Manchopper in….Glossop

Result: Glossop North End 0-2 Mossley (FA Cup Preliminary Round)

Venue: Surrey Street (Saturday 19th August 2017, 3pm)

Att: 450

It was back onto the Road to Wembley for this game as local rivals clashed for a place in the next round of the oldest cup competition in football. I was also introducing globetrotting Dave to the joys of Northern non-league football, somewhat removed from the like of Wimbledon, back in the day. You may also remember the fact I blogged this very ground a couple of seasons back, but having neglected the town whilst visiting Surrey Street on that day, I felt it’d be rude not to return at some point and have an explore. Dave was well up for it too and as such, it was off to the twitterverse’s chosen contest.

Just about avoiding the early morning rain showers, a quick change through Manchester was undertaken before we were heading onwards towards Derbyshire. Eventually arriving at just before mid-day, it soon became apparent that we may be reliant on a Wetherspoons until after the clock had passed that magic midday stroke. But, this changed with the discovery of the early starting Norfolk Arms and, after a quick trip to the local Boots and dodging a group of marauding Vespa riders, we were straight through the door for a couple of pints of Holt’s Crystal Gold.

Gloomy Glossop

Norfolk Arms

The Smithy Fold within a Mill

With the early kick-off about to get underway and the pub filling with United fans, I decided it’d be better to move on and head for said ‘Spoons which Dave, being a Chelsea fan, would probably have been somewhat thankful for. The Smithy Fold (within an old mill or something) is definitely one of the nicer ones out there and it combined well with the usual Punk IPA for myself. Our whistle-stop tour was soon to continue, though, with a trip over to the Brook Tavern. It looked pretty decent from outside but wasn’t quite to our overall taste within.

Due to the lack of interesting options, our stay was brief (though did yield us the chance to see United break the deadlock in South Wales) and with the clock now approaching 2pm, Dave reckoned we should head closer to the ground and, namely, to the Friendship Inn that sits just around the corner from the ground and not quite where you’d expect to find a pub. Be that as it may, this was probably my favourite of the ones visited pre-match, helped along markedly by the fact it was selling the superb Big Wave Pale Ale.

Weather starts to improve over the station

Friendship Inn

The kid wearing the Gengar hoody notwithstanding, not much was really up for report in here and we reckoned we may as well head up to Surrey Street and have a pint in the ground pre-match, a real rarity for me! After almost losing £15 to the wind, I was safely guided to the turnstiles without further faux pas and soon handed over £8. But, disaster! No programmes remained due to the printer breaking down, meaning around fifteen or so only had been up for grabs for these lucky punters. However, Dave, being a Tooting native, was kindly sorted an issue later in the day…..

Welcome to Surrey Street

The refreshing pint of Dark Fruits (albeit in a plastic container) saw us through to kick-off, with Dave deciding he wanted to head for “The Trenches”. No, this isn’t any sort of strange toilet nickname, but is instead how the covered standing area behind the goal and alongside the clubhouse/tea bar/changing rooms is known. It once housed the more vocal fans, I seem to remember, though these were seemingly absent from the crowd today, who were in good number. The rest of the ground features a further two stands, a seated stand towards the near corner and a further covered terrace on the opposite side, straddling the half-way line, with a little more terracing protruding from beyond the roofed area. As for Glossop NE’s story, well it’s a long and chequered one…

History Lesson:

Glossop North End FC was formed in 1886, initially playing friendly matches prior to joining the North Cheshire League in 1890. They’d go on to use professional players in 1894 whilst competing in the Combination (finishing runners-up & third in their two season stint) before joining the Midland League for a further two seasons, again finishing with a best of runners-up.

Glossop, as they’d be known from their stint in the league (to avoid confusion with Preston) through to 1992, would go on from there to join the Football League in 1898, being third time lucky in the application process whilst under the guidance of chairman, local cotton magnate Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, who’d later go on to hold the same role at Woolwich Arsenal. Indeed, the family line continues to have links with the club to this day with Peter Hill-Wood currently being a patron of the Hillmen. In joining the league, Glossop became the smallest town to host a Football League outfit (before being ousted by the area around Forest Green only this year) and remains the smallest to have hosted a top-flight club.

Their first Football League season was a highly successful one, the club finishing as Division 2 runners-up to Manchester City and achieving promotion to Division 1. However, their tenure in the top-flight only spanned a single season, prior to the Hillsmen (as they were then known) returning to the second-tier. Here they’d remain through to the end of the 1914/’15 season, whereupon the club was later disbanded due to WWI.

