*The Predictor League for Stockport is open. Enter your team HERE. Deadline is Monday at 6pm. If you’ve already chosen Haller or Snodgrass you way want to edit your entry!”
This Week West Ham travel North to play against Stockport County in the FA Cup on Monday night. My mother’s family hail from there so obviously I know a little bit about Stockport County: my classmate’s uncle, Les Bradd turned out for them for a few years at the back end of the 1970’s. I know that the great George Best played a few games for them after he walked away from Man Utd, and of course we all know that Stockport County provides the answer to the Trivial Pursuits question: ‘Which Football Club is located closest to the River Mersey?’ Ahead of the game I chatted to my cousin, hardcore County fan, Alan Dakin to him for his thoughts about the game, and football at the other end of the professional game from the Premier League.
Hi Alan, Stockport is one of those teams that hung around the bottom two Leagues for years, but now you’re one of those ex-Football League clubs that are trying to get back in. How is that struggle going,?I know you’ve had a few changes of ownership as well as ground issues?
FIrst your classmate’s uncle is a player people still talk about to this day and is a MASSIVE County Legend, and has his own chant still to this day ….. “Les Bradd….scored a hat trick trick at Barnsley” (repeat) simple as that: 4-1 down at Barnsley with less than 10 mins to play, with fans leaving the ground and some already in their cars on the way home. You guessed it Les scored a hat trick to make it an incredible comeback to draw 4-4!
Getting back into the football league is still a struggle since we dropped out in 2011, many thought we would bounce straight back and would not be in the Conference long…..they were right, we got relegated again into the Conference North and turned part time. It then took us 6 years to get back to the Conference by winning the North title in 2019. But we have a harder job to get promotion again as there a lot of big ex league clubs with us, all trying to do the same. We have had a few people running the club during the bad days, most them ****ing half witted morons, but once we had people running the club who were County through and through, and knew what is was to be a fan, things slowly started to turn round and included bringing Jim back as manager (for a third time).
As for the ground, this now owned by the council and leased to us, after the council purchased it off the former owner who had moved Sales Sharks (Egg Chasers) to Edgeley Park years earlier, and we become their tenants. Thank God they have gone and we have the ground back as a football ground.
West Ham fans tend to get upset if we don’t get into the top half of the League, or that we’ve got to walk a mile to a ground we don’t really love to watch our team. What upsets Stockport County fans the most?
Not being in the Football League is a little upsetting, but what gets me is being patronized by supporters of so called big Premier league clubs…….I started supporting County (over 35 years ago) because they are my local team, not because we are in the top division, that is too easy, we are not sheep.
I see that your old ‘fan favourite’ Jim Gannon is your manager again: didn’t I read that the fans at one point demanded he be reinstated?
When it comes to the Manager there is no one who has done a better job than Jim in the last, how many years. Many have tried and failed (most miserably).
Jim IS Stockport County he gets what it is to be a County fan, he is a County fan. How many Managers have 3 spells at the same club as manager and keep returning? He has County in his blood.
West Ham fans will sympathise with you as to your ownership issues. Do the fans still own the club, or have you managed to get a rich benefactor to come in?
The ownership of the club was with the Fans Trust but that went tits up after 2008, when we went into admin and as stated previously we had a succession of idiots in charge and were as close as you can be to going out of existence. A very scary time as a supporter! But as of early 2020 we have been bought by a local business man called Mike Stott who has got plans to get us, not just back into the football league, but to the Championship and has so far delivered on what he has said, with the massive improvements to the ground and we now actually have our own training ground, not a local school. But with the current climate we are yet to see these in person only virtual tours.
On the playing front we returned back to being full time and money has been made available to bring in players to make that push back up. Money that are have not had for many many years: some might say never really had. I hope that we don’t just start buying anyone, like previous teams have tried to do and buy their way through the leagues, we need to build a legacy for the future and invest all the way throughout the club from top to bottom. Something that we have slowly been doing.
All clubs have suffered through Covid, but I expect at the level Stockport are playing the suffering is a bit more acute: how are you coping with the crisis?
As the new owner took charge just before Covid struck he has still gone ahead with ground improvements and we are a lot better of than most, but I dread to think what situation we would be in if it this was a couple of years ago, when we were struggling in the Conference North…..Very Scary
Another thing I remember about Stockport is they used to play on a Friday night to avoid the competition with your close rivals up the A6 in Manchester. Did that still apply (until Covid intervened)?
‘Friday night is County night!’ is a thing of the past. We have a fantastic fan base, all you need to do is look at the crowds we were getting compared to clubs in Leagues 1 and 2. And the away support is on another level, the Conference North Clubs will be missing the money we would bring in with the crowds. Who care about the clubs up the A6. WE ARE COUNTY.
I know that West Ham have played Stockport County twice (three including replay) during my lifetime (and not won) the last time in ’96 when I was conveniently living in Jamaica, and managed to avoid the ignominy. Did you go to the game, and if so what memories do you have of the occasion?
Who can forget the that night in 1996, and yes I was there and I remember the atmosphere being electric and we knew we had a chance with the form we were in. The fans had a feeling that an upset was on the cards as that season we feared no one, and had a tremendous team and it was a Team.The weather was bloody awful with non stop rain but we played our normal game and the goal from Iain Dowie (OG) has gone down in County history. It was a brilliant header.
We all went mental then suddenly looked at each other thinking …..‘Did he really just do that?’ Then: ’Sod it! Who cares!
He was a great header of the ball! Which of your players are most likely to cause us problems on Monday night?
If on form then John Rooney could be the player to look out for, can blow hot and cold but has a good goalscoring record this season…. you never know in a game like this.
How can we expect you to line up against West Ham on Monday? Players/formation please.
You never can tell what team Jim will put out, he always keeps us guessing.
But if on form then John Rooney could be the player to look out for, can blow hot and cold but has a good goalscoring record this season, you never know in a game like this.
On formation he will also keep us guessing until we see the team, then we might have a idea, as Jim likes to mix and match, could be 3 4 2 1, then change it….Who knows?
Finally are you confident of victory? Prediction for score please?
I don’t take a lot of notice when Premiership games are on unless my wife Fiona is watching the Faded Blues from up the A6. But with the money and squad you have, you should cause us problems, but will they like playing up north on a cold Monday night? I don’t care who puts on the Shirt of County as long as they know what it means to wear it and play with pride and realise what an honour it is to wear the Blue and White and remember it is a Team game, so no social loafers. (Long running joke from a description of players that Jim took over in his 2nd spell as manager, from Deitmar Hamman……yes that Deitmar Hamman).
Predictions …….If you play the kids then we have a slim chance, but you should still win, so as we long as we don’t disgrace ourselves. So Hammers to shade it 2-1. (I’m normally wrong). Just look what Chorley did to Derby…….you never know what happens in the Cup.
Well many thanks to Alan for his thoughts, it’s always interesting to get a different perspective of the game. We think we’ve got it bad! I have to commend him on his optimism as well, as I think that we should run out easy victors, but so as not to tempt the footall gods to punsh me for my hubris, I’m only going for 0 – 3 to West Ham. COYI