Programme Review: 2021/22 Chadderton FC

Fixture: North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) – First Division North

Date: Saturday 09 October 2021

Teams: Chadderton v St Helens Town

Venue: The Falcon Fire Stadium

Result: Chadderton (3) – (2) St Helens Town

Programme cost: Free (On-line)

Pages: 15

As FBR has reflected in other reviews, COVID’s impact on football has seen some clubs opt for digital programmes. However, there will be other reasons for clubs going down this route. In some cases it is a lack of sales, others the financial cost (i.e. unprofitable) or it can also be down to the lack of volunteers willing to take on the task of programme editor and all that it entails.

Chadderton FC, is just over a mile west of Oldham, and are one such club who have gone down the on-line path. Their programme from the league fixture against St Helens Town was free to download from the club website. One of the advantages of digital versions, is that the number of pages doesn’t have to stick to the multiples of 4 that A5 printed versions need to be, so if content is a struggle the resulting PDF can be any number. And as it turned out Chadderton produced a 15 page edition on this occasion.

The cover is an unusual but striking image featuring one of the local cotton mills in a vintage black and white look, with the club badge and match details present but not interrupting the picture of the Grade II Listed building Chadderton mill. Of the remaining 14 pages, five are given over to adverts, with three of those mandated by the NWCFL, including one offering COVID guidelines, a shared page promoting the league website and Official Goalkeeping Partner of the NWCFL, Reusch, and finally, the league’s Charity Partner, State of Mind. The other two pages of adverts are given over to Club Sponsors.

Of the content, page 3 details all the Club Information in terms of directory of staff, social media addresses and honours. Page 4 is given over to a ‘Code of Conduct for Spectators’ as part of The FA’s Respect campaign, which covers not just first-team games, but those also of Chadderton FC Youth team. Three pages (5, 6 & 7) are then provided for the games visitors St Helens Town, printed in blue and white (a nice touch) to reflect that the Town will play in those colours today. The first of the three pages provides some basic information such as club badge, date founded, ground details, recent form and honours. This is followed by two pages on the club’s history, which is useful content for anyone not familiar with St Helens Town. Some interesting facts to emerge, include that Manchester City legendary goalkeeper Bert Trautmann, played for the club between 1948 and 1949 and in 1986-87 Town lifted the FA Vase at the old Wembley beating Warrington Town 3-2. Page 8 is a message from Committee Member Heath Ravey under the banner of ‘The Boardroom’ who welcomes the visitors and makes reference to the town’s rugby league side who were due in action that evening in the Super League Grand Final. Ravey also reflects on the teams midweek defeat in The Frank Hannah Manchester FA Premier Cup to Northern Premier League outfit Ashton United and expresses his pride at the efforts of a young Chadderton side against opposition three leagues above. Page 10 shows the league table with Chadderton just outside the promotion play-off spots, with visitors St Helens Town just off of the bottom and in one of the two relegation slots. After a page given over to iGrafix who create the programme along with Head of Media of Communications, Ryan Booth, there is a page for player sponsorship, with the back page for the team line-ups. This features both club badges, but only lists the home squad, with an image of a pitch. This highlights one of the problems with a digital version, in that with a physical copy spectators could write in the name of those playing. It may be that on the day a teamsheet is available to fans, which negates this problem. The other FBR quibble with on-line programmes is that they aren’t easy to read on a mobile phone, with them having to be viewed on a lap-top or large table to be readable.

FBR are unashamedly old school in their preference of the printed programme but does understand why clubs opt for the digital version. Overall, it has a vibrant design and decent layout, but the predominant use of capitals throughout the majority of articles does jar a little. Ultimately though Chadderton are providing a free download to anyone that wants one, which is to be applauded and provides the essentials in terms of information.


Book Review: Soap stars and burst bubbles: A season of Yorkshire football by Steven Penny

This book from Steven Penny was born out of his record of matches he attended during the 2002/03 season, documented on his website and which focuses on the game below the top four professional leagues in England. The book produced at the time proved popular but then went out of print, so prompted by repeated requests since, it was republished in February 2021.

