Thursday, 10 October 2019

Droylsden - The Butchers Arms

Droylsden FC
The Butchers Arms
Market Street
M43 7AY

0161 370 1426
Official Website

Ground Number: 885
Tuesday 19th March 2019
Droylsden 1-0 Ashton United
Manchester Premier Cup


The club was established in 1892 by Joseph Cropper, landlord of the Butchers Arms Pub from which their home ground takes its name. They spent their early days in local leagues such as the Ashton & District and Manchester League, Cheshire League & Lancashire Combination. In 1982 they became founder members of the North West Counties League, starting in the second tier. Finishes were mixed here but by 1987 they were champions. Rather than being promoted to Division 1 they were invited to join the NPL Division 1. The coped with the step up well and were champions by 1990, earning promotion to the NPL Premier. Their first spell here saw them struggle with a high of 13th in their first season before being relegated in 1996. By 1999 Droylsden were champions again and this time they were a lot more successful in the NPL Premier. A runners-up spot behind Hucknall Town in 2004 saw them admitted to the newly-formed Conference North. A series of top 4 finishes culminated in them finishing as champions in 2007. Promotion to the Conference North followed with Droylsden surviving just one season in the Conference National where they finished bottom. The first four seasons back in the Conference saw top-half finishes but the 2012/13 saw financial difficulties and a second-bottom finish. The issues worsened the following season in the NPL Premier with the side finishing bottom, conceding 182 goals and gaining just 9 points all season. From 2012 until 2018, they were in the NPL D1 North, with mainly mid-table finishes. This has continued with the switch to the West Division, Droylsden sitting 11th at the start of play.

Droylsden have reached the FA Cup 2nd round on three occasions.  In 1978 they defeated Football League side Rochdale on a long run but ended up losing 2-0 at Altrincham. Thirty years later they actually beat Chesterfield 2-1 in a replay after the original game finished 2-2. However, they were thrown out of the cup due to their two-goal scorer Sean Newton playing while he was supposed to be serving a suspension. This was the culmination of a four-game marathon with two games being abandoned due to fog and floodlight failure and the original game seeing Droylsden being allowed to walk the ball into the net after Chesterfield had scored after Droylsden had kicked the ball out so an injured player could receive treatment. The FA Trophy (twice) and FA Vase 3rd Rounds have also been reached. Local cup wins include the NPL Division 1 Cup (1999), NPL Challenge Cup (2004), NPL Presidents Cup (1999), Manchester Junior Cup (1923), Manchester Senior Cup (three times) and the Manchester Premier Cup (on twelve occasions). The town of Droylsden itself has a population of 22,689 and was once part of Manchester. It produced the first woven tea towel - the Terry Towel in 1851 and was also one of the birthplace of Speedway as the first meeting was held in the town back in June 1927. 


Droylsden was a ground that I’d fancied visiting for ages, having popped in to get pictures before a Wycombe game at Bury some years ago. I’d planned to visit in March with fellow hopper Chris, but his train back from Devon was severely delayed and so I went to Brockenhurst instead. Having already started my blog though, I was keen to get it ticked. Chris didn’t fancy the late night before work in the morning, so I looked into doing it on my own. Bargain travel was secured with National Express, the return coming in at under £15 despite only booking Saturday evening. A lot cheaper than the exorbitant train prices. The accommodation was a bit trickier, the cheaper end of the market tend to have dreadful reviews. Really I should have realised that after a few pints I’d not give a monkeys but in the end, I secured a bed in a newly opened place around 4 miles out of town at £25 for the night. With travel in and around London and Manchester added, as well as getting to the station, the total costs were around £65 for what I hoped would be three games.

I’d set my alarm for 7 am on the train, figuring that I’d need to catch a train between 8 and 8.30 to make my coach. Typically for me, after stopping at Tesco and driving to Chalfont, I got the last possible train. Despite the so-called ‘fast train’ making several stops for safety reasons, a few trains later I was at Victoria. It was around 10 minutes walk to the coach station and I was at my departure point with 15 minutes to spare. The coach departed on time and I was pleased to bag a double seat to myself, as had pretty much every passenger. It was a slow journey out of London with an unexpected stop at Golders Green where a couple of stragglers got on. I pretended to be asleep which ensured that I didn’t have to share a seat with anyone. Good progress was made on the journey once we hit the motorway until we stopped at Norton Canes Services, thankfully only a stop to buy a toll pass and for a driver change. To pass the long journey, I keep up to date on social media, read ‘The Card’ - a book about a Chester fan doing every single game in the 2016/17 season and listening to a number of podcasts.


Happily, we arrived into Manchester ten ahead of schedule with no sign yet of the forecast rain. I make my way through Manchester where I pop into Cash Generator where there are a couple of things I fancy, but can't be bothered to lug around for the next couple of days. I then head to the Crown and Kettle, which turns out to be a great pub and on my bus route to boot. Pints of Moss Cider All In Hand and Ross 2017 Oak Cask were enjoyed in this pleasant venue, but even with no check-in details provided as promised, I headed towards my accommodation. I was there by 4.30 and after communications with the owner, made more difficult by the road noise, I was in. Basic but clean accommodation was provided, though it was a bit out of town. At 5, it was back into Manchester and then onto Droylsden. The Silly Country was an exceptional Micropub where three new ciders in half-pints were tried in a convivial atmosphere. To the ground I headed, stopping for samosas and chips at a local takeaway. £8 was a reasonable entry fee and I was hoping to write a bit about the game. But it was very disappointing, a scuffed own goal by Simon Woodford deciding the game in Droylsden’s favour. On the balance of play, they deserved it though. Little to write home about and so underwhelmed by the game, I was back at my room by 11. Slightly beneficial health-wise, but not the night out that I’d envisaged.


The Butchers Arms is a smart and tidy ground with cover on three sides. The seated stand offers great views and holds around 500 whilst there is covered terracing along one side and behind one goal, capacity of around 1500. The ground holds 3000 in total. There’s a spacious bar, though I didn’t try out any of the facilities. With the town being close by, there’s plenty of choice food and drink wise. The pick of which is the excellent Silly Country with a wide range of real ales and ciders.

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