acknowledged in studies of housing need, as a "spill over" from Belfast.

After the demise of Cromac Albion, and especially after the recruitment of manager Gerry McCaffery in 1988, enticed by the facilities and the brand new pitch, what was once a locally based team became influences by quite a few Belfast-based players. Many of those local players who had captured that Junior Shield just two years earlier had moved on. However, with an emphasis on a strong Youth Polciy, Crumlin lads such as Gary Hunter, Kevin Scannell, Alan Kelly, Declan McGarry and Chris Scannell began to filter through. The Border Cup final win in the 1999/00 season against Drumaness there was a good blend of local talent including captain Eamon Tennyson, Damien Day, Marty 'Hoss' Finnegan and 'men from the Big Smoke'.

Crumlin United therefore isn't just about the first team or the second team, for the club is very aware of its general role in the community. The Club is one of the few outlets in fostering youth football in the area. Running teams from U12 to U18 level and ensuring that these teams have competitive matches in organised leagues. The Club is already reaping the benefits with quite so many of today's Senior players having worked their way up through the ranks. The club also fosters many other community activities as can be seen in other areas on this website.

For sure, the Club has not been immersed in glory in more recent years, but it is the firm intention of everyone involved in the club to bring back the glory days of yesteryear. The Committee will work hard to provide the facilities and resources necessary to make this happen and are actively raising funds towards the construction of the 4th Generation artificial pitch for the whole community to use.

Crumlin have close contacts with all the schools in the area, Crumlin Integrated College, St Josephs P.S., Crumlin P.S., and Gaelscoil Gleann Darach. Football is naturally the main activity at the Mill Road, but there are also Crumlin Utd Ladies & Gents Darts teams and a Crumlin Utd. Pool team.

The Club recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.