Saturday 24 September 2022

West Didsbury & Chorlton - Brookburn Road

West Didsbury & Chorlton FC
Brookburn Road
M21 8FE

Ground Number: 1113
Saturday 24th September 2022
West Didsbury & Chorlton 2-1 Nostell MW
FA Vase 2nd Qualifying Round


The club was formed as Christ Church A.F.C. in 1908 by a local Sunday School Superintendent. They joined the Manchester Alliance League, in which they played until the start of World War 1. For the 1920–21 season, the club changed its name to West Didsbury A.F.C. and joined the Lancashire and Cheshire League. They played at the top level for many years, finishing as runners-up four times. That was as high as they got and there were plenty of ups and downs over the years but the club remained there until 2006, In 1997, they moved to their current ground and in 2003, they changed their name to West Didsbury & Chorlton to reflect this.  They joined the Manchester League in 2006 and in 2010, they finished as runners-up to Bury Amateurs. The following year, they were crowned champions winning promotion to the Premier Division. They'd only stay there for one season as they were elected to the North West Counties League despite only finishing 7th. The 2012/13 season saw them finish 3rd in Division 1 in their debut season, behind  Formby and Abbey Hey. This earned them promotion to the Premier Division. A 5th place finish in 2016 was their best, but by 2019, they had finished second-bottom and were relegated to the regional Division 1 South.  Three seasons were spent here, including two interrupted by the pandemic. Their third, last season, saw them win the title to seal a return to the Premier Division.


The club has made history this season by reaching the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round, their best progress so far.  They've reached the FA Vase 1st Round four times, their most notable season being in 2015. They beat Barton Town Old Boys 2-1 before a thumping 15-1 victory over Dinnington Town. Their run came to an end with a 5-4 defeat to the eventual winners Morpeth Town. Local cup wins include the North West Counties Football League Division One Cup in 2014, the Manchester League Murray Shield in 2008 & 2010, the Rhodes Cup in 1927 & 1970 and the Whitbread Cup in 1997. A number of notable players have played for the club including current Luton winger Carlos Mendes Gomes who is on loan at Fleetwood Town. The strangest though is Housemartins and Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton. Recently, the team have been noted for their celebrity support, including local indie pop band Dutch Uncles, who launched their fourth album O Shudder at a game in 2014. The likes of Marcus Rashford have also been seen at games.

The club is based in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, a suburban area of Manchester, England, three miles southwest of the city centre. It has a population of around 15,000. In the early 19th century bull-baiting, badger-baiting and cockfighting were popular but were outlawed by an Act of Parliament of 1835 and the last bull-baiting in Chorlton is recorded the same year. Prize-fighting, horse and foot racing, and wrestling took place on the meadows and led to disorder. If the forces of law and order appeared participants and spectators could escape across the Mersey into Cheshire and continue their sport. Horse races are said to have been held on land now part of Chorlton Park in the 16th century. Famous former residents include Manchester United legends Matt Busby & George Best, Manchester City's Joe Mercer and the Bee Gees who spent nearly eight years of their childhood living in Keppel Road. Other residents have included locally born actor Warren Clarke who lived in Grindley Avenue, and Freddie Garrity (of Freddie and the Dreamers). Coronation Street actress Doris Speed (Annie Walker) lived in Sibson Road. Harry H. Corbett, of Steptoe and Son fame, started out in the local Conservative Club's Dramatic Society.


Originally, I was supposed to visit West Didsbury & Chorlton a few weeks ago for their FA Cup game against Macclesfield. However, owing to a cock up by National Express, I didn't make my coach. On that day, I was not pleased. I was up at 4.40 am to get to their revised stop, only for the coach not to turn up. I eventually ended up going to Hailsham after killing time in London. Thankfully, National Express saw the error of their ways and gifted me a pair of vouchers for return journeys. This effectively meant that I could go anywhere in the UK for £14 a pop. Having already put some work into researching West Didsbury, I opted to go there when I found they were at home to Nostell Miners Welfare in the FA Vase. It was a few days before that I finally settled on this game. In between, I had revisits to Holmer Green for their 3-1 defeat to Abingdon United in the youth league and then Hanworth Villa for London Samurai Rovers against Wembley in the FA Vase. This is covered elsewhere in this blog but the main talking point that evening was England's defeat to Italy in the Nations League which saw them relegated. In my opinion, an overrated England team in a pointless competition, at least for the bigger teams. Not to mention the World Cup that teams should be boycotting given what goes on in Qatar.
On the day of the game, my alarm went off at 6.40, my usual work time. I had a freshen up, got dressed and had breakfast. Out of the door by 7.15, it was an hour to Milton Keynes coachway in the light morning traffic. This was a bit nicer than getting up two hours earlier and travelling to London. The coach was there in five minutes, ten minutes ahead of schedule. I was hoping for a double seat to myself but had to make do with the back seat, at least with a spare in the middle. Disappointingly, we stopped at Newport Pagnell services within five minutes of me getting on and had to wait for 35 minutes whilst the driver had a deserved break. We got to Manchester on time and I headed to the Marble Arch Inn. A pint of Ross on Wye Thorn Pet Nat was an eye-watering £7.75 but as ever from my favourite cider maker, it was a cracking drop. Well kept by the pub too but with me having tried the other Ross offering, I headed the way of Chorlton to Wetherspoons which I could tell from the app had Black Dragon on. I was also hungry by now and food was cheap there too. I made my way down to the Shudehill Interchange, getting the 1.06 tram to Chorlton. I was installed at the pub by 1.30 and as ever, service was quick and efficient. A pint of Black Dragon, chicken strips and chips were great value at £8.50 too. From there, I decided to walk to the ground. Google maps gave me a bad route and I was able to take a third of the time off the trip by making my own route. I was there by 2.30, paying £6 for entry and £2 for a programme. I'd have bought a drawstring bag too but they were out of stock and the bar had a great range of beer but very little for cider drinkers.
 Hosts West Didsbury & Chorlton were going well in the North West Counties Premier, having won four, drawn three and lost two of their games so far this season. Recent league results included an 8-0 demolition of Longridge Town on their travels and a 2-1 defeat at Northwich Victoria as well as a narrow 1-0 home defeat to Macclesfield in the game I was originally intending on going to. Nostell Miners Welfare meanwhile were struggling a tier below in the Northern Counties East Division 1. They sat 16th, having won three and lost five of their league games so far. In recent games, they'd beaten Staveley Miners Welfare 2-0 but lost 1-0 to Harrogate Railway. The game was fairly level but on 33 minutes, a cross from the right was bundled home to give the hosts the lead. On 51 minutes, it was 2-0, and another fine delivery from the right was headed home from around six yards. The game died down a bit after that but a couple of minutes from time, Tawheed Ahmed who had looked like the visitors' best player pulled a goal back with a tidy run and finish.
 It was a great atmosphere and a sizable crowd for the game. There were also a huge number of friendly dogs, probably the most I've ever seen at a football ground. I can easily see why they get such good support as it's a nice place to visit. The catering was good value. Chicken and ham slice, a Capri sun and a flake came to £4.50. After the game, it was another pleasant walk to the Sale Water Park stop. I spotted a decent-looking ground on the way, belonging to Brooklands Dragons although it looks looked as if it was only used for junior football. Elsewhere, Wycombe had lost 3-1 to Sheffield Wednesday, the third goal happening on my walk I had ten minutes to wait for the tram and needing a few things, I headed to Lidl. There was a queue to get in there surprisingly, but they had most of what I wanted. I was back at the station by 6 and had a can to take the edge off of the journey. My app told me I'd be sober over an hour before getting to MK, one of the drawbacks of getting on late.


BROOKBURN ROAD is a setup that has plenty of character, much like the club that plays there. The only really solid structure is the clubhouse and changing rooms, this has seating in front of it and appears to be from their Manchester League days, a fine venue for that level. Over the years, bits and pieces have been added. A small seated stand next to the clubhouse and a covered standing area at the other end, both of the metal variety. There are also various stalls selling stuff. A good selection of cans for beer drinkers and Magners and Strongbow Dark Fruits for cider fans. Food is a large selection of pies and pasties which are made to be served quickly. There's a decent amount of parking and plenty of tram stops nearby. Chorlton is around a mile away and has several places to eat and drink, including an excellent Wetherspoons.

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