Stalybridge Celtic F.C.
|Full name||Stalybridge Celtic Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||'Bridge, The Celts, Celtic, The Badgers,|
|Founded||1909 (possibly 1906)|
|Ground||Bower Fold, Stalybridge|
|Capacity||6,500 (1,300 seated|
|2012–13||Conference North, 13th|
Stalybridge Celtic Football Club is an English football club based in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester. The club participates in the Conference North, the sixth tier of English football. The team traditionally plays in a blue and white strip. The team plays its home matches at Bower Fold.
In 1921 Stalybridge Celtic became a founder member of the Football League's Third Division North. But after only two seasons in the new league, they became the first club to leave the new division.
The club's formation is usually given as 1909. However, it may have been as early as 1906 when an amateur club with the same name was formed. There were players called Storrs and Manwood who played in the 1906 and 1909 teams, and a player called Rhodes who played in the amateur's first game; a Herbert Rhodes was a significant benefactor of the 'later' Celtic.1
The club played for two seasons in the Lancashire and Cheshire Amateur League, before turning professional and joining the Lancashire Combination becoming second division champions at the first attempt. They followed it up with a fourth place and runners up spot in the Central League. In an attempt to progress the club joined the Southern League. The club rejoined the Central League for the 1919–20 season and in 1921 became one of the founder members of the Football League's Third Division North. However the club resigned after two years. Most assume they resigned due to financial difficulties but the truth is that the Club felt they could not attract enough support to justify a League side. Interestingly they attracted an average of 5,480 in 1922 – almost 2,000 more than Rochdale.2:172–178 The full Celtic story in the League is detailed in Manchester A Football History where Celtic are given the same level of analysis and research as the Manchester region's other sides.2
They joined the Cheshire County League remaining members for 60 years and winning the title only once in 1980. With the league's merger with the Lancashire Combination in 1982, they became founder members of the North West Counties League, winning the title in 1984 and 1987, with the latter triumph resulting in them being promoted to the Northern Premier League (NPL). After five years the club won the title and was promoted to the Football Conference. However in 1998 the club was relegated back to the NPL after finishing bottom.
In 2002, the club had one of the best seasons in its history, achieving a treble of the Cheshire Senior Cup, the Presidents Cup and the Northern Premier League Premier Division, thus being promoted back to the Football Conference (though they were relegated after only one season). When the conference added a second level for the 2004–5 season, the club became one of the founders of the new Conference North where they have remained to date. Until the end of 2006–07 season the manager was John Reed, who had extensive experience as a manager in English non-league football, including three successful seasons as manager of Harrogate Town. Northern Nomads ground-shared with The Celts for several years. On 30 May 2007 Steve Burr was appointed as a manager.
The 2007–08 season was one of the best in recent times; after finishing 18th the previous year, a third place finish in the league meant a promotion opportunity to the Conference National was presented via the play-offs. After reaching the final, Stalybridge were denied after a 1–0 defeat to Barrow. The club continued to finish around mid table in the next three seasons; in the 2011–12 season, they were a huge contender for a promotion place as late as February before a poor set of results saw their hopes slip away towards the end of the season, finishing sixth in total, just below the last playoff place.
There has been a ground at Bower Fold since 1906. The current main stand was built in 1996, with the covered stand at the Town End (The Joe Jackson Stand) dating from 1994. The main stand, replaced a wooden one dating from 1909, which held 500 fans, before being converted to tip-up seating with a reduced capacity of around 400 persons. The Lord Pendry Stand opened in 2004, replacing a covered terrace dating from the 1950s. The Mottram End cover stems from construction starting in the 1970s and finishing in the mid '80s. The main stand, holding about 700 people, is all seated. Its opposite stand, The Lord Pendry stand has 652 seats.
It is possible for the ground to be segregated with self-contained areas which include separate turnstiles, refreshment facilities and toilets (though this is rarely necessary). The away fans' area in this case is uncovered. The next area (clockwise from the away fans' area) around the ground is the Lockwood and Greenwood stand which is a covered standing area. This area is popular with home fans when Stalybridge are kicking towards this goal. Next is an uncovered standing area, followed by the Lord Tom Pendry Stand (a seated area) with a capacity of approximately three hundred. Next is a small uncovered area followed by the covered Joe Jackson stand. The Club shop and bar are behind this stand. Away fans are allowed to use the bar and there is no admission charge. Next are the main turnstiles, refreshment facilities and disabled spectators' area.
The ground's capacity of approximately 6,500 has not been reached recently. The attendance was nearly 4,000 when Chester visited. The Northern Premier League attendance record was broken when Stalybridge faced Emley towards the end of the 2000–01 season, when 3,500 attended. As of 1 January 2011 however, the Northern Premier League record attendance stands at 4,023 for the clash between F.C. Halifax Town and F.C. United of Manchester.
- As of 08 October 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|First Team Coach||Alan Keeling|
|Kit Manager||Mark Storah|
- Challenge Shield – 1955, 1978
- Cheshire County League – 1980
- Cheshire County League Cup – 1922
- Cheshire Senior Cup – 1953, 2001
- Edward Case Cup – 1978
- Intermediate Cup – 1958, 1969
- Lancashire Combination Division Two – 1912
- Lancashire Floodlit Cup – 1989
- Manchester Senior Cup – 1923
- North West Counties League – 1984, 1987
- North West Counties Super Cup – 1984
- Northern Premier League – 1991–92, 2000–01
- Northern Premier League Challenge Cup – 1999
- Northern Premier League President's Cup – 2001, 2003
- Peter Swales Shield – 1992