Salford Victoria generously donate kits to Africa

Salford Victoria have set up an annual scheme which sees the club’s kits donated to amateur teams in Africa.

Kits are sent to various rural sub-Saharan communities in Africa that suffer from extreme poverty.

The donations are paid for entirely by the club, who compete in the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL.

Premier Division champions in 2006, and Hellawell Shield victors two years previously, the club left the L&C before returning in 2013, and since then have won titles in four different divisions, and triumphed in the Rhodes Cup.

Before Covid-19 halted all playing activities, Salford Victoria’s first season were enjoying a steady season and were sixth in the top tier, well clear of any relegation trouble.

The second team were fifth in Division Three, with a glimmer of hope of promotion.

But the charitable activity proves that the club is more than just about football; Chris Carney, club chairman, said that the scheme was driven by Chris Lee, who will be managing one of Salford’s teams in 20-21. He was coach at nearby Swinton and one of his players Monday Ozoya, who was born in Nigeria and strong links to back home.

He floated the idea of sending kits back for amateur teams in Africa who unfortunately couldn’t afford to buy them.

Salford were only too happy to step in and have sent the kits they have played in for the last two seasons, and are trying to get other teams involved in the charitable donation. Mr Carney said that AFC Oldham had also shown interest in getting involved.

Andy Rowlandson, AFC Oldham’s Development Officer, said the club has previously donated kits and they were in the process of doing so again before the pandemic put paid to that for the time being.

He said: “We currently have several kits that we would love to donate and I have been in touch with Chris already to arrange details, but due to the current climate, he said to wait until we can sort things out properly.”

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The kits, according to Salford’s chairman, are “open age and unique, and we are thankful to our manufacturer, MG Sportswear for providing the kits.”

In order to ensure there are no costs to the recipients, Salford Victoria deal with all aspects of the finances relating to shipping the shirts across to Africa. Chris Carney added: “The club collect the kits, box them up and send them over. We pay for it, and it’s worth it because as well as helping others, it helps us to get the club’s name known far and wide. I’ve had people contact me from countries including Nigeria and Ghana.”

Mr Carney is a stalwart of amateur football in the area, having spent more than half a century in various roles; from playing at open-age as a 14-year-old , Chris played the game for six decades, while also refereeing, serving league management committees, becoming a youth leader in the Boys’ Brigade and with Salford Youth Service, as well as being a foster carer!

He has been at the heart of all Salford Victoria’s highs – and the occasional lows – with his memorable moments including “cup wins, Rhodes Cup, Gosling Cup, Hellawell Shield, and winning the Aggregate Trophy.”

As for the coming season, Chris says that the appetite for football is as strong as ever, with the club expected to host more teams once the amateur game is back up and running.

He added: “We’ve actually started the process of getting people to sign on. We’ve entered two extra teams, so four in total.”

At the time of writing, 87 players have signed on to play for the club, and all can take pride knowing they’re involved in an organisation that helps others.

Flixton Juniors First doing their bit for the NHS

The players of Lancashire & Cheshire AFL outfit Flixton Juniors First have contributed to the coronavirus outbreak by raising £280 for the NHS.

The open age team have responded admirably to the cancellation of the amateur football season by insisting that rather than returning money that is paid to the club for matchday and training costs, the fees are redirected to this worthy cause.

Flixton were eighth in Division B when the season was halted, and not out of relegation trouble. But the club had put together a four-game unbeaten run in the league to build a five-point cushion between them and the bottom two.

With two games in hand and a much superior goal difference to the sides below, Flixton were well placed to secure survival and had even taken unbeaten league leaders Parrswood Celtic to a penalty shootout in the Whitehead Cup.

However, once it became apparent that the season’s fixtures would not be fulfilled, Flixton’s players displayed their compassion and care for their health service by generously giving their subs to the NHS.

Jordan Casey is the Assistant Manager of Flixton, and also plays for the club; it’s very much a family affair, as the club is managed by his Dad, Shay.

The 28-year-old explained how the club and its players rallied to support the health service.

He said: “We pay a £35 a month standing order which all of the players pay. That covers all our training, all matchdays, referee costs, and everything that comes in that. The lads get training gear, tracksuit tops. Everybody is happy to pay this each month.

“Obviously when coronavirus hit, the league was cancelled about halfway through March, so we thought as a gesture of goodwill to our lads, we’d offer about £20 back, to say we’ve had £15 of training and matches so far, so we thought it’d be a nice bit of goodwill to give them all £20 back.