Structure wise the book follows a timeline from August 2002 through to May 2003, and within each month, each game attended is afforded its own chapter. Given this format, it would be all too easy to fall into the trap of this being another book which just provides match reports, team line-ups, scorers etc. Penny’s great advantage that as a journalist he provides an interest story within each game, so that readers get interviews with players, managers, club officials and fans, which gives a wider perspective on the clubs featured, the realities of football at this level and some interesting tales indeed.

One such gives rise to part of the title of the book, with Helen Worth (soap star, Gail from Coronation Street), the Honorary President of the Ossett Albion club back in 2002/03 featured in the opening chapter. Another features a Goole supporter who was banned from attending matches at their Victoria Pleasure Grounds venue, but still bought a season-ticket!

The book very much focuses on life in non-league with trips to games within the Northern Counties East League dominating, however, this is supplemented by games featuring Yorkshire clubs, in the Northern Premier League, Humber Premier League, Northern League, and Central Midland League, as well as County Cups and the FA Vase and FA Cup. There are a handful of trips to watch games in the top four divisions, but in the main are not experiences that Penny enjoys, and his love for the non-league game which affords him his living as a journalist is evident.

Penny had intended that there would be a follow-up, in which he revisited and updated events at the various clubs he had taken in back in that 2002/03 campaign, however the global pandemic has had other ideas. Instead, his intentions are that a second volume will be produced once football at all steps of the National League System returns, with visits to completely different clubs to those featured in Soap stars and burst bubbles, and further down the line a third book, re-visiting and updating clubs’ stories from the first two volumes.

Reviewing this republished version, eighteen years after its first publication, it is evident that any follow-up will have many tales to tell and be able to reflect on much that has changed. For instance, there are clubs featured from 2002/03 that are no longer with us, even a new club in the form of Ossett United, from the merging of Albion and Town, and others that have either plummeted through the divisions or have equally soared to new heights. Fingers crossed that 2021/22 will see an uninterrupted return of football allowing Penny to tell the stories of those changes and bring fans once again more entertaining tales of his travels.

(Victor Publishing. February 2021. Paperback 267 pages)


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Book Review: The Bottom Corner – A season with the dreamers of Non-League Football by Nige Tassell

“Everyone loves an FA Cup upset: a smug Premier League team being knocked out by plucky underdogs.”

The quote above is taken from the back of the book and highlights an interesting point, in that for some football fans and indeed the wider public, Non-League teams only come to their attention when the FA Cup takes place each season. And it that respect it can lead to a clichéd view of clubs where Non-League means games played in front of one man and his dog on pitches barely better than those found in your local park.

In The Bottom Corner Nige Tassell spends the 2015/16 season revealing stories from the Non-League pyramid to show the realities of life below the Premier League and the Football League. Format wise it covers the season from August to May, with each chapter looking at a different theme, various clubs, players, managers, volunteers and fans alike.

However, there are two teams which are constant threads which run through the book which tell the story of their respective seasons. The first of these is Tranmere Rovers who in the 2015/16 campaign found themselves in the National Conference (the top league of the Non-League pyramid), after 94 years in the Football League. The other is Bishop Sutton, a side from the Western League based near Bristol, from what Tassell labels as the ‘bottom corner’ of the pyramid.

Both can be classified as Non-League, but at very different ends of the spectrum. Rovers with a set-up and ground that wouldn’t disgrace League One, anxious to regain its status amongst the elite 92, whilst Sutton struggle to get a squad together and avoid the heavy defeats that have defined its recent history since being denied promotion due to being unable to meet ground standards. It perfectly illustrates that the Non-League structure mirrors that of the professional ranks and that of the ‘haves and the have nots’.

Besides the story of the ups and downs of Tranmere and Bishop Sutton, Tassell brings the reader interesting tales from other teams, such as Salford City, where some of the ‘Class of 92’ from Manchester United bring the club into the national conscious through a BBC documentary and an epic FA Cup run. Also, there is Hereford FC, born out of the ashes of Hereford United, and their incredible campaign which ends with a Wembley appearance in the FA Vase Final, as well as clubs doing things differently – such as eco-friendly Forest Green Rovers and the supporter owned FC United of Manchester.

