Hitchin Town F.C. is a Hertfordshire based semi-professional club. Known affectionately as The Canaries, the club can trace its history back to the dawn of professional football in England. The club have the distinction of being one of the 15 teams which played in the first ever FA Cup in 1871, where they bowed out in the second round to the eventual finalist, the Royal Engineers. Hitchin Town F.C., named after the town of Hitchin, play their home games at Top Field, a stadium with a maximum capacity of 4,554 (including 400 seats).
Top Field, Hitchin Town F.C. Image courtesy of Alistair Lockyer
The club currently plays, for the eighth consecutive seasons, in Division One Central of the Evo-Stik League South (Southern League), which is in the seventh tier of the national football league in England. This is the highest level which Hitchin Town F.C. have played in. However, prior to the reorganisation of the football league system, the Canaries did play in the Isthmian League, which was considered the fifth and sixth tiers of the domestic league system in the early 1970s and early 1980s. Hitchin Town F.C. also hold a pretty decent record in the FA Cup, having played in the second round on four occasions (1973–74, 1976–77, 1994–95 and 1995–96).
The team is currently managed by one of its former players, Mark Burke, who has played the second highest number of games for the club with 732 appearances. Mr. Burke, who has been manager since 2014, also serves as the Company Secretary for the club.
Another former player and manager, Andy Melvin, is the majority owner of the Canaries. However, the club still relies on the support and sponsorships of local businesses and those from elsewhere in the UK (like the sponsor who sells golf shoes online) for day to day operational expenditure.