GNEFC

Reformed at the cessation of hostilities, the club had spells in both the Lancashire Combination (one season) & Manchester League in the period between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second. They’d end up winning the Manchester League title once in 1928 and also added the league’s Gilgryst Cup to their cabinet on three separate occasions.

After the end of WWII, Glossop re-joined the Manchester League and won a fourth Gilgryst Cup title (1948) prior leaving their original North Road ground in 1955 and moving into their present Surrey Street site. Since then, the club have had spells in the Lancashire Combination (nine seasons) and the Manchester League once more and became founders of the Cheshire County League (winning promotion to Division One as Division 2 runners-up in 1981) before also becoming founder members of the North West Counties League after the following season when the league merged with the Lancashire Combination. Glossop would spend the majority of their time here in the First (latterly Premier) Division, bar a spell from 1988-1992.

After staving off the threat of folding during the latter part of the 1980’s and early ’90’s, the club’s fortunes began to change and the Hillmen began to challenge more at the top of the table than languish towards the bottom of it. Following the name revert to Glossop North End in 1992, success would come in the form of the Manchester Premier Cup in 1997 vs Trafford at Old Trafford & 1998 at Maine Road vs Radcliffe Borough and the Derbyshire Senior Cup in 2001 vs now defunct Glapwell. Past this, little in the way of silverware was to follow in the next decade, though Glossop did get themselves to Wembley in the FA Vase, ending up as runners-up to the then Vase specialists Whitley Bay in the 2009 competition.

Clubhouse

Despite this, Glossop still struggled to get themselves out of the Counties and it would take until 2015 to do it, and then despite a large backlog of fixtures towards the end of the campaign. After managing to reel in the 21-point deficit to the top, he club also won the NWCFL League Cup and returned to Wembley once again for the Vase final, but again would fall at the final hurdle to a Northern League outfit, this time North Shields. 2016 saw Glossop easily make the step up to Step 4 and the NPL Division 1 North, finishing up the season in 4th position and taking a spot in the play-offs, eventually losing out to Northwich Victoria in the semis. Last season saw the departure of boss Chris Willcock, despite a decent 8th position finish, with Paul Phillips and Steve Halford taking the reigns.

Just 15 minutes after arrival of the officials, the game got underway with the visitors grabbing the early initiative, despite coming up against the confusing matter of a Matt Russell in both full-back positions. Yes, both #2 and #3 for Glossop North End were Matt Russell. Madness. Anyway, just a few minutes in, an effort from a corner had to be cleared off the line by a Glossop defender, which may well have been one of the Russell pairing. Despite this early chance, little else was fashioned through the first half-hour, with only a sole Dale Johnson effort for the hosts threatening a goal.

Match Action

Match Action

Floor scrap

But, with the thirty-minute mark passed, a couple of corners would lead to the opener. Jack Tuohy’s delivery found Elliot Harrison (whom Dave had already picked out as a danger man early in the game) and the winger planted his header beyond Glossop ‘keeper Paul Phillips (who has previous in this competition, having been a key part of the Droylsden squad who made it onto TV a number of years back) and into the net, to give the visitors the advantage.

Mossley did have a scare towards the end of the half, Liam Ellis’ header being ruled out for offside as Glossop pushed on to try to restore parity, but the Lilywhites saw out the remainder of play to head into the dressing rooms with the slight advantage. For us, it was to the food bar where we had to settle for a hot dog, due to the pies having run out at the time we’d got there. They were back on fairly swiftly but, having already tasted the fine offerings up at Surrey Street, I wasn’t too upset by the lack of pastry.

Harrison heads Mossley in front

The most memorable part of the half-time break was definitely the disgusting way in which Marko Arnautovic was announced to have been sent off. The PA system crackled into life with the words “Marko Arnautovic has been sent off for elbowing….” before the commentary was broken by the announcer’s words “the raffle ticket seller…”. Awful scenes, though his bending of time and space definitely needs looking at.