“One of the lads actually came back straight away and said could we donate his £20 to charity, which we thought was a great idea. So we put a message out to the other lads, and the others said the same, we’ll give it to charity. We agreed on the NHS and it ended up as a £280 donation.”

There’s clearly a deep spirit within the Flixton ranks; although the team have been playing for the club for just two seasons, the players have been together for much longer. The move was also part of the vision of Shay and Jordan to bring players through from junior, right the way to open age football.

Jordan explained: “I’ve been playing open age football for over 10 years now. We started with a local team that we moved straight into from junior football. At the age of 16, there was a group of our u-16 team – about 14 of us – wanted to go open age rather than youth team football. We started as kids in an adult league and it’s something me and my Dad looked to carry on. My brother has just turned 21 and when all his mates turned 16, we took them into open age.

“They played for the team we were playing for at the time, and about four years ago, we moved to Flixton.

“The team we were at didn’t have any junior team, it was a standalone, open age team. We moved to Flixton where a few of the lads, including my younger brother, played there as juniors. It was good for him and my Dad to give back, as an open age team.

“We originally started off on our own as a standalone group of lads just wanting to play football and get into a league and have a bit of a laugh together.

“The club has been great. They have around 28 teams including juniors and women’s team. There are other plans that when the other lads get to 16, they can look at training with open age team or looking at a reserve team, and there are big hopes with the club that we can build it the same way I did 10 years ago.”

And how are the players responding to the challenges of lockdown? Doing their best to remain connected with fellow teammates but, like much of the amateur football community, the absence of games is being felt.

Jordan added: “We have a Whatsapp group with all the lads, trying to keep fit, posting our runs in there, but ultimately we’re just missing football.”

Flixton though, can be proud of its players and their contribution to the NHS in response to the crisis.

Spurley Hey awarded ‘game-changing’ grant

SPURLEY Hey FC have been proud and supportive members of the Lancashire and Cheshire AFL since they joined in 2001 and have fielded up to three open age teams with varying degrees of success over the years.

They are also a very successful junior club and one of their long-term aims has been to develop their own facility at Warth Meadow to a much higher standard.

Their secretary Dave Jameson, who is a Past President of the L&C has a great announcement to make following the successful application for a grant from the Football Foundation.

Dave said: “We are delighted to share the news that Spurley Hey FC have secured a total grant of £20,160 from the Football Foundation for a long-term maintenance programme to improve the pitch facilities at Warth Meadow.

“To secure this investment the club has also committed a total of £10,000 over a ten-year period toward the project.

”This will mean that over the next ten years the club will invest an average spend of £3,000 per year on much-needed pitch improvements at the home of Spurley Hey,”


Club Chairman Lee Preston described the grant as a ‘game-changer’: “The club would like to thank the Football Foundation for its investment into the Warth Meadow investment project, which will breathe a new lease of life into the facility.

“It’s a real reward for the dedicated club volunteers who put in countless hours trying to improve the pitches which at times can be a thankless task.

“This will also help provide a significant improvement to the pitch quality which I know will bring a huge sigh of relief to our teams and coaches who play at Warth Meadow.

“This season’s weather has been one of the worst for many years and for much of the season Warth Meadow has been unplayable, causing a huge frustration for players, parents and coached alike.

“This grant is a real game-changer for the club and sets us on the way to deliver the huge ambitions we have to turn Warth Meadow into a vibrant community football facility for the residents of Stockport. “I would also like to thank the club’s amazing volunteers who have stayed with us through this difficult season and with this investment we can look forward to a brighter future for the club.”

Moston Brook at 50: playing opportunities ‘from cradle to the grave’

L&C AFL caught up with Mike Melia, Chairman of Moston Brook, after the club celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Originally formed in Newton Heath as an old boy’s club, Moston Brook has a rich history of giving game time to people of all ages.

Because of the origins, teams were made up of teachers, former pupils, older pupils, and those of school age who eventually advanced from youth teams to those competing in the L&C.

Though the old school which was responsible for the conveyor belt of players was demolished two decades ago, the burgeoning and vibrant youth setup, comprising of 10 youth teams and a training group, provide ample opportunities for players to go on and compete for one of the four adult teams.

Moston Brook reached its half century in September 2019 and celebrated the occasion a month later with a party that was attended by almost 150 current and former members of the adult teams.

Mike reflected on the enduring legacy of the club. Although its first team is in a relegation battle in Division One this season, Moston Brook has a storied history of success.

The first team is competing in Division One for the third successive season, having finished a respectable sixth last season and as high as fifth in the 2013-14 campaign.

