Denton postpone Centenary celebrations

FOOTBALL has been decimated this year because of the Coronavirus. From internationals to grassroots, the impact has been severe and Denton Town are like many of the grassroots teams whose season is left in ruins.

The committee, players and supporters of Denton Town FC are doubly disappointed because this year was their centenary year and plans for this celebration have been put on hold. They had already arranged a large walking football tournament for May 2020 and talks were in progress for an Old Boys match against a Manchester City Old Boys team and a reunion buffet evening for all the ex players.

This season the club are running four teams and had mixed success until the enforced closure. The senior team under managers Phil Cooper and Darren Green reached the final of the Manchester Saturday Challenge Trophy in its first year entering the competition.

The club was formed in 1920 by the Reverend JT Canton (not Cantona!), the rector of Christ Church, Bradford, Manchester. At the time Bradford was a heavily industrialised area of East Manchester.

During their inaugural season of 1920-1921, Bradford Parish played in the Manchester YMCA League and were fortunate enough to be able to call on the services of two Lancashire Schoolboy players, who had also played at England Schoolboy level.

The team with an average age of just 17 became League Champions and Shield Winners in that first year. All their home games were played at the David Lewis Recreation Ground or Donkey Common as it was known. Most playing surfaces in those days were not grass but shale and cuts and scrapes were common due to the harsh surface.

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The following season 1921-1922, saw the club enter the Openshaw and District League. It is a matter of conjecture as to why the club left the Manchester YMCA League but if it was to find sterner competition they still had some way to go.

The team went undefeated in the league, scoring 76 goals for, conceding just 19. The record of cup goals for and against is not known but by winning the cup they were undefeated during the season. Double winners and undefeated, a great achievement in any level of competition.

The Lancashire & Cheshire League, which the club entered in the 1922-1923 season ran two senior divisions, the 1st Division and the A Division, later renamed the 2nd Division. It was in the A Division that Parish started their long association with the league. Parish won the A Division that season finishing with four more points than their nearest rivals, Union Chapel, another church side.

The team also reached the final of the Rhodes Cup, winning the competition, a feat that has been repeated on a further nine occasions by the club.

An incredible 17 coach loads of supporters travelled to Urmston to watch them defeat West Didsbury in the final. Judging by the number of coaches, there must have been around 800 fans supporting their local team.

It was during this season that Parish, for the first time, ran two teams. The church, or was it the football, was attracting more and more youngsters, this prompted the committee to set up another team. The second team was a junior side and was entered into the Manchester YMCA League which they duly won at their first attempt.

So now it was three seasons, four league titles and three cup wins.

Having won the league and cup in their first season in the L&C League, it must have been the committee’s intention to consolidate in the senior division in the 1923-1924 season. They consolidated by doing the double, winning the 1st Division and for the second season running winning the Rhodes Cup, beating Werneth Amateurs in the final.

The 1935-1936 season was a major turning point in the history of Bradford Parish, they were to leave their controversial Cemetery Road ground and move to a new enclosed ground with better facilities and a good quality playing surface, at the Ashton Moss Athletic Ground. This was achieved with all the hard work of the committee and in particular Alf Cook, the secretary.

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Season 1937-1938 saw the Parish side again win the league and cup double and if WW2 had not taken place the club would have faced a promising future with many experienced and good quality up and coming younger players.

The first season after the War saw another change of ground due to bomb damage at the Ashton Moss venue, when Melland Playing Fields in Gorton, Manchester became the club’s new home.

As it turned out, although many of the pre-war side were past their best in playing terms, the side retained the league championship for the first two seasons after the war.

The most memorable night in the club’s history took place in April 1953 at the Accrington Stanley Peel Park Ground where Parish won the coveted Lancashire Amateur Cup with a 3-1 win over Morecambe GSOB.

The mid-1950’s to mid-1960’s was a glorious time for the club with a trophy haul of 22 titles and cups.