It was Glossop who had the ball in the net again early in the second period, but an infringement on the visiting ‘keeper just prior to the goal by “scorer” Ben Deegan saw the powerful frontman’s effort chalked off. This would prove to be a fatal error, as Mossley would soon double their advantage, Danny McLoughlin being felled at the end of a surging run. With the foul in the box, the due penalty was awarded and skipper Tom Dean stepped up. His spot-kick was kept out by Phillips, but fortune was against the ‘keeper as the ball immediately returned to the feet of Dean who stroked home the equaliser. This would prove to be the last action for Phillips too, as he appeared to chuck the ball into the celebratory scrum and was duly sent off for the transgression.

Original pen save, before the action kicked off!

Match Action

Today’s entertainment came courtesy of…

This pretty much ended North End’s hopes and Mossley comfortably saw out the remainder of the tie to book their place in the First Qualifying Round. Post-match, it was back to the clubhouse for a quick one (and receipt of programme), plus the witnessing of a strange half-skirmish between a member of each side just outside the bar. No idea what really sparked it, but there was certainly some annoyance going around.

We soon departed, along with the Mossley boss who had a quick chat about Lilywhites and Dave was more than happy to tell him about how he’s adopting the Tameside club due to the links through the nickname before we headed back to the high street for a couple of further drinks, in the Globe and the station-neighbouring Star Inn. The former was a brilliant little pub and well worth a visit if you find yourself in these parts. However, time had caught up with us and it was time to catch the train back to Manchester for the short 25 minute hop.

Dave was pleased with the Hillmen issue

A final quick one to waste away some time in the Grand Central alongside Oxford Road station completed the trip, before a return to my parents’ bar, where we’ve got to know Dave from on his sporadic visits up, made it signed and sealed off. All in all, it had been a really good day out. Glossop’s a decent town, the game was definitely watchable and Surrey Street is always a ground I enjoy visiting. As it is, it’s the Lilywhites of Mossley who progress and they’ll host the winners of tonight’s (at time of posting) replay between West Didsbury & Chorlton & 1874 Northwich. The arch draws ever closer….

RATINGS:

Game: 7

Ground: 7

Food: 6

Programme: 6

Value For Money: 7

 

The 2014-’15 Manchopper Awards

So, after a season consisting of 106 games, spanning 11 months and taking in grounds in all manner of places and surroundings within three countries and at all levels, it’s time the honour the best, the worst, the weird and the wonderful of my travels over the past season.

From Croston to Crewe, whether on the pitch or off it, there has certainly been some memorable moments and characters & both new and old friends have been made/re-acquainted during my ventures and the awards celebrate the most brilliant, or otherwise, of all the experiences & escapades that have occurred. So without further ado, Ladies & Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, the very best of Season 2014-’15, Manchopper Style……

The “West Didsbury & Chorlton & Atherton Town” Best Animal Seen Escape In Order To Watch A Game Award:

Winner: The Howe Bridge Horses

Unsurprisingly given the title of this award, there was only one nominee and one result only, just like a FIFA Presidential election involving Sepp Blatter. Congratulations to the horses who escaped and decided to watch over a wall and through a gate. They were left disappointed, I’d presume.

Horses watching the game at Atherton Town

Horses watching the game at Atherton Town

The drunken escapade of the season, sponsored by #lostboyos:

The Nominees: Me at Morecambe & Me At Glan Conwy.

Winner: Me at Glan Conwy

Well, what can I say. After making a horrible mess of a bag at the hands of a Sambuca-fuelled Eagle Sports, I somehow managed to get home after being on the phone to keep myself awake, or I’d have been stranded in Warrington. I parted company with my sunglasses somewhere in the vicinity of Sankey Platform 1. I’ve not been the same since…

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The  “Non League Review” best away day of the season:

The Nominees: Barnet, Maine Road, Mottram Hall.

Winner: Barnet

Yes, Barnet was a clear winner of this award. After watching Barnet smash Altrincham for five at the Hive, Stew organised the first, and so far only, NLR Whistle Stop Tour. I was shown all the sights of London, before having some Chinese in A Box. Top day.

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Strangest Venue Of The Season:

The Nominees: Mottram Hall, Gresty Road (NI vs Qatar), Old Trafford (Portugal vs Argentina)

Winner: Mottram Hall.

For as strange as Gresty Road hosting a home international for scheduled 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar was, as well as Old Trafford hosting Argentina vs Portugal, the Messi vs Ronaldo 45-minute non-event, a game in the grounds of the 5* Cheshire hotel, Mottram Hall, tops all. Not to mention that it featured Romanian side Dinamo Bucharest, who were being entertained by none other than Cheadle Town.

