The original Crusaders
The original Redcar Crusaders were formed as a youth team during the 1880s, under the shadow of Teesside titans Redcar and Coatham. They rose to prominence after winning the Cleveland Junior Cup in 1885, one of the only trophies the town saw during this otherwise successful period. The following season they found themselves in the middle of a dispute over an attempted merger between the Crusaders and their more prominent counterparts. This saw some of the best players in the region wear the Crusaders colours.
The merger never materialised, though, and Redcar and Coatham dissolved a few years later. This left the next few decades for Crusaders to be the biggest team in the town. They entered the FA Amateur Cup on several occasions, becoming only the second team to represent Redcar in a natonal competition. They never managed to match the prestige of their nearly-colleagues, though, and they folded in 1909.
Their biggest successes, though, came from the players they helped to develop. Stanley Borrie, son of Boro legend Albert Borrie, played for Crusaders as a teenager before signing for South Bank and winning the FA Amateur Cup with them. George Elliott played for Crusaders as a young man, also signing for South Bank before a long and illustrious professional career with Middlesbrough where he scored 203 goals in 344 League appearances, as well as representing England three times. His Middlesbrough and England compatriot Tim Williamson also cut his teeth with Crusaders, famously playing for them in the morning and Boro in the afternoon on one occasion. He went on to become Middlesbrough’s all-time appearance maker, representing England seven times.
The reformed Crusaders
The Crusaders name was revived in 1933 after a split between Redcar Celtic and the Unemployed Association which had originally formed them. They competed in the Teesborough League alongside town rivals Redcar Westfield, Albion, Corporation and the newly-split Redcar Celtic. They were unsuccessful during this period and it would appear that the Crusaders name did not last very much longer.
The last Crusaders
They spent the next few decades in the local leagues with limited success, winning the Middlesbrough & District League in 1955, 70 years after their first trophy.