It is a book rich with characters, such as those who referee, others who act as scouts or the many administrators of the game; all for the most part volunteers, playing their part in keeping football going beneath the professional ranks.

The Bottom Corner perfectly demonstrates that there is so much more to Non-League Football than its ‘fifteen minutes’ of fame that occurs during the FA Cup each season. It is a game that is a million miles from the bloated money sodden and hyped world of the Premier League, but it doesn’t mean that it is without quality or passion, or that the wins and losses are any less painful or that the fans are any less passionate and the managers and club staff any less committed. The dreams and emotions in the Non-League pyramid are as real as you can get.


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2012/13: (Carlsberg) FA Vase – Second Qualifying Round: Pontefract Collieries v Cheadle Town

September seems to be saving its most sunny days for FA Vase weekends, as the third Saturday of the month is bright and warm for the Second Qualifying Round games. I’m spoilt for choice today and amongst the ties I consider attending include Silsden AFC v Northallerton Town, Nostell MW v AFC Blackpool, Pontefract Collieries v Cheadle Town, Selby Town v Formby and Yorkshire Amateurs v South Shields. I decide to make my game choice once I get into Leeds City Railway station.

Down the years travelling to a game has been as much part of the day as the actual ninety minutes itself. Travelling by car up and down the motorways was always an interesting event as you looked out for other fans heading off to watch their respective teams. These days my journeys are confined to trains, but is no less of an opportunity for fan “spotting”. As I wait for the train into Leeds from Cross Gates, on the opposite platform a Hull City fan, resplendent in amber and black stripped shirt, is about to board the Selby service and his journey on to see The Tigers take on The Lions of Millwall. As my train pulls in, I spot a Barnsley fan studying the sports pages of a tabloid, his red hat struggling to contain his mass of black curly hair. Once on board I check my iphone and receive a message on Facebook from an old school friend and fellow Fulham fan. He asks how I think the game will go today as he will watching it live on television in Canada later. I pessimistically  predict a 2-0 win for WBA.

The train now draws into Leeds and it is decision time. Without any apparent reason, I opt for a trip to Pontefract and so head for the Nottingham train as I need to get to Wakefield Kirkgate to make the connecting train to Pontefract Tanshelf station. Having bought a ticket, I make my way to the platform where a dozen or so Blackpool fans are gathered as the Nottingham service stops at Barnsley, where The Tangerines take on The Reds. It’s a fifteen minute journey to Wakefield, so time for some music and  80’s nostalgia from one of my favourite albums, The Icicle Works. I’m still listening as I change trains to Pontefract and the final leg of the journey.

Welcome to Pontefract Collieries

Once off the train it is a very short walk to the ground of about a quarter of a mile, with the ground at the end of Beechnut Lane. Pontefract Collieries are a relatively young club having been founded in 1958 (as their club badge proudly states), although football has been played in the town as far back at the 1890’s. The Colls were one of the founder member clubs of the Northern Counties East League (NCEL) which was founded in 1982/83 and currently play in Division One. Their opponents today, Cheadle Town are also a young club having been founded in 1961. Town play in the North West Counties League (NWCL) in Division One, having joined in 1983/84. These two teams are at a comparable level in the Football Pyramid structure, so on paper at least there is no gulf in levels.

September started brightly for Pontefract as after successive home wins against Clipstone Welfare and Worsborough Bridge Athletic, they moved into second place in the table. However, their next two fixtures (both at home) were lost 2-1 to Hallam FC and Bottesford United and meant The Colls were coming into this game having had their confidence severely knocked. Cheadle Town have no such worries and come into this game on the back of a three game winning streak in September. Town began the month by beating West Didsbury & Chorlton 3-1 in the FA Vase First Qualifying Round and followed this up with League victories over Northwich Villa (2-1) and Leek CSOB (5-3). Would Pontefract return to winning ways or would Cheadle continue their unbeaten run?