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Most Memorable Day of The Season:

The Nominees: Glan Conwy, Barnet, Northern Ireland vs Qatar

Winner: Northern Ireland vs Qatar

An award for the fixture that has made a late entry into the gongs. All the fans, atmosphere & the day in general, and causing trouble whilst agreeing….

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The “Where Do Vics Play?” Award, Sponsored by Football Spoon:

The Nominees: Football Spoon telling me how to pronounce Glasshoughton correctly as to avoid being lynched, Football Spoon laughing at my misfortune at Newcastle Town & Football Spoon informing Trafford FC’s Twitter account of the presence of Northwich Victoria at Valley Road, Flixton.

Winner: Football Spoon helping Trafford to locate clubs in Flixton.

Yes, after Trafford’s account had said it was only Northwich Flixton Villa who played at Valley Road, the Spoon politely informed them of the presence of Vics and also helped remind them they’d played against them a year earlier. He was subsequently blocked. Nice.

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The Matt Harrison Craziest Character of the Season Award:

The Nominees: Neville and er….well no, one beats that!

Winner: Neville.

What can you say about Nev. An absolute legend and one that will live long in the memory of all of us who met him at Chapel-en-le-Frith two weeks before the end of the season. Matt has the knack of attracting these weird and wonderful folk, and he didn’t disappoint on this occasion! Neville. What a hero.

The Manchopper Craziest Team of the Season Award:

The Nominees: Eagle Sports…..And that’s it.

Winner: Eagle Sports.

As I said earlier, the club changed me on that day in Conwy, and it was damn crazy on the whole. Tbh, they’re not completely nuts, per se, but when the alcohol appears, specifically the Sambucca, everything changes. Maybe that’s just my drink-ruined mind talking, though.

Eagle Sports

Best Fans:

The Nominees: FC United, Salford City, Hemel Hempstead Town, Morecambe, Bury u18’s.

Winners: Hemel Hempstead Town.

Yes, The Tudors’ backing were the best I’ve come across this season. I saw them on two occasions, in the FA Cup, and on both occasions they were outstanding. Hemel take this award. King Henry VIII would be very proud.

Okay, onto on pitch matters now, and the best and not so good achievements on the field of play…Remember, this is only teams I’ve seen, so please no threatening messages or abuse, or I’ll send Alan Shearer round with Newcastle tickets. You’ve been warned….

The Hemel Fans complete with drummer

The Hemel Fans complete with drummer

Hemel at Bury

Hemel at Bury

Team Performance of the Season:

The Nominees: Llandridnod Wells (vs Flint), Penlake (vs Golborne), Wythenshawe Town (vs West Dids Res), Chapel Town (vs Walshaw Sports), Altrincham (vs Macclesfield)

Winner: Penlake

In the relegation spots at 3pm, Penlake had to win. They comfortably did so, disposing of Golborne Sports by 9-0, with striker Alex Grisedale netting five times on his way to finishing top scorer. Staying up in style.

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Penlake

Individual Performance of the Season:

The Nominees: Alex Grisedale (Penlake), Craig Ellison (Congleton Town), Chris Venables (Aberystwyth Town), Nathan Tyson (Doncaster Rovers), Javi Ramos (Atletico Benamiel)

Winner: Alex Grisedale

Despite the feats of all the above, you can’t ignore someone scoring five in a game to keep his side up, even if he was playing against a depleted side.

Grisedale (#9) in front of shot.

Grisedale (#9) in front of shot.

Best Game of the Season:

The Nominees: Stockport Sports vs Selby Town, Greenalls PSO vs Eagle Sports, Chapel Town vs Walshaw Sports, Droylsden vs Salford City, Northwich Flixton Villa vs Atherton Collieries.

Winner: Northwich Flixton Villa vs Atherton Collieries.

This one just pips Stockport vs Selby to the title, mostly because Stockport no longer exists and the game ended up in a replay after a 5-5 draw anyway. NFV, meanwhile, ended Atherton’s winning run in the league in quite unbelievable circumstances, winning 3-2 after previously being minnows in the league. They remained only mid table, but this was their finest hour.

Goal Of The Season:

The Nominees: The Athletic Fuengirola player (shot from half-way), James Lawrie (Altrincham vs Macclesfield), Joe Clark (Wrexham vs Torquay), Shane Kelsey (1st goal, Shaw Lane vs Glasshoughton), Gaz Meredith (Altrincham Res vs Irlam Res)

Winner: Joe Clark.

