Enjoy our latest Take 5 as our match reporter and Tweetmeister Gareth Evans uncovers some more interesting facts about Chorley.
1. Off to Victory Park for a mid-weeker. That name has a sweeter sound nowadays!
It does, rather – thanks to our single-goal triumph up there on an October Saturday last season that gave us a first win of any kind against Chorley since 1899!
The success also arrested a more recent trend that had seen us lose twice in Lancashire (and, without wishing to sound ominous, on a Tuesday each time!) after reuniting with the ‘Magpies’ at the beginning of 2014/15 for the first time since our late-19th Century, pre-Football League days.
2. Our two clubs go back a long way, then?
They certainly do. Chorley were initially founded as a rugby outfit – although, having spent eight years from 1875 playing with an oval ball, the club switched to football in 1883, thereby sharing County’s year of birth.
For 1894/95, County and Chorley were not only simultaneously admitted to the Lancashire League (from The Combination and the Lancashire Alliance, respectively), but were also paired with each other for their opening fixture that ended two-apiece at our former Green Lane ground. The Mag-pies were to draw first blood in the title-winning stakes – finishing as champions in 1896/97 and 1898/99 – but failed in a bid to join the Football League on the latter occasion, before the Hatters topped the table the following season and were elected to join Division Two in 1900.
3. And that brought about a parting of the ways for 114 years?
Indeed it did. While the Hatters made themselves at home in the FL – except during 1904/05, when they dropped out for a season but did not see their path cross with Chorley’s – the black-and-white-striped-shirted Magpies joined the Lancashire Combination (which was formed from the Lancashire League) in 1903, and stayed there for 65 years, winning the title on 11 occasions.
They were then founder members of the Northern Premier League for 1968/69, and since then, ahead of gaining automatic promotion to the National League North three seasons ago, have spent the majority of their time at one level or another of the NPL – save for a decade in the Cheshire League (1972-82) and a couple of years in the top-tier Conference (1988-90).
4. We have a few former Magpies in our ranks now. Has anyone else played for both clubs?
I thought you would never ask – although you will soon wish you hadn’t! The list is extraordinarily long, and probably not exhaustive – but here goes… Dan Cowan, Chris Smalley, Darren
Stephenson and Harry Winter all once plied their trade for Chorley, while ex-Hatter Delial Brewster may face us in the visiting attack this time around. Players to have previously turned out for both clubs as non-league outfits include (deep breath…) Chris Blackburn, Max Cartwright, Kieran Char-nock, Cameron Darkwah, Micah Evans, Tom Field, Sefton Gonzales, Kyle Jacobs, Alex Kenyon, Danny Lloyd, Alex Meaney, Courtney Meppen-Walters, Mark Ross and Sam Sheridan.
There are some familiar characters harking back to our Football League days that feature on the list, too. Andy Kilner, Neil Matthews, Mark Payne and record-appearance-holder Andy Thorpe – all from the Bergara era – are among them, as are: Louis Barnes, Kevin Ellison, Danny Pilkington and Lloyd Rigby (2000s); Tony Caldwell, Barry Diamond, Mike Lester, Paul Lodge, Frank Worthington and one-time County Youth midfielder Karl Marginson (1980s); Tommy Bell (1950s); and Fred Broadhurst and Billy Hayes (1920s). Former County goalkeeping coach Dave Felgate (2006-09) had also previously played a game between the sticks for Chorley in 2004 – but, to be honest, I stopped counting at 35 names!
5. So, will it be ‘one for sorrow’ or ‘two for joy’ on Tuesday night?
Tricky one. With both clubs still striving to secure play-off places, it looks set to be a tight affair and difficult to predict. But, continuing the song, of one thing we can be definite: ‘five for silver, six for gold, we’ll Chorley get something if we play it bold’! Well, possibly…