By the clubs high standards a barren period followed with only seven trophies won up to the club’s change of name to Denton Town in 1994 and change of ground to Whittles Park in 1995.

The Denton team carried on the winning tradition with a league and cup double in the season 2005-2006, remaining undefeated throughout.

The 2008-2009 season saw a step up in standards when the club were successful in their application to join the Cheshire League. This was a very hard decision for the club to make after being members of the L&C for 86 years.

At this time, three of the club’s committee were also on the league committee (Geoff Gable, Steve Dunn and Jim Brown). A spokesperson said: “We would have liked to have kept or reserve team in the L&C but their rules at the time wouldn’t allow this so we had to leave with all teams.”

In the 2010-2011 season the first team won the Cheshire League Division 2 and were promoted to the 1st Division. The Reserves won the first Cup Final they played in since joining the Cheshire league.

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Now that the L&C have changed their rules this allowed the club to move its Reserves back to join them and they were having a mixed season in Division 3 until the season was prematurely halted. The managers Gary Dixon and Rob Nicholson were having their first experience of open age football having come from running Youth Teams and found the changes interesting to say the least.

Statement from the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL

Following the FA announcement of the 26th March, the management committee have considered the situation and have decided that the league divisional programme 2019-2020 is null and void. There will be no trophies or medals awarded. Furthermore the league presentation dinner which was to be held on 15th May has been cancelled.

We understand there will be concern over finances; with this in mind, do assess your financial position, but do not send to us at this stage. The league committee will meet as soon as the crisis is over and work out a plan to give as much help as possible.

We do have a plan which would allow the League Cup competitions to be completed, if the go ahead to resume football activity is received by the end of May. We are going to discuss the possibility of this with the County FA and will report the outcome.

We hope that you are all safe and well, and look forward to normal life resuming.

A fond look back at a great football venue

THE L&C is now in its 111th season – sadly interrupted – but it gives a chance to look back at some of the highlights etc in its glorious history.

One of the league’s top playing venues for well over 50 years was The Christie Playing Fields in Chorlton on the edge of Princess Road and Barlow Moor Road.

It had, due to superb underlying natural drainage, magnificent pitches probably the best pitches in the league.

Among the clubs from our league who enjoyed playing there for many years from the 1930s to the 1980s were South Manchester, West Didsbury, Rusholme, Mantact and Wythenshawe Amateurs, who all had their own club changing rooms.

West Didsbury stayed there until the 1990s before the fields were taken over to build a business park and residential homes on the beloved soccer site.

West Didsbury moved to their current occupation of Brookburn Road, Chorltonville in 1997 taking over from another historic L&C club East Chorlton who had played there since 1966 and they eventually changed their name to West Didsbury and Chorlton AFC.

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At Brookburn Road the ground was part of the development of Chorltonville in the early 1900s.

The estate, now subject to a conservation order, was to be built for the poor of Hulme with sporting facilities but the finished article did not end up the way the developers intended.

The housing was built in the Arts and Crafts style of William Morris and all properties have distinctive ‘motifs’ on the front gables.

It is the setting of the houses, with grass verges and tree-lined roads which gives Chorltonville its special garden village character.

Isolated from traffic noise it is a quiet area as the roads do not provide an easy through route and it has a resident’s association that was formed to maintain the roads, paths, verges and trees.

However the sports side was provided with tennis courts and the rest of the area occupied by the football pitch which was originally the home of Old Bedians Rugby Club before they moved to Underbank Farm in East Didsbury.

It is great to see that the sporting intention of the original developers has been carried on to this day by the provision of football utilised by the younger generations of the current occupiers of the housing and other people in the area.

After leaving the league in the new millennium, to join the North West Counties FL under the guidance of West legend Rob Turley, who was the L&C President in 2003-4, the club have developed a superb football complex involving the adjoining playing fields on Chorlton Meadows catering for all levels of football, for men, juniors and ladies.