Wrexham skipper Joe Clark’s opener in the FA Trophy Semi-Final 1st Leg is well worthy of the award. His 25 yard strike was put into the top corner in a gap the size of a postage stamp. Or, more precisely, a ball. Either way, it was a superb goal, and pips Meredith’s super hit.

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Ground Of The Season:

The Nominees: Cefn Druids’ The Rock, Runcorn Town’s Pavilions, Glossop North End’s Surrey Street, Squires Gate’s School Lane, Wrexham’s The Racecourse Ground.

Winner: Cefn Druids.

For pure backdrop and name alone it has to be the Rock. A nice clubhouse also features highly in my memories of the ground in Cefn Mawr. If you Smel…elllllll…ellll..el what The Rock is Cooking!

The Rock.

The Rock.

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Most Improved Club (primarily facilities)

The Nominees: Salford City, Wythenshawe Town, Chadderton.

Winner: Salford City.

Yes, the overall appearance and look of the club has changed massively since the “Class of 92″‘s well publicised take over of the club last summer. In my opinion, this is very much for the better, and the benefit of non-league football in general. It adds a bit of something different, as the likes of Darlington and Halifax and FC United do, for differing reasons. So, for me, Salford are well deserving of this.

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Moor Lane

Moor Lane

The Manchopper Team of The Season:

The Nominees: Wythenshawe Town, FC United, Glossop North End, Barnet, Rochdale.

Winner: Wythenshawe Town. (Glossop semi-pro award)

As much as you could argue that with the standard of players in comparison it wasn’t as difficult as others, in the case of Wythy, to go a whole season winning every game is some feat. In all competitions, lest we forget. A massive shout for Glossop too, who’s season was quite brilliant. I can’t split the two, really, considering the differing levels in which they play, so both sides can win an award here. If you like, Glossop win the “semi-pro” Team of the Season & Wythenshawe the Amateur award

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Greg Hall, a vital component of Glossop's campaign.

Greg Hall, a vital component of Glossop’s campaign.

GNE Huddle

GNE Huddle

Manchopper in….Glossop

GNE_afc_badgeDunston_FC

Result: Glossop North End 2-2 Dunston UTS; AET. (FA Vase Quarter Final)

Venue: Surrey Street (Saturday 14th February 2015, 3.00pm)

Att: 651

Valentines Day, the day where love is spread amongst people the world over. However, there was to be no love lost on the football fields of the country and nowhere was this more the case than at Surrey Street where Glossop North End, of the North West Counties League, would be playing host to Northern League side Dunston UTS.

As for myself, I set out on the journey into the High Peak at just after 12.30 pm, transiting through Manchester Piccadilly where I had appeared to have missed the majority of those travelling to games around the area. At just before half past 1, I was on the Northern Rail service to Hadfield.

On arrival into Glossop station, the train meets a dead end, despite this not being its terminus. Glossop is a one platform station, so therefore the trains are sent on their way both ways from the buffers. A stranger set up. The original plan was to have a drink in one of the nearby pubs, either the Friendship Inn, just down the road or one of a selection in the town centre. However, due to the expectancy of a larger crowd than usual dawned upon me, I thought it would be wiser to head straight for Surrey Street itself, if only to ensure a programme would be safely obtained.

So, after making my way up the slight hill climb down the side of the station and down a few side roads, I passed the aforementioned Friendship, which looked packed with what I reckoned must have been a number of visiting fans from the North East. Not being too familiar with the immediate area, I was grateful for the marker of a large steel chimney which towers above all around it and is located directly next to the ground. So, if you make the trip to GNE in this way, you have a sure fire way to get there that will also save on your phone battery life!

After passing by the rubble covered wasteland surrounding the chimney, I arrived at the turnstile at Surrey Street. I was informed that there was no Student Concession (which I can now use due to my NUS). Not to worry, though, I more than happily handed over my £6 entrance fee and once through the gate purchased my copy off “The Hillmen” programme for a further £1.50, which was celebrating the recent 400th game of club stalwart & captain Dave Young. Not a bad effort that! I trusted they were to be harder to find than the holy grail today so it was safely kept away in my bag.

Glossop North End, Surrey Street.

Glossop North End, Surrey Street.