The club tasted championship success in that division in 2008, a golden year for Moston Brook which saw one of the other sides finish top of Division B.

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Moston Brook has also won the Whitehead Cup on two occasions and successfully defended the Hellawell Shield.

But despite this roll-call of honours, Mike’s pride is in the club’s longevity, and the preparation of a production line that means people “could play for life for Moston Brook.”

He said: “From a personal point of view, I am not too bothered about that (honours) and club members might not like me saying it, but it’s a question of keeping people playing football.

“The pleasing aspect really is the longevity of the club and what pleases me most is I go down to training sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. To see the pitch full of kids running around – loads of activity, loads of children and coaches – that pleases me because there are kids enjoying themselves and we are responsible for it.”

Arguably, given the challenges currently facing the amateur game in terms of participation, this is a greater achievement than any honour.

Just this season, the L&C has seen seven teams drop out of its various competitions – some of which have a longer history than Moston Brook.

It highlights how precarious the situation can be.

But Moston Brook cater for players of all ages; sides exist at under-7, under-8, under-9, under-10, under-11, under-12, under-13, and under-14 level, as well as the training group.

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There have been football teams for girls and women, walking football teams, meaning there is an attraction to play, no matter what level you’re at.

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Another innovation that widens the net of talent is the use of one of the four senior teams as a veteran’s team, for players of over 35 years of age, as well as three between the ages of 30-35.

Mike said: “That has attracted players back. Some who played in our first team 12 years ago play for the third team – probably the most successful this season.”

Indeed, the third team have a real chance of putting the icing on the celebration cake by securing a promotion.

Allied to these opportunities is a ferocious work ethic from senior team managers to recruit, youth teams that recruit on the basis of willingness to play the beautiful game, and the “excellent job” of the Treasurer, Charlie MacMillan.

Lifelong friends, Mike and Charlie have played integral roles at Moston Brook since its second year of existence; both are legendary figures at the club for their contributions at all levels of the organisation – a legacy that will endure.

Mike added: “Having four teams isn’t easy, but if I’m looking at why we exist more than others, it’s the fact Charlie does an excellent job and makes life fairly comfortable, with a modest £6 weekly fee for training and the game. “

This ethic, commitment, and openness of adhering to the Moston Brook playing principle of “from the cradle to the grave,” is why its history is enshrined into 50 years, with many chapters yet to write. 

League show support for Anti-Discrimination Policy

THE L&C have received praise for their active support of the Anti-Discrimination Policy from a wide number of sources and this was supported by the players of Village Manchester and Chadderton Cott before their Division Three game as players and league officials got together to display banners for Football v Homophobia.

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The busy programme of league and cup matches were delighted to miss the oncoming Storm Ciara and get some vital games under their belts.

Rhodes Cup sponsored by GP Property Management

In the Rhodes Cup there were two excellent and close encounters with the top one seeing Premier Division high-fliers Abacus Media and Waterloo go to the wire with Waterloo going through 2-1.

It was even closer in the other game with Division One pace-setters Radclyffe hosting Urmston Town Juniors.

A thrilling game ended locked at 4-4 and Radclyffe edged the penalty shoot out by 4-3 and await their next opponents in the quarter-finals while Waterloo will visit South Manchester.

Wray Cup

There were also two games in the Wray Cup and Hadfield Athletic were taken all the way by Aldermere.

After sharing four goals Hadfield won through 3-2 on penalties and now visit Chadderton Park in the next round.

Oldham Vics have been enjoying a hot run of form in recent weeks and they kept up the momentum as they moved in to the quarter finals with a breathless 6-5 win at Elton Lib Hargreaves to book a tie against North Walkden.

Whitehead Cup

In the Whitehead Cup, Salford Storm provided probably the shock of the day as the Division A basement team pulled off an amazing 4-1 win over promotion hunting Old Stretfordians seconds

Joining them in the next round are Parrs Wood Celtic with the Division B leaders dispatching Division A side Waterloo reserves with a comfortable 3-0 victory and now host Mellor thirds in the quarter finals. Storm will entertain Bury Ams reserves.

Hellawell Shield

Just one game in the Hellawell Shield and a close game was edged by Moston Brook thirds over Bury Ams thirds by 2-1 to book a quarter-final tie against Division C high-fliers Irlam Tiger Rangers.

Premier Division

In the Premier Division basement team Milton showed how they have reached the semi-finals of the Lancashire Amateur Cup holding runaway leaders Whalley Range to a 1-1 draw.