Many of the original committee from the L&C days are still involved in running a very successful and friendly club and have kept up their connections by hosting several cup finals in recent seasons and will continue to do so.

Grassroots football postponed with immediate effect

The FA has confirmed that grassroots football in England has been postponed due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

It comes after the government’s latest update which advises people to avoid social contact and gatherings unless absolutely necessary.

The number of confirmed cases of the virus has increased once again and as such, the health and wellbeing of people is of the utmost priority.

This decision not only includes matches, but training sessions are to cease with immediate effect too.

Until any updates to the contrary, this advice remains the protocol that all clubs must abide by.

All Grassroots Football Postponed

To All Club Secretaries and Participants in the L & C AFL, please see the announcement below.

 Note that it applies to training as well as matches.

 Kind Regards, Brian Davies, League Secretary

From: Colin Bridgford <Colin.Bridgford@manchesterfa.com>
Sent: 16 March 2020 18:54
To: Colin Bridgford <Colin.Bridgford@manchesterfa.com>
Subject: FA Announcement – All Grassroots Football Postponed
Importance: High

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Dear Clubs and Leagues,

The FA has this evening confirmed the postponement of grassroots football in England with immediate effect.

Following the Government’s announcement today, for people to avoid social contact and gatherings where possible, we are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future.

Throughout this period, we have taken Government advice with the priority being the health and wellbeing of all. We will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time.

We are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review. Further updates will follow as needed.

Manchester FA would like to remind all stakeholders within grassroots football in Manchester of the importance of abiding by the latest advice, which comes in with immediate effect.  Please note that this also applies to both training sessions and matches.

The above will remain in place until any future updates are provided by either The FA centrally or on behalf of The FA from ourselves.

Update issued on Coronavirus protocol

Following up on the statement from Manchester FA last week, the L&C has taken the decision to continue playing at the current time. This is subject to change as and when further action is necessary. We will keep the league updated if our position changes. All updates this week are below.

  1. The fixture schedule is released until the end of the season. Cup fixtures that can be, have been scheduled, a reminder that after 90 minutes it is straight to penalties and referee fees are shared. Further changes will be necessary, so please check regularly. For all fixture matters contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. 3/4G bookings – for the best prices please book pitches direct with the facility, ie the pitch provider, not via a third party such as ‘Total Football’. More information about 3G pitches, discussed at the EGM was issued last week.
  3. Coronavirus : The league carries on playing until further notice. Please see messages of 14th March. The Respect Handshake was suspended in this league, see messages issued 29th Feb.
  4. Dukinfield Athletic have pitch availability at Astley Sports for the following dates – April 4th, 18th and 25th, if anyone needs a 4G pitch on these dates to help alleviate any fixture backlog. Pitch cost would be £75 a game. Please contact Steve Limb Tel: 07837 992720
  5. South Manchester’s secretary Tony Brogan is away 9th – 22nd March, please contact Frank Forster (0161 432 4532) or Jim Donohue 07768180780 in his absence.
  6. Many of you will remember Lee Wilkinson, long serving manager of Parrswood Celtic, who sadly passed away last weekend. His funeral will take place on Monday 23rd March at 12:00 at Manchester Crematorium.

Signol Athletic cruise through in Stockport Senior Cup

Cup and inter league fixtures round-up

A VIRTUALLY full programme of matches saw three cup ties played and in the Stockport Senior Cup Signol Athletic had few problems in disposing of Stoconians reserves to make it through to the latter stages.

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Parrs Wood Celtic are through to the final of the Whitehead Cup after an excellent 3-1 semi-final win over Salford Storm who gave a great account of themselves despite having a man sent off.

The MoM was Celtic’s dynamic striker Matt Garbett who capped an outstanding display with a superb hat-trick with Storm getting a well deserved consolation goal in the dying minutes.

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The other cup match was in the Wray Cup at Chadderton Cott the leaders in division three and they had to work hard to edge a 2-1 win over Village Manchester.

