Bedians on the up

BEDIANS are one of the oldest clubs in the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL being founded as Old Bedians in 1928 then in 1930/31 moving to the L & C and playing two teams in the junior division of the L & C and two senior teams the following season for former students of St Bedes College.

They played originally at St Bedes College, then Hough End in 1933 and 30 years later moved the LAL as the L & C could not accommodate their five teams.

Bedians stayed in the LAL until 1978 and under the guidance of Ged Lee and Nick Murphy enjoyed a successful era.

They moved to their present site at Underbank Farm in 1965 sharing the facilities with Old Bedians RUFC and by then had scrapped the rule that all players had to ex Bedians students and rejoined the L & C in 1978, fielding four teams who all enjoyed excellent cup and league success for many years.

A serious fire in the clubhouse saw it rebuilt in its present excellent facility and opened in 1993 with Keith Marsden a big mover in its development.

The club also hosted cup finals and Inter League games during this golden period in its history.

But as with many football and other sports clubs changing social attitudes saw the club’s teams reduced over recent years and it is now down to one team, playing mainly in division two in recent seasons.

But under the enthusiastic guidance of Rob O’Connor Bedians are rebuilding and looking to get back to their former glory years.

Rob said: “Over the last few years we have rebuilt our infrastructure, squad, invested in our equipment, pitches and facilities to ensure our future and reach our centenary in 2028/29.

“The squad is well balanced with a good blend of youth and experience that can develop into a very good team over the next few years.

“We are working with the football foundation on a number of fronts at the moment and have received three grants recently for the Pitch Preparation towards maintaining both our pitches in readiness for season 20/21, plus the Club Preparation for hand sanitising dispensers, deep cleans, signage and other costs associated towards making a safe environment due to COVID 19 and our final payment for Stay in the Game, additionally we are in conversation with Lancashire FA and football foundation to enclose our playing area and update our showers and changing area.

“Due to Covid 19 and the first national lock down we had a great turnout at pre-season training and trained up to three times a week prior to friendlies starting, many thanks to Sam Seasay our coach and assistant manager for taking the sessions, this helped creating a stronger club spirit also helped players being more engaged with our club and an appreciation of the facilities at Old Bedians Sports Centre.

“This has led to us now having a strong committee of players who help out, with cutting marking and maintaining the pitches which is very time consuming especially over the summer growing season when the pitches need cutting every five days.

“We have had a few working parties down at the club cutting the brambles, bushes and tidying up the surrounding areas of the pitches, we actually hired a mini digger for a number of days to assist with this process, we retrieved 15 footballs doing this task, we also have a media manager Liam Hargreaves and he has designed our own website please check it out -https://bediansafc.wixsite.com/home, which is updated regularly when in normal times also we have regular updates on Twitter, Facebook, Google and Instagram.

“We also have a club sponsor SGC Civil Engineering who have bought us two kits and have advertising around the pitch and donated a fantastic raffle prize season 2019 of four executive seats and a meal at Old Trafford for a home fixture over the Christmas holidays, unfortunately this season due to restrictions we could not replicate.

“We have now had a donation from one of our players of a pool table which will be recovered also have purchased a few new TV’s to keep players at the club after the game all players receive a club Polo Shirt and Tracksuit top for match days.

 “For the future -We have started a project with Cheadle and Gatley Junior football club who have 53 teams and over 650 members to play junior football which we hope will lead these children into adult football on Saturday at present we have an under-13s and 15s team at Bedians, C&G JFC  have invested in two new sets of goalposts for junior and adult football and the aim is to become a strategic partner and have teams playing Saturday and Sunday at Bedians to continue the investment in the facility and continue the journey into the coming decades.

“We are always looking for new players from the local community however we have people from all over Manchester, Julian Patterson who has played for Bedians since he was 16 -I won’t tell you how old he is now but he is still the fastest player in the club and travels from Stone in Staffordshire for all games and training, everybody is given a warm welcome and asked to join us for a drink in normal times.

“We have some great nights out and our Christmas night out is well attended every year, with players from past and present, we are a very diverse bunch from different cultures and backgrounds that work in different businesses from Banking, Recruitment, Building trades, Retail, teaching, an Osteopath and too many other fields to mention are only criteria is everyone has to get on and enjoy themselves.

“Our biggest drawback is funding as we own our own ground and have to pay for its upkeep and maintenance it is an expensive place to play sport and before a ball is kicked in anger it costs us about £6,000.00 before a ball is kicked to pay for pitch repairs, marking and contributions to the sport centre, we are always looking for sponsors and volunteers if you are interested please get in touch through our website and we will get back to you asap.”