Teamsheet

Teamsheet

First, I headed for the clubhouse which was showing the second half of the West Brom vs West Ham game. Of course, it would be rude to stay there and watch without contributing to the bar wouldn’t it? I figured it would, so with Strongbow purchased, I settled in to watch the final half an hour of the game and flick through the programme I had just bought. Not a bad read at all, including flashbacks and the game a few years ago between the sides that ended in a 1-0 win to North End thanks to Danny Yates’ goal as they eventually reached Wembley. There used to be a mural at the rear of the clubhouse celebrating this achievement, but this seems to have gone by the wayside at some point within the last 12 months or so.

In the Clubhouse at GNE

In the Clubhouse at GNE

Glossop North End Badge Board

Glossop North End Badge Board

As the clock passed a dentist’s favourite time, 2.30 (I’ll get my coat), I made my way outside into what was a rather pleasant afternoon in the High Peak area of Derbyshire and walked over to the Main Stand and took a seat within it. I was soon to be joined by a rather, vocal, group of young Glossop supporters and a few Dunston fans too. More on this later on. For now, Surrey Street. The ground consist of three stands. The Main Stand is the only one that offers seating, and is situated on the far touchline, from where you enter, in the final third of the near end. To the left, behind the goal is a covered terrace called “The Trenches”. This is where the Glossop flag bearers congregate, and they certainly have a decent amount to show. Continuing on behind the near end goal is the dressing rooms, clubhouse and food hut. The near touchline is accompanied by a covered standing area, to the right of the turnstiles and behind the far goal is open standing and a grassy area which today was playing host to some kids football games. Surrey Street holds a capacity of 2,374. Now onto the, rather colourful, history of the club…

The Trenches

The Trenches

The Trenches

The Trenches/Clubhouse

Main Stand

Main Stand

The KFC end. There's a KFC there.

The KFC end. There’s a KFC there.

History Lesson:

Formed in 1886, Glossop North End originally competed in local amateur friendlies at various local grounds, before settling at North Road. The club joined their first league, the North Cheshire League, in 1890 before switching allegiance to the Combination in 1894 and turning professional.

After two seasons, the club joined the Midland League, remaining there for a further two seasons until they were elected to Division 2 of the Football League for 1898-’99. They immediately won promotion to Division 1, as runners-up to Manchester City, when they also changed their name to Glossop, dropping the North End suffix to avoid confusion with Preston (?). The following season was to be their only season in England’s top flight, as they were relegated. The following 15 seasons were spent in the Second Division with the club reaching the quarter finals of the 1909 FA Cup. At this time, the club were backed by Sir Samuel Hill-Wood, the man who would later go on to hold the position of chairman at Arsenal.

After World War One, the club failed to be re-elected to the reformed Football League and, as such, they joined the Lancashire Combination for a season, before dropping into the Manchester League, where they won one championship (1928) and four Gilgryst Cups.

Angry skies gather

Angry skies gather

1955 saw Glossop relocate from North Road to their current home at Surrey Street. In 1957, Glossop joine the Lancashire Combination, again, this time spending nine seasons in the league before joining the Cheshire League as founder members, following one season back in the Manchester League. In 1981, Glossop won promotion to Division One of the Cheshire League in 1981 as runners-up and upon finishing sixth in Division One the following season, the club became founder members of the North West Counties League due to the merger of the Cheshire League and Lancashire Combination. The club played in Division Two of the Counties initially, winning the Division 2 trophy in 1991. After almost folding during the 1991 close season, the club soldiered on to be promoted to Division 1 the following year.

Now in Division 1 and back under the original Glossop North End name, the club began to challenge for honours on a regular basis, winning their first back as North End at Old Trafford, the Manchester Premier Cup with a victory over Trafford, before retaining it the following year by defeating Radcliffe Borough at Maine Road. They then lifted the 2001 Derbyshire Senior Cup, beating Glapwell.

Greg Hall, Through the net.

Greg Hall, Through the net.

2009 featured the club’s most famous day for decades, when they reached the FA Vase final at Wembley. Sadly, for North End, they were vanquished by Whitley Bay, who were to make the Vase their own for a short period. In late 2013, current boss Chris Willcock took the reigns from Paul Colgan and his first full season ended with Glossop finishing third, their highest league finish since 1980. This season, they’ve gone from strength to strength and are strong contenders for the NWCFL title.