Cott now have an exciting semi-final against Division Two high-flyers North Walkden to look forward to.

The L&C league team enjoyed playing the Liverpool Premier League on an excellent pitch at Liverpool FA and despite the 5-0 scoreline, had several attempts on goal, which were unlucky not to yield what would have been a deserved consolation goal, especially in the closing exchanges after a superb move cut through the Liverpool defence. the team was made up of players from Manchester Polonia, Radclyffe, Milton and Abacus Media and none from the leading teams in the Premier Division.

The team, made up of players from Manchester Polonia, Radclyffe, Milton and Abacus Media, never gave up in a game played in great spirit, without a single booking.

Manchester Polonia’s Tomasz Koperwas was man of the match after producing a string of stunning saves against a very strong Liverpool outfit.

The team was organised by Tim Roebuck, and managed by Mike Treanor and Phil Noon.

The L&C thank our Liverpool hosts for a superb facility and their hospitality and we look forward to a return match at a ‘home’ ground next season.

Premier Division

Premier Division action saw Whalley Range clinch the title with a convincing 6-1 win at High Lane which leaves them untouchable with two games to play.

Reigning champions Rochdalians are within four points of claiming the runners-up spot as they too won comfortably by 6-2 in a local derby against Lancashire Amateur Cup finalists Milton.

Waterloo won 2-1 at basement club Trafford United who put in a great effort before going down with Waterloo staying in fourth spot.

At the other end of the table South Manchester defended well to keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Dom Doyle which virtually leaves them safe from the bottom two.

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The other mid-table fixture saw Mellor defeat Abacus Media 4-1.

Division One

It’s still all to play for in thrilling race for the Division One title as the top three all posted victories.

AFC Oldham stay in top spot by a point with a 4-2 win over Bury Ams in an excellent game and local rivals Radclyffe showed their determination in an 8-1 cruise over Moston Brook.

Irlam Tigers have five games in hand over the top two and kept in the hunt with a 4-2 win over Chorltonians which leaves them 14 points adrift of AFC Oldham.

Manchester Polonia won 3-0 at Old Stretfordians to leave Strets in bottom spot as they have now completed their fixtures.

In the other game Urmston Town and Newton shared six goals.

Division Two

Division Two leaders Dukinfield Athletic also completed their season and drew 3-3 with North Walkden who are one of four teams poised to take over at the summit.

Hadfield Athletic beat Bedians 4-1 and are a point behind Dukinfield with five games left to play.

Stoconians had no game but are still in the hunt as are South Manchester reserves and Oldham Vics had the biggest win in the division with a 7-1 win at Chorltonians reserves.

Division Three

The top two on Division Three were in cup action and they remain well clear of the pack with the other games ending in 2-1 scorelines.

They went in favour of Abacus Media seconds against Hooley Bridge Celtic and Salford Vics reserves against Chadderton Park.

Division A

Mellor thirds won 2-1 in a close contest at Waterloo reserves to stay on top of Division A but their main rivals have vital games in hand.

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Wythenshawe Wanderers are a point behind Mellor with two games in hand after an efficient 2-1 win at third-placed AFC Stockport and the other game was won 4-2 by Deans hosting AFC Oldham seconds.

Division B

Division B leaders Parrs Wood Celtic were in cup action and Moston Brook thirds moved to within a point of Celtic with a 3-1 win over Chadderton Cott reserves but Celtic still look favourites as they have three games in hand.

AFC Oldham thirds stay in third spot with a comfortable 4-1 win at Spurley Hey reserves but are well adrift of the top two.

Basement team Stoconians thirds were able to celebrate long and hard after posting their third win of the season by 4-2 over Bury Ams reserves and the other game was a lively 3-3 draw between Old Strets thirds and Hillgate.

Division C

Just two games played in Division C and they did not affect the teams at the top with Staly Lions winning  3-1 at Moston Brook fourths and Altrincham Hale drew 2-2 with Oldham Vics reserves.