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.