New Mills AFC, based in the High Peak of Derbyshire, have continually been at the forefront of organised football in the area. The Club's home ground, regarded as one of the most picturesque in non-league football, is situated opposite the impressive St George’s Church and has a splendid backdrop of Kinder Scout, which is the highest point in the Peak District National Park. The Club’s facilities are quite considerable. Covering well over three acres of land, the Club has a floodlit playing arena, an all-weather pitch suitable for a number of sports which is used by local schools and the local community in general as well as a thriving Clubhouse.
The game of football has been played in the town of New Mills since 1886 when the Club, originally known as New Mills St George's, first played in friendlies before joining organisations such as The North Cheshire League and ultimately The Manchester League. After playing at several grounds, the Club moved to their present home of Church Lane in 1922 and this coincided with a hugely successful period in the Club's history as they recorded two Manchester League titles and four Derbyshire Divisional Cup wins. These successes lead to average home crowds of around 2,000 and eventually saw no fewer than six players transferred directly to Football League Clubs.
More great days followed in the 1960's under the leadership of Joe Martin but following a move to The Cheshire League in 1974, lean times eventually lead to New Mills ceasing playing. Fortunately, local amateur side Birch Vale and Thornsett FC were looking for a new ground and within twelve months, they had adopted the name of New Mills and began to progress firstly via The Lancashire and Cheshire League and then The Manchester League.
New Mills re-joined The North West Counties League in 2004 ( they were founding members in 1982 ) and enjoyed another successful period under the guidance of manager Tony Hancock and assistant Paul Kirkham. After winning the Second Division Trophy in 2007, the following season saw the team break numerous Club records as they won the Division Two Championship by ten points. 2008/09 saw another trophy triumph, The League Challenge Cup, but following an unprecedented twenty one game winning run, promotion to The Unibond League was only denied by a last day defeat at AFC Fylde which resulted in the team finishing runners up on goal difference.
The 2009/10 season again saw The Millers as bridesmaids for the second successive season as this time Newcastle Town grabbed the solitary promotion place to The Evo Stik League. The Club also enjoyed success in The FA Vase and reached the last sixteen for the first time in its history before The Northern League’s Norton and Stockton Ancients spoilt the Wembley dream.
Thankfully 2010/11 proved to be a case of third time lucky as New Mills finally achieved their goal of promotion to The Northern Premier League when they won The North West Counties Premier Division. Winning the first seven games of the season, Ally Pickering’s side set the pace from start to finish before being presented with the Championship trophy after the game against local rivals Glossop North End on Easter Monday. The team also reached the North West Counties League Challenge Cup Final but failed to achieve the double after losing narrowly to Winsford United. It was a successful season off the field as well as the Club achieved the prestigious FA Charter Standard Adult Club status which was an excellent recognition for all the hard work that has been put in by everybody connected with the Club.
2011/12 represented a significant landmark as the Club celebrated its 125th Anniversary. Amongst many events which took place, probably the biggest saw Manchester United play a friendly game at Church Lane and the publication of “ The Millers Tale “, a book chronicling the history of the Club. That year also saw the first team’s debut season in The Evo Stik Northern Premier League and after being placed in Division One South, the eventual position of ninth represented a respectable finish.
2012/13 proved to be another roller-coaster ten months. It was all change as the first team were reallocated into The Northern Division and new manager Roy Soule lead his side into the play offs where they were eventually beaten in the semi-final by two extra time strikes from Trafford. The reserves secured the Club’s ninth Derbyshire FA Divisional Cup North success following a thrilling 5-4 victory over Dove Holes at Silverlands, the home of Buxton FC, in April. The Club’s Under 18 side, which further developed the working relationship with New Mills Juniors, also brought some silverware to Church Lane as they celebrated their inaugural season in The Stockport Metro Junior Football League by winning The Division Two title.
2013/14 was an all-together more trickier season with the Club having to overcome many hurdles, none more so than contending with the wettest High Peak winter in living memory which produced the inevitable March / April fixture backlog. The first team, who endured a high turnover of playing staff, eventually ended in a mid-table position in Division One North whilst the reserves finished as runners up to Glossop North End in The North West Counties Football League. The bright spark was once again provided by the Club’s youth team who lost only one game as they won The Stockport Metro Junior Football League Division One Championship by a fourteen point margin.
The highlight of 2014/15 was undoubtedly provided again by the Under 18’s who completed the perfect League season – eighteen wins from eighteen games. A good number of these young players were duly incorporated into the Club’s new Development Squad who finished in a very creditable mid-table position in The Western Division of The Lancashire League. Unfortunately the first team endured a campaign of almost constant struggle and were only reprieved from relegation back to The North West Counties Football League by The Football Association in May. Manager Roy Soule, who worked tirelessly during his tenure at Church Lane, tendered his resignation during the summer and was subsequently replaced by former Stalybridge Celtic assistant Andy Fearn.
In 2015/16 season Andy Fearn left the club less than 10 games into the season. Ex-Glossop manager Garry Brown took charge but couldn't prevent the club being relegated to the NWCFL where the club will play in the 2016/17 season.