The other relegation dogfight match saw Trafford United climb off the bottom with a 2-0 derby win at South Manchester.

Dom Doyle were 3-1 winners at Mellor to stay in the top half of the table.

Salford Vics and High Lane shared four goals in a game where the high winds made for difficult playing conditions.

High Lane took the lead midway through the second half, then like buses where you wait an hour with nothing happening, two goals came along in a short time as a Josh Lawman’s curling dipping 30 yard shoot flew in the top corner and five minutes later Pete Potts climbed above the defence to head home MoM Jono Hayes’ cross to put Vics 2-1 up.

High Lane scored a deserved equaliser with five minutes to go as both teams went for the win but time ran out for them with a draw being a deserved result in a game very well refereed by Mike Crump.

Division One

In Division One AFC Oldham took advantage of leaders Radclyffe being in cup action as they cruised to a 5-0 win over Moston Brook to move three points clear at the top.

Irlam Tigers are firmly in the mix with games in hand on the top two and they had few problems in accounting for Bury Ams by 6-0.

Newton showed great defensive quality in a 1-0 win over Manchester Polonia and Signol OB kept Old Strets at the foot of the table with a 3-1 win.

Division Two

The chasing pack are closing in on Division Two leaders Dukinfield Athletic with Stoconians winning 7-0 at Chorltonians reserves to move within six points of Athletic with a massive six games in hand.

North Walkden are just a point behind Stoconians having played the same number of games as they accounted for South Manchester reserves 7-2.

Rochdalians reserves climbed off the foot of the table with a 5-2 win over Mellor reserves and Santos enjoyed a 4-2 mid-table win over Bedians.

Division Three

In Division Three leaders Chadderton Cott showed their title intent with a comfortable 7-1 win at Village Manchester but Signol Athletic stay on their heels with a 5-0 romp at Hooley Bridge Celtic.

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Denton Town reserves bounced back after some recent defeats to win 6-2 at Milton reserves but Stoconians seconds had to work hard for a 2-1 win at Abacus Media reserves.

Division A

With Division A leaders Old Strets seconds in cup action the race for the top spot intensified as Wythenshawe Wanderers had Jamie Johnson, Connor Whalen, Mark Lucas and Euen Fallon sharing the goals in a 5-0 win over Rochdale Galaxy and AFC Stockport beat AFC Oldham reserves 3-0.

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The other games produced victories for Trafford United reserves by 2-1 at Deans and Dukinfield Athletic reserves by 3-1 over Moston Brook reserves.

Division B

With Division B’s top two teams in cup action Chadderton Cott reserves missed their chance to close the gap as they were beaten 3-1 at Spurley Hey reserves.

Hillgate had a good win at Chorltonians Athletic inspired by early goals from Sam Dugdale and Mitch Williams to go on and win 6-1.

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Flixton JFC were also in the goals as they enjoyed a 4-0 win at AFC Oldham thirds.

Old Strets thirds just made it with a 2-1 win over Stoconians thirds and in another close game Heaton Mersey shared two goals with Bury Ams with Joe Stokes netting for Bury and Warren Dawkins replied for Mersey with young debut referee Nat Dando looking to be a good prospect for the future.

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Division C

In Division C leaders Irlam Tiger Rangers shrugged off their recent dip in form with an exciting 4-3 win at Altrincham Hale.

Second-placed Chadderton Park reserves matched this score at AFC Stockport Warriors and Salford Storm reserves made it a good day for the club walloping Stoconians fourths 7-0.

Staly Lions continued their good run with an efficient 3-0 win over Oldham Vics reserves and Whalley Range reserves were celebrating long and hard after a 3-1 win at Govan Athletic thirds.

Anti Discrimination Update Feb 2020

Update on Respect Standards and Discrimination Reporting

The Lancashire and Cheshire AFL fully supports all initiatives that help to remove discrimination of all kinds from the game. Football is For All and we aim to make everyone; players, officials, spectators and fans feel welcome, safe and respected. We will challenge discrimination by reporting, raising awareness and standing by those affected by such unpleasant behaviour.

The League demands that all our member teams and officials do the same.

We are a Charter Standard League and therefore all our clubs must be Charter Standard certified. As such all clubs automatically have to abide by the Respect Code of Conduct as per below. Point 4 is quite clear on what is expected.

http://www.thefa.com/-/media/thefacom-new/files/get-involved/respect/fa-respect-code-of-conduct-mens.ashx

This update is especially relevant this month, February 2020, as it has been designated a Football v Homophobia month of awareness.