Main stand

In the early stages of the game, The Colls looked low on confidence as Cheadle made the brighter start of the teams. The first chance of the game fell to the visitors as Pontefract stood off Town number seven Arron Carroll to allow a strike on goal that went wide. Cheadle were dominating the space in midfield with Josh Taylor looking to get the ball to the dangerous Alex Monde-Leke. Pontefract did create an early chance of their own, when James Hicks headed over. However, it was the visitors who were more threatening and on twenty minutes from a free-kick, an unmarked Monde-Leke headed wastefully over. Therefore it was no surprise that Cheadle took the lead on the half-hour mark. Josh Taylor had time and space on the ball on the edge of the Pontefract box and was able to slot in with Simon Kemp in goal rooted to the spot. Worse was to follow on forty one minutes when in an almost similar situation to the opening goal, Monde-Leke was the player this time unchallenged as he shot past the static Kemp into the corner of the net to double the Cheadle lead. There was much frustration in the playing ranks of the home team as the second goal brought a very heated and public exchange between Craig Robinson and Rob Oldham. The home support too were demonstrating their frustration with the match officials who they believed were favouring the visitors with any 50/50 decisions.

Pontefract captain, Dean Twibey

At the half-time break the players left the pitch to almost silence from the home support. It would have been interesting to have been a fly on the wall in the Pontefract dressing room during the team talk given by Colls manager Brendan Ormsby. He acted by substituting Robinson and Oldham who had clashed late on in the first-half, with Liam Ormsby and Will Ramsay. However, these changes did little to spark a revival from Pontefract as the visitors held on comfortably to their lead in the opening fifteen minutes of the second-half. Indeed Cheadle were still creating chances and although Alex Monde-Leke was not as threatening as he had been in the opening half, on sixty seven minutes, he was allowed to drift across the home defence and slipped in a shot to put the visitors 3-0 ahead. To their credit Pontefract didn’t give in and did create chances as the game drifted into the last quarter. They seemed mightily unlucky to have a header from Will Ramsay ruled out for offside, and skipper Dean Twibey had an excellent chance but fired wide with a volley. On another day, when things are going your way, these opportunities go for you. However, Pontefract did grab a consolation goal in time added-on, when the tireless James Hicks finished well past the advancing Cheadle keeper to make the score 3-1. Even the most die-hard Pontefract fan would have admitted that the better team had won, but it will be a worry that they have lost three home games on the bounce. Brendan Ormsby has to galvanise his squad now for three consecutive away trips (Louth Town, Appleby Frodingham and Albion Sports) and get The Colls back on track. For Cheadle their unbeaten run continues and advance to the FA Vase First Round Proper with a home tie against Wigan Robin Park.

On the return journey it dawned on me that the first two games I had seen in this FA Vase this season had followed an identical pattern. In both games the visitors had established a 2-0 half-time lead, gone on to lead 3-0 in the second-half before the home team got a late consolation goal to leave the final result 3-1. Incredibly the second and third goals in both games were also scored in identical minutes (41 and 67). I could be an unwelcome visitor to a ground in the First Round. You have been warned…!

2012/13: (Carlsberg) FA Vase – First Qualifying Round: Hemsworth MW v Nostell MW

The start of a new month and the opening weekend of the 2012/13 FA Vase competition. For those not familiar with this tournament, my thanks to Wikipedia who provide the following details. “…The Football Association Challenge Vase, commonly known as the FA Vase, is a knockout cup competition in English football, organised by and named after The Football Association (the FA). It was staged for the first time in the 1974–75 season, effectively replacing the FA Amateur Cup, which was discontinued after the abolition of official amateur status by the FA. While the leading teams from the Amateur Cup switched to the existing FA Trophy, the lower-level teams entered the new FA Vase. As of 2008, the Vase is open to all clubs in levels five to seven of the National League System, equivalent to levels nine to eleven of the overall English football league system, although clubs from other leagues may apply to enter if their stadiums meet certain requirements…” In addition, the Final is played at Wembley Stadium and the current holders (2011/12)  are Dunston UTS who defeated West Auckland Town 2-0. 

