The Port and Town of Goole have had a semi-professional football team since the 1900's. Goole Town competed in various leagues throughout their history including the Midlands League in the 1950's when they were probably at their most successful.
Time went by with varying degrees of success and failure and finally at the end of the 1995/96 season, because of ever-increasing debts and falling attendance's Goole Town committee had no option but to close down the club. For the last few die hard supporters it was a very sad time in Goole's history.
In the autumn of 1996 a Leeds Businessman, Mike Norman who was at work in the Goole area happened to stumble across the Victoria Pleasure Ground and hearing that the Town had no football team visited the local council regarding the possibility of starting a brand new club. It had been his dream to run a semi-professional club and set to work immediately recruiting local people to help him with his endeavor. In the summer of 1997 Goole AFC advertised for a club manager, a few applications were received, but one stood out from all the others, that of John Reed. The manager who had taken Bridlington Town to Wembley and who had enjoyed five league Championships with as many clubs was appointed.
The first game of the new season was a sign of things to come when local man Paul Gibbon hit Blackwell Miners Welfare with 5 goals. The final score saw Goole hit their highest score to date winning by eight goals to nil. The first year was more successful than anyone dare imagine. That season ended with Goole crowned as Champions of the Central Midlands Premier Division with statistics of Won 27, Drawn 4, and the only loss coming against Askern Miners Welfare. Goole also managed to top the 100 goals in a season finishing with 102 league goals in all.
Goole's second season also provided more success. Promotion to the Northern Counties East League, following a third place spot was topped by two cup victories. The Wakefield Floodlit Cup and the Cox League Cup both travelled to East Yorkshire. On top of that success, a superb run in the Carlsberg F.A Vase saw Goole get to round four, a crowd of 526 (the biggest at that time) and have Premier League referee Neil Barry officiating the game.
In 2000 and the third season for Goole was their most traumatic. The whole season seemed almost meaningless when in January it was announced to a sombre crowd that founder and Chairman Mike Norman had passed away. Mike who had had the ambition and motivation to start a club so soon after the last folded immediately had received the backing of the council and more importantly the general public. John Reed went public and stated that he would win the Championship for Mike and this he did in style. Eleven points clear and another trophy in the cabinet in the shape of the Wilkinson Sword Trophy meant that Goole had ended the season in style for Mike and his family.
At the end of the season Richard Norman, who had taken over the club since his father's death and had provided the stability it had needed following the loss of its founder, decided to relinquish his role as Chairman and hand the club over to the local people of Goole. A change in personnel saw Geoff Bruines take over as Chairman, and more local people getting involved in the running of the club. Richard was offered the role of president by the new Chairman and readily agreed to take over this figurehead position.
The new season started with a defeat against Alfreton Town and then a run, which took us to the 2nd qualifying round of the F.A. Cup and to the second round of the F.A. Vase. However November came and a run of four defeats in a row and a new regime at Harrogate Town meant that manager John Reed was in demand and the lure of a club with fantastic finances and Conference ambitions was just too good to turn down. The manager who had adhered himself to the supporters over three years was gone.
November 2000 saw Peter Daniel installed as club manager. After an impressive playing career, which saw him at Football League Clubs including Hull City, Sunderland, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Lincoln, Peter had moved into management around the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire area and was seen as an ambitious manager who could continue the work started by John Reed and John Kirk.
The season finished with Goole in 4th position of the North Counties Premier Division and only a handful of points away from a promotion opportunity. Overall it was considered a very successful season after the turmoil midway through. The ground began major redevelopment to allow Unibond Football to be played at the Victoria Pleasure Grounds once again.
The 2001/02 season was another year of change as 10 months after Peter Daniel had taken the reigns a string of poor results which was primarily caused by the lack of available players saw the manager leave and another ex Hull City legend take charge. Steve Richards task was simple, to put the club into the Unibond League and to build a squad that could keep them there. Off the field other changers were afoot with Eric Lawton taking the Chairman position from Geoff Bruines, whilst Geoff still remained heavily involved in the running of the club.
Finally in 2004/2005 Goole achieved the dream of Unibond Football under the direction of Des O'Hearne. Des had taken over from Eric Lawton who had kept the club afloat during difficult times and Des had promised to the fans that Unibond Football would be his number one priority, this he duly delivered. With the club now in Unibond Football the next aim was to put the club in a sound financial position.
The season finished with a new manager Nigel Danby who had been at the club as player agreed to take the role of player/manager and this had seemed to work well very quickly. The next major occasion for the club came in season 2006/07 when a terrific cup run in the West Riding Cup meant that Goole AFC lifted the trophy for the first time, as Goole Town had done a few times before, but many years ago.
The 2007/08 season saw Goole make a real push for promotion with the club sitting in third place for many weeks of the season, however it was a very close race, in fact with only a couple of weeks of the season left clubs as far down as 10th place could still have made the play-offs. With only a month left, the club suffered some bad injuries and points began to slip and with only two games left Goole fell out of the play-off positions and eventually fell to 9th place.
After the hope of the previous season, supporters could not have been blamed if their dreams for a Unibond Premier League push could be finally realised in 2009 but all that was dashed before the season started. With the credit crunch biting the financial world, money in football was also causing concern and rather than taking the easy option of burying heads and hoping this would be ok, the Chairman took the painful decision to apply for administration and make sure that the club would put their financial house in order and take the long term view for the club.
This meant that the 2008-09 season was almost over before it had begun with only the question being, could Goole escape relegation but with the league trying to increase the number of teams, a relegation place being exercised was a doubt. As it turned out Goole didn't finish bottom with Brigg Town taking that honour and as expected no relegation was enforced.
At the start of the 2009-10 season and with other clubs finding the present time difficult the fans can be proud of the forethought the Chairman had and they can look forward to the 2009-10 season with hope once again. Following a disastrous start to the 2009-10 campaign, the management team of Nigel Danby and Mick Norbury resigned, Chairman Des O'Hearne installed Karl Rose as caretaker manager and following some positive results and improved displays, Karl was given the job on a permanent basis.
In May 2012, Karl Rose resigned to take over at Frickley Athletic and to the delight of all Gooe AFC supporters, it was announced that former manager John Reed had agreed to return to the club and would be assisted by former Goole AFC player Clive Freeman. Following a poor start to the 2012-13 season and with just one win from eight league games, Des O'Hearne took the decision to part company with John Reed and Clive Freeman. Less than a week later it was announced that Wayne Benn had been appointed manager of Goole AFC.
In November 2012, Des O'Hearne stood down as Chairman due to ill health, the club was at this time put up for sale, with Craig Whincup taking temporary charge until a new owner could be found. Almost 12 months later, on October 14th 2013, the club announced that a takeover had been agreed and signed that would see London property investor Mr Baron Bloom take over as the clubs new owner and Chairman with immediate effect.
It was simultaneously announced that David Holdsworth and Curtis Woodhouse had been appointed as the new management team. After a poor run of results during December and January, Curtis Woodhouse replaced David Holdswoth as manager, with Chris Adam being appointed assistant manager.
In December 2014 Baron Bloom resigned as chairman and sold his majority shareholding to club officials for the nominal sum of £1. Just a few weeks later, Steve Shorthouse was appointed as chairman and a plan was put in place with co-director Craig Whincup to put the clubs financial affairs in order and to pay off the clubs historical debt.
In April 2016, it was announced that Steve Shorthouse had stood down as chairman of the club, leaving it debt free. The club was relegated to the Northern Counties East League Premier Division at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.