The Lancashire and Cheshire AFL will support any other anti-discriminatory initiatives, and supports improvement of FA processes for dealing with issues when they do occur.

For more information on reporting discrimination and hate crime please contact the league, Alex West at Manchester FA, or staff at LFA, CCFA, or DFA, or visit the following websites.

http://www.thefa.com/get-involved/respect/anti-discrimination

https://www.kickitout.org/

http://www.letsendhatecrime.com/

Hate Crime should be reported to the Police. This week is Hate Crime Awareness Week in Greater Manchester.

ALL County FA’s will have a discipline team email address – eg –discipline@manchesterfa.com ; discipline@lancashirefa.com ; discpline@cheshirefa.com

The FA have just launched more information on how to report discrimination and all County FA’s will have similar announcements to MFA in relation to the FA’s ‘Tell us and we’ll Tackle it campaign.

http://www.manchesterfa.com/news/2020/jan/23/tell-us-campaign-launched

The Lancashire and Cheshire AFL Management Committee

Reminder of L&C’s discrimination policy

We start this week’s update by reminding clubs of the discrimination policy that all must adhere to. Details on where to find this are included below.

  1. The fixture schedule is released up to 8th February. Delayed Cup fixtures have been scheduled, a reminder that after 90 minutes it is straight to penalties and referee fees are shared. For all fixture matters contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. A reminder to reverse fixtures if possible when home pitches are unplayable. Please see the postponement instructions sent via email.
  3. For Irlam Tiger please contact Mike Cartwright on 07810517492 instead of Kenneth Cartwright until further notice.
  4. For Hooley Bridge Celtic contact Alec Gill on 07887367160.
  5. The league’s policy on discrimination was re-issued on Thursday 16th Jan, along with a communication on the subject from MFA. The league also released a statement on the website mid-week. Please ensure all club members are aware of the contents.

League Statement on Discrimination

The Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur Football League is an all inclusive league where all participants are welcome. The league supports the FA in it’s application of Regulations, particularly to discipline. The league will do all it can to assist the FA to minimise bad behaviour, one type of which is discrimination.

The league has it’s own policy on discrimination, which it wrote on it’s own initiative, and that has been re-issued again this season. The league has requested that all clubs pass on the information to all participants. Discriminatory behaviour has no place in football, nor in wider society.

The Lancashire and Cheshire AFL was a founder member of the FA’s Respect project, helping to shape the programme 14 years ago and is still a leading light in promoting Respect.

L&C discrimination policy re-issued

As part of the L&C’s drive to make playing in the league inclusive for all, we have re-issued our policy on discrimination. It is imperative that everybody reads this and is aware of its contents. It is part of this week’s update.

  1. The fixture schedule is released up to 8th February. Delayed Cup fixtures have been scheduled, a reminder that after 90 minutes it is straight to penalties and referee fees are shared. For all fixture matters contact Malcolm Kershaw fixtures@landc.org.uk.
  2. This season we have lost Old Ashtonians, Unicorn, Didsbury, Swinton, Barr Hill, and one team from each from Chorltonians and Spurley Hey. All have been for the same reason, lack of player commitment. If any clubs have found ways of increasing the commitment, please let us know and we’ll share best practice to try to avoid any more casualties.
  3. For Irlam Tiger please contact Mike Cartwright on 07810517492 instead of Kenneth Cartwright until further notice.
  4. For Hooley Bridge Celtic contact Alec Gill on 07887367160.
  5. The league’s policy on discrimination was re-issued on Thursday 16th Jan, along with a communication on the subject from MFA. Please ensure all club members are aware of the contents.

Old Stretfordians Proud Defeat

No football team likes to get hammered 12-1 but a defeat of this size is one of the proudest in the 91-year history of Lancashire and Cheshire League stalwarts Old Stretfordians.

The defeat for Old Stretfordians came in 1966 as part of the World Cup preparations for a very useful Bulgaria team.

David Williams set up the game at Manchester University Playing Fields as a practice match for the Bulgarian team against his Old Stretfordians team prior to their opening World Cup fixture against Brazil, who had a certain player called Pele in their ranks.

The undoubted highlight for Old Stretfordians was a stunning goal on three minutes from Frank Hough with a screaming 25-yarder leaving the Bulgarian keeper totally helpless.

But that was the end of the Old Stretfordians glory as Bulgaria went on to score six goals in each half but it is a game that lived for ever in the memory of the fourteen Old Stretfordians players involved in the game and a great feature of the club’s long history in amateur soccer.

Photo – Newspaper cuttings about the match