Welcome to Hemsworth MW

Looking back I think I’ve only attended one FA Vase game previously down in the Southwest at Minehead AFC. Today though it was a short train journey for the tie between West Yorkshire neighbours, Hemsworth Miners Welfare (MW) and Nostell MW. Both teams play in the (Baris) Northern Counties East League, with Hemsworth in Division One and Nostell in the Premier Division. Nostell had suffered a poor start to the season, exiting the FA Cup and picking up only two points from six League games, leaving them next to bottom. Hemsworth had only played three League games (winning two), due to their involvement in the League Cup and FA Cup and perhaps fancied their chances of causing an upset.

Nostell striker Mitchell Pearson

However, it was the visitors from Nostell who settled more quickly and in the opening exchanges the front three of Marchant, Eyles and Pearson caused the Hemsworth defence plenty of problems. As Hemsworth struggled in the opening twenty minutes the soft September sun was slashed through with some good old fashioned Anglo-Saxon (tinged with more than a hint of Yorkshire), as frustration grew within the home back-four. Having weathered the early storm, Hemsworth worked their way back in, managing to at last to get some possession and provide a threat going forward through Neil Towler. With just five minutes to the break it looked like the teams would go in at 0-0, but this all changed within a couple of minutes, as the dangerous Mitchell Pearson put Nostell ahead on forty minutes. Before Hemsworth had time to recover, they conceded a second within a minute. From a long ball forward, full-back Matthew Stor misjudged the flight which allowed Nostell striker Jimmy Eyles through on goal to slot past Hemsworth keeper Dale Walstow. As the whistle blew for the end of the first-half a shell-shocked Hemsworth found themselves 2-0 down and facing an early exit from the competition.

Hemsworth clubhouse and changing rooms

No doubt with the words of manager Wayne Benn still ringing in their ears, Hemsworth come out with determination in the second-half. The home team had the better of the possession in the opening twenty minutes, without really creating any significant chances. Instead it was Nostell who got a third goal on sixty seven minutes from an excellent run and finish from Jimmy Eyles. That was game-over for Hemsworth, who did at least did manage a consolation goal on eighty five minutes, when substitute Robbie Crapper scored. In truth, Nostell had been more clinical than Hemsworth and deserved their 3-1 win and a home tie in the next round against AFC Blackpool. For the home team, this was another exit from a cup competition, following on from their FA Cup and League Cup defeats. To use a cliché, “they can now concentrate on the League” – and it’s only the first week of September.

2010/11: NCEL Div 1 – Leeds Carnegie v Glasshoughton Welfare

If you study the names of the teams currently within the two divisions of the NCEL, the terms, “Main”, “Collieries” or “Miners Welfare” appear and gave a massive clue as to the origination of the formation of a number of the clubs and specifically their mining roots. There are a number of exceptions of course and one of these is Leeds Carnegie FC, which is essentially the Leeds Metropolitan University first team. As a result their history is different to many of their league counterparts and I’m grateful to the Leeds Met, Leeds Carnegie FC websites and Wikepedia for information regarding the clubs background.

The team was originally called Leeds & Carnegie College F.C. and was founded in 1970. Their first nine years were spent in the Yorkshire Football League structure and in their first season Carnegie won the Division Three title. Success came their way again when in 1972-73 the club became Division Two Champions. The seventies also saw Carnegie have their best run in the FA Vase during the 1976-77 season, when they reached the Fourth Round before going out to Newcastle Blue Star 1-0.

In 1980, Carnegie left the Yorkshire League in favour of the Northern Universities League (NUL) . This period also saw a name change with the team known  as Leeds Polytechnic. The Poly had a 14 year stint in the NUL and was a period of great success. The Premier Division title was captured on nine occasions (1980/81, 1981/82, 1982/83, 1988/89, 1991/92, 1994/95, 2000/01, 2002/03 and 2003/04) as well as the NUL League Cup in 1999/2000 2002/03. In 1992 Leeds Polytechnic became  Leeds Metropolitan University and as a result the football club name was changed to Leeds Met Carnegie.

In 2004 Carnegie left the NUL for the West Yorkshire League, (part of the English football pyramid – the Premier Division is at Level 11) and were crowned champions of the Premier Division in 2005-06. The club was denied promotion as they didn’t have a ground up to the required standards. However, Carnegie were able to step up to the NCEL Division One in 2006-07 when they agreed to play at the home of Farsley at Throstle Nest.

