Chorley Football Club
- Town: Chorley, Lancashire
- Founded: 1883
- Ground: Victory Park
- Nicknames: The Magpies
- Colours: White and black vertical striped shirts, black shorts, black socks with white trim
- 2021-22 League: National League North (6th tier)
- Club Website: https://www.chorleyfc.com/
- Club Twitter: @chorleyfc
- Best League Finish: 17th in Football Conference [now the National League] (1988-89)
- Best English FA Cup Result: Fourth Round (2020-21)
- Best English FA Trophy Result: Semi-Finals (1995-96)
- National League North (6th Tier)
- Playoff Winners: 2018-19
- Northern Premier League (7th Tier)
- CHAMPIONS: 1987-88, 2013-14
- Division One Playoff Winners: 2010-11
- Lancashire Combination
- CHAMPIONS: 11 times
- Lancashire League
- CHAMPIONS: 1896-97, 1898-99
- Lancashire FA Trophy
- WINNERS: 18 times
Chorley Football Club are from the southern Lancashire town of Chorley, and currently play in the National League North, which is the sixth tier of the English football pyramid. Founded in 1883, they currently play at the 3700 capacity Victory Park where they have played since 1920. Despite being one of the older clubs within the county, they have never played in the English Football League and have spent the majority of their history within the Lancashire Combination or the Northern Premier League. However, they have played in the highest level of “non-league”, the Football Conference/National League on two separate occasions, playing two seasons between 1988 and 1990, and playing in just the 2019-20 season. Because of the COVID-19 situation, their return back to the National League North was delayed due to the vast majority of the lower leagues within the English football system being cancelled for the 2020-21 season.
To talk about a Lancashire side who currently play in the sixth-tier National League North after suffering relegation from the National League in the 2019-20 season, is the excellent David Preece. David is a Shrewsbury Town and Chorley supporter who also groundhops, and blogs about his journey on his superb blogside “David’s Adventures in Groundhopping“. To find his blogsite and social media accounts, follow the links below:
- Twitter: @DavidJohnPreece
- Website: https://davidsadventuresingroundhopping.wordpress.com/
Q. Who would you say is Chorley’s best player, and coach/manager of all-time, and the reasonings behind the choices?
Paul Mariner [centre-forward who earned 35 caps for England and scored 13 goals between 1977 and 1985] would probably be most Chorley fan’s pick for best-ever player especially with what he went on to achieve in his career. Paul played for us at the beginning of his career before moving on to play for the likes of Plymouth Argyle, Ipswich Town, Arsenal, and Portsmouth to name a handful of his clubs.
As for the manager, personally I’d go with Garry Flitcroft [former Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers midfielder who managed Chorley from 2010 to 2015]. Garry guided the club to the Conference North [now the National League North] where we currently play, and for me, without Garry we would still most likely be in the Northern Premier League.
Q. Who could be regarded as a ‘cult hero’ for the club in both in the past and present squad?
There’s a long list of names, most of whom have played for the club in the last ten years or so. Matt Jansen, Matt Urwin, Andy Teague, James Dean, Sam Ashton, Adam Blakeman, Josh Wilson are some of the players that come to mind. Matt Urwin and Adam Blakeman are still with us, with both well-loved by the Chorley fans.
James “Deano” Dean was a striker, an absolute handful of a target man and a good bloke off of the pitch. Unfortunately Deano passed away recently, news which saddened a significant number of people. Deano’s work rate and passion for football definitely made him stand out as a player, and the many goals he scored for Chorley will certainly be remembered.
Andy Teague also deserves a mention, another talented footballer who is also a great person off of the pitch. Teague was our captain for years, and he certainly led by example. A tough, fierce centre-back, Teague scared the hell out of a lot of opposition players but he also inspired those around him to greater things. Still playing for Lancaster City, and I have to say I wish he was still with us.
Q. Of the current squad, who would you say is the best player at Chorley and why?
We’ve got a few new players in the squad at the moment, and with it being the early stages of the season I’m still waiting for some of the new lads to find their feet. Of the players that have been with is for a while, I have to say that Adam Blakeman is the best player at the club. He’s a constant danger down the left playing usually as a wing-back, and he’s equally good in defence as he is on the attack. Adam also possesses a good throw, and his corner kick and free kick taking abilities are second to none.
Q. Are there any players who you think we should be focusing on for the future – who would you say is the most exciting up & coming talent at the club?
The club has put a lot of time and effort into the youth set-up recently with Andy Preece, former Airbus UK Broughton manager, leading the way. We’ve now got teams ranging from Under 14s all the way to Under 21s, and recently five players from our youth set-up signed contracts with the first team, Lewis Boyd [18-year-old forward], Niall Moran [19-year-old defender], Fenton Reeves [18-year-old midfielder], Harry Scarborough [18-year-old forward], and Josh Stansfield [18-year-old forward], and there’s a good buzz around these lads. The club is definitely focussing on developing young, local lads to come through and in the long-run that approach will pay-off in my opinion.
Out of the five players I’ve named, I believe Harry Scarborough could be the one to watch, but hopefully all five go on to stake claims for first team places.
Q. Who would you regard as Chorley’s biggest or historical rivals?
Our current biggest rivals would be AFC Fylde, which is a rivalry which has history as well. Bamber Bridge are also another historical rival, and a lot of fans, myself included, don’t really like Stockport County. Chester FC are another side disliked by the majority of Chorley fans, stemming from when Chester first reformed.
Q. How would you describe the current state/performance of the club?
We’ve had our issues, including having a former director/board member fleecing the club of a decent amount of money, and as a club we’ve not got a lot of money to take. The recent FA Cup run has helped to soften the blow of Covid-19, and the lack of fans in the ground, but we’ve not got money to burn.
On the pitch, we’re not doing as well as we could be. But then again we’ve only played a few games so far, and the team will need time to get up to speed. Patience is a virtue after all.
Q. Looking at Chorley’s history, what would you say has been the best game, result, or performance in your opinion?
Chorley 1-1 Spennymoor Town (4-3 on penalties), on the 12th of May 2019, The National League North Play-Off Final. As well as being the game which saw us promoted to the National League for the 2019/2020 season, this was also a bit of revenge. A few weeks earlier, Spennymoor had beaten us 1-0 at their place with a 90th minute goal which ended our chances of automatic promotion and saw Stockport crowned as champions. The match itself was a tense one, and the penalties were nerve-wracking, but we held our nerve and won them.
I could have also said the Chorley 2-0 Stockport County game, which took place on the 20th of April 2019 and briefly put us into the driving seat of the promotion chase, but beating Spennymoor and gaining revenge has to take top spot.
Q. Do you have a favourite or iconic shirt from the history of the club?
Home kit wise we have always played in black and white stripes, except for during the 2020/21 season where we wore an all white shirt but let’s not talk about that, so there really hasn’t been much variation in the home shirts and as a result I can’t really pick a favourite.
As for away shirts, I’d have to say the pink “Twincess” shirt we wore as a third shirt one year, I can’t remember when exactly. Twincess is a charitable trust set up by a former Chorley player, Matt Parry, in aid of his twin daughters who were both born with Down Syndrome. The shirt itself was a bright pink, and had the names of all those who had sponsored the shirt on it. As for why I love this shirt in particular I have to say that it was simply because it was pink and I love a pink football shirt!
Q. What are the best and worst things about being a fan of ‘The Magpies‘?
Being a smaller team you tend to get to know people around the club, everyone’s friendly, and the club really is a community club. The fans are also brilliant, with a good vocal backing which certainly makes the difference.
The worst thing is the constant talk of the need to move ground. Victory Park has a tonne of potential, but the problem is the cost of realising that potential. We could easily fit a good-sized stand on the Ashby Street side of the ground which currently is underused grass banking, however the soil/material used to build the grass banking is of no use to anyone and isn’t stable enough to build on, and the cost of getting rid of the banking is large. If we had the money, Victory Park could be easily developed into a Football League ready stadium, and it would be at the heart of the community where it should be, but I can see it being cheaper, and therefore preferable, for the club to move to a new out of town ground.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of Chorley FC?
Fan Ownership. We have a really good Supporters’ Trust, and there are hopes that one day the fans will own the club, which is something I would love to see.
On the pitch, I’d be satisfied to see us doing well with a squad of young, local talent.
A massive thanks you to David for answering our questions on football on The Magpies. Remember you can find his social media accounts and blogsite in the links at the top of the blogpage.
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