Covered Terrace

Covered Terrace

Covered Terrace

Covered Terrace, full to bursting.

Glossop Team Huddle

Glossop Team Huddle

Kick-Off

Kick-Off

Back onto the present day now, and the sides came out to be welcomed by a large crowd, each expectant for their own side’s progression in the competition. A tight first period saw no goals and little goalmouth action but, in truth, the game itself was of a decent standard. Of the pitch, the standards were a little lower. The younger group of Glossop fans, aforementioned, began to get a little too rowdy with a female member of the Dunston following. The lady may not have exactly been helping matters, but the case is that some of the language being used shouldn’t have been directed at them. In addition, there was a family from the North East who had travelled down to watch the game and felt the need to move as to protect their youngest daughter from the language being spewed. Not a great impression to give off and I got the feeling a number of the “longer standing” Glossop fans were just as unimpressed with the goings on. They were also responsible for letting off a smoke bomb later in the game (after the second goal, I believe) where a Glossop committee member had to ask them to stop. I’m all for the support of younger people at games, but it can be done in a more respectful manner.

Watching the game

Watching the game

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Match Action

Now that that’s out of the way, we can get back onto the pitch. Or, in fact, due to the lack of meaningful action, I’ll remain on the terraces and more pinpoint, the food hut and the famed Glossop pies. I had been given the tip of a Steak pie by the “Football Spoon” the night before at Atherton LR and I decided to take his word on this one. And my word was he right. The legends are true folks, and I can certainly say that I add my words onto the celebrations of Glossop’s pie industry!

Second half, and it was Dunston, the 2012 Vase winners, who came out of the dressing rooms the sharper of the two sides. It was little surprise, therefore, when they took the lead when Andrew Bulford swept home from inside the area. They were ahead for just two minutes, though. Glossop forced a free-kick on the right flank. The ball was floated in and met by the head of Jason Carey whose guided header gently placed itself into the far corner pat the rooted ‘keeper. 1-1.

Now it was all to play for, and the momentum was with the home side, and when they forced a penalty with 15 minutes to play, when Lee Blackshaw was tripped, it looked a good bet they would be progressing. It looked even better odds when the Dunston #4 was harshly dismissed, in my view, for the foul leading to the penalty as I felt there were covering players and he wasn’t the last man. That’s how it looked from my place, but then, the pitch is the best place to see the action. Tom Bailey took responsibility and coolly rolled the ball into the ‘keeper’s right hand corner, sending him the wrong way. 2-1.

Tom Bailey strikes the pen for 2-1.

Tom Bailey strikes the pen for 2-1.

Bailey is mobbed by team-mates

Bailey is mobbed by team-mates

But Dunston refused to lie down and caught Glossop unawares. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Dunston had possession on the left flank, and the ball came to Gary Ormston who fired low, under Glossop ‘keeper Greg Hall to spark wild celebrations from the visitors from Gateshead-way. Extra-Time to follow.

The Extra-Time came and went with little alarms for either side, and I spent most of the second period having a chat with GNE’s Danny White, who was banned for the game I learned. Glossop, as you would imagine, had more possession but struggled to truly break down the well drilled Dunston back-line, and so the final whistle blew to ensure the teams would meet again, the following Saturday (21st).

The extra-time had ruined my best laid plans to have my drink in the Friendship on the way to the station and indeed made me get a march on to get to the station in time, but I managed it just as the long, purple cylinder entered into the station. Taking my place alongside it, we passed back through the darkness and over the viaduct & sheer drop near Dinting station onwards back to Piccadilly and Oxford Road. Back on the train home, I ended up sitting with Amy who teaches at the same school that I work at, but I chose not to regale them (mostly) with the news of my ventures. I felt I would keep this Manchopper under wraps.

My Glossop North End M.o.M.- Tom Bailey.

My Dunston UTS M.o.M.- Daniel Halliday.

RATINGS:

Game: 8- Good, entertaining contest

Ground: 8- Good mix of the old and the new with some photogenic backdrops.

Fans: 5- Takes a drop for the reasons mentioned above. Otherwise, very courteous and polite, especially a couple of the junior side who were mascots.

Food: 10- Definitely the best pie I’ve had in a long time, possibly ever. No surprise is it really?

Programme: 8- A good, solid read. Better than some at higher levels. Interesting content.

Value For Money: 8- Cheap travel (£3-ish), okay admission, programme standard price. Good pie & cider too.