As 2011 dawned Carnegie found themselves holding a mid-table position but were hit with the news in January that manager Graham Potter intended to leave to take over Osterund FK in Sweden. The club wasted no time in appointing Mark Macrow as his replacement with James Earl as his assistant.

The fixture against fellow mid-table side Glasshoughton Welfare in early February gave me the chance to see if team had been affected by the change in manager. So far on my Non League travels this season I’ve been impressed by the set-up at the various grounds and clubs I have visited. However this Saturday was a little disappointing. The reason for this? Well, it comes down to issues around the programme and lack of match day announcer. In the case of the programme, I expect to see brief pen-pictures of the opposition rather than those of the home squad. Unfortunately those provided for the Carnegie team were in my opinion not appropriate for this level of football and did not portray a professional bearing, given that there were loaded with comments which maybe fine in the dressing-room, but which meant little to the paying public. Also, the programme contained the respective squads and not team line-ups. Now this is fine, as long as there is an announcement of the team line-ups so that the crowd know who is playing. Unfortunately on Saturday, this didn’t happen and it did take away some of the enjoyment of watching, in that I was unable to identify who was who.

Of the game itself, Carnegie throughout tried to keep the ball on the ground, but were ultimately undone by being reduced to 10 men in the first-half. In a game of few chances, Carnegie looked like they might be able to get a point from the game when with 15 minutes to go the score was still level at 0-0. However, the deadlock was broken on 78 minutes when Damion Liddle latched onto a through ball to seal the win for the visitors. On balance I thought Glasshoughton just about shaded it, although Carnegie put in a brave display.

 Leeds Carnegie reported the match as follows:

10 Men Carnegie Just Fall Short

Despite a spirited performance for a character filled 10 men, Carnegie were just short of holding Glasshoughton to a draw – and could have won it!

Leeds Carnegie were put under pressure early by Glasshoughton whose physical approach saw defender Scott McGrory have to leave Throstle Nest with a suspected broken ankle in just the second minute.

 This lead to a physical, scrappy game with Carnegie being error bound which opened up two early chances for Glasshoughton – but failed to trouble stand in keeper Jordan Clarke.

Mid-way through the half however came the turning point. Following a silly booking for throwing the ball away, Matt Freeman lunged into an unnecessary challenge which gave referee Nigel Haycock no choice but to show the second yellow.

As the half wore on, Carnegie with their 10 men settled into their usual game and had chances through McGrory and Hawthorn but failed to really carve any openings of note.

On reflection of the first half, Carnegie would have been happy to go in at 0-0. The second half, however saw the home side come out in an alternative formation that proved to work as they began to put together some fantastic flowing moves, working the ball across the pitch picking gaps through the Glasshoughton team.

One of Carnegie’s best moves came from a Glasshoughton attack where the visitors forward missed what looked to be an easy chance , Carnegie coolly played the ball out of defence through the midfield and out to the left flank where Mycoe played the ball back inside. The ball was then worked over to the opposite side of the pitch through the Carnegie midfielders with a sequence of short but effective passes eventually finding Greig McGrory who, with an excellent first touch managed to control the ball into his path before seeing it flash across the goal mouth. An excellent strike from the clubs top scorer.

Jordan Clarke, put in a fantastic display in the sticks on his first team debut but was unable to prevent a clever low finish from the Glashoughton striker. The ball was played through the Leeds Carnegie defence, with Clark advancing out of his goal, the away sides striker tucked the ball underneath him.

Just moments later, against the run of play – Carnegie almost went two down but a clever chip could only find the top of the goal. Despite a couple of chances falling to the visitors, the home side continued to dominate the half despite being a man down. Rossiter looked very confident at the back putting in some superb challenges.


Leeds Carnegie       0 (0) – (0) 1    Glasshoughton Welfare

                                                            [Damion Liddle 78 minutes]

 Attendance: 69

The official website of Leeds Carnegie FC can be found by clicking the following: