Into the Archives!

Reminiscing & season 06-07 without Harwood

Time for a personal look back on my time watching the Robins.

Everyone else has had a chance to put in their ‘three penneth’ but no one has taken up my offer. In which case, you’ll just have to put up with my ramblings.

Most exciting game - This is quite an easy choice, Harwood 6 Holker Old Boys 7. 2-0 up early on, 5-2 down before half time, 6-3 down with time running out, 6-6 into injury time and hit on the break as we went for the kill.

Best goal - How do you choose one after seeing so many? Two players in particular scored umpteen fantastic goals for the Robins over the past few years, Matt Derbyshire and John Eastham. One of Matt’s that stands out was his first at Nelson in a cup game about four years ago where he lifted the ball over a defender with one foot and volleyed it into the top corner with his other. Eastie has hit so many long range efforts over the past few seasons that only Bobby Charlton could be compared to him. You’d need a three hour DVD showing all of his goals to decide so I’ll just have to pick a couple of his last ones. His first strike at Daisy Hill in 2006 where he received the ball 50 yards out by the touchline, beat several players before letting loose with a ‘cannonball’ shot which ended up in the top corner. His final goal for Harwood came in the final game of that season when, with the Robins struggling to break through a nine man Eccleshall defence, he brilliantly controlled an awkward bouncing ball on the edge of the box and hammered an unstoppable left foot thunderbolt which crashed off the bar and bounced down just over the line.

Most disappointing game - We’ve seen some rubbish over the years and we’ve had a few hammerings, none more so than at Seaham Red Star in the FA Cup a few years ago. The money generated from a good cup run is invaluable to clubs at our level but the players showed a complete lack of interest on their way to an embarrassing 7-0 defeat.

Highlights - The two ATS cup finals were great evenings. Roly Howard’s Marine resorted to kicking us off the pitch at Victory Park Chorley as we outclassed our lofty opponents. Despite the 1-0 defeat we came away with our heads held high. The next final was held at Burnden Park Bolton and another great performance saw us defeat ex-League club Southport 3-2. That period when Eric Whalley was the manager was undoubtedly the high point of the club’s history. Another game which will never be forgotten was last seasons 1-0 win at FC United before a staggering 6,000 fans. Bobby Harris’ penalty saves in both cup and league games will ensure that he enjoys legend status at GHTFC.

Low points - Many low points including several seven goal thrashings and even eight on one occasion. One of the biggest disappointments was the apathy of the town’s population. Not too many tears shed in Harwood the day that the club folded. I think that we could have carried on ground-sharing with Darwen even if it meant paying players expenses only.

Best ground - Harrogate Town where we played twice in recent years.

Worst ground - Oldham Town, although since we first played there much work has been done thanks to the hard work of the Oldham officials.

Best player(s) - You can’t pick out just one so I’ll name a few. When I started supporting the Robins the team was full of excellent players and the best was Pete Smith. When he received the ball on the half way line, you half expected goal with ten seconds-and often saw one! He was ably assisted by Paul Baker whose summersault celebrations were the best ever seen on the Showground. Dennis Underwood was a top keeper and was instrumental in Harwood’s success. After that Graham Lightbown‘s goals, many of them spectacular solo efforts, were the only thing that kept the Reds from sinking further down the pyramid. Since the turn of the century two players in particular dominated the Showground, Bobby Harris at one end and John Eastham at the other. Bob proved himself time and time again to be the outstanding keeper in the NWCFL and Eastie stuck by us despite being head-hunted by bigger clubs than Harwood. Matt Derbyshire was the best player to play for the Robins since the days of Clayton, Vernon and Douglas.

Funniest moment - No contest! As I left the Royal Doulton shop before a game at Stone Dominoes, I held the door open for a customer who was entering the premises. The chap was in fact blind and rattled his white stick from side to side as he came through the door. Now you must remember that even an egg cup would set you back a week’s wages and the three lady assistants eyed up their next customer with a look of horror on their faces. As the door closed behind me I could hear the tap-tap-tap of his white stick against the displays and although I scanned the car park for someone with a hidden camera, I couldn’t see one. As I opened the car door there was the sound of breaking crockery followed by a shop assistants shrill cry!
Mind you, the smile was soon wiped off my face as it took a trip to the wrong ground and mystery tour for around twenty miles before I got to the ground just before half time-then we got thrashed 4-0!


    P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Colne FC (C) 38 26 6 6 102 41 84 61
2 Maine Road (P) 38 23 5 10 99 58 74 41
3 Formby FC 38 21 9 8 86 48 72 38
4 Great Harwood Town 38 15 14 9 68 44 59 24
5 Flixton FC 38 16 11 11 76 60 59 16
6 Darwen FC 38 17 11 10 81 67 59 14
7 Ashton Town 38 16 11 11 66 60 59 6
8 Winsford United 38 15 11 12 66 62 56 4
9 Holker Old Boys 38 15 8 15 82 76 53 6
10 Nelson FC 38 14 11 13 55 64 53 -9
11 Leek CSOB 38 14 8 16 72 63 50 9
12 Padiham FC 38 14 8 16 63 80 50 -17
13 Oldham Town 38 13 9 16 69 74 48 -5
14 Blackpool Mechanics 38 13 7 18 45 59 46 -14
15 Norton United 38 11 12 15 66 72 45 -6
16 Cheadle Town 38 12 9 17 55 69 45 -14
17 Eccleshall FC 38 10 14 14 56 65 44 -9
18 Chadderton FC 38 7 11 20 42 63 32 -21
19 Daisy Hill 38 7 10 21 33 82 31 -49
20 Castleton Gabriels 38 6 5 27 53 128 23 -75

An amazing season ended with the Robins finishing just outside the promotion places but a three point deduction for Darwen meant that we were promoted via the ‘back door’. An average season looked to be petering out after a run of five defeats in six games in January and February but a ten match unbeaten run proved to be enough in the end. Leading scorer was John Eastham with 21. John Hughes’ biggest signing, Matt Derbyshire, joined the club and hit 7 goals in the last 5 games. The FA Cup saw two penalty shoot-out victories against Winterton and Crook before Harrogate Town, again, ended our interest.

FINAL LEAGUE TABLE - Season 2004-2005

    P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Fleetwood Town (C) 42 31 6 5 107 42 99 65
2 Newcastle Town 42 28 8 6 94 51 92 43
3 St Helens Town 42 21 13 8 75 48 76 27
4 Curzon Ashton 42 23 7 12 66 45 76 21
5 Ramsbottom United 42 22 9 11 70 47 75 23
6 Skelmersdale United 42 21 11 10 94 57 74 37
7 Alsager Town 42 19 11 12 65 47 68 18
8 Maine Road 42 20 7 15 76 69 67 7
9 Bacup Borough 42 19 8 15 52 47 65 5
10 Colne 42 18 10 14 75 61 64 14
11 Stone Dominoes 42 17 12 13 73 64 63 9
12 Trafford 42 16 8 18 69 59 56 10
13 Glossop North End 42 15 10 17 79 75 55 4
14 Abbey Hey 42 16 6 20 51 69 54 -18
15 Atherton LR 42 14 6 22 64 82 48 -18
16 Nantwich Town 42 12 8 22 71 91 44 -20
17 Squires Gate 42 12 8 22 38 64 44 -26
18 Salford City 42 11 9 22 68 90 42 -22
19 Congleton Town 42 9 7 26 54 88 34 -34
20 Formby 42 8 8 26 47 99 32 -52
21 Atherton Collieries 42 8 7 27 57 102 31 -45
22 Great Harwood Town (-4) 42 8 9 25 48 96 29 -48

Despite a fantastic effort which extended our survival hopes until the final day of the season, a defeat at Curzon Ashton spelled the end of our time in Division One. The average attendance of 91 put us in the top half of the crowd-pulling table. Leading scorers were Paul Mashiter with 11 league goals and John Eastham with 8. No one else managed half a dozen and that was Harwood’s main problem. April saw us go on a terrific run of 5 wins in 8 games but two defeats right at the end sealed our fate. The biggest win was a 5-3 home success against high-flying Stone Dominoes and the heaviest defeat was an embarrassing 8-0 at Salford City.

FINAL LEAGUE TABLE Season 2005-2006

    P W D L F A G/D Pts  
1 FC United (C) 36 27 6 3 111 35 76 87
2 Flixton (P) 36 24 7 5 93 37 56 79
3 Nelson 36 23 5 8 82 53 29 74
4 Winsford United 36 19 8 9 65 41 24 65
5 Padiham 36 19 5 12 76 52 24 62
6 Great Harwood Town 36 18 8 10 51 33 18 62
7 Ashton Town 36 17 7 12 59 57 2 58
8 Norton United 36 13 12 11 45 47 -2 51
9 Blackpool Mechanics 36 13 10 13 48 51 -3 49
10 Oldham Town 36 14 6 16 44 51 -3 48
11 Eccleshall 36 13 7 16 50 64 -14 46
12 New Mills 36 13 7 16 46 62 -16 46
13 Chadderton (-3) 36 13 8 15 51 62 -11 44
14 Cheadle Town (-6) 36 14 6 16 55 53 2 42
15 Holker Old Boys 36 11 8 17 58 74 -16 41
16 Darwen 36 11 2 23 47 61 -14 35
17 Leek CSOB 36 7 7 22 51 82 -31 28
18 Daisy Hill 36 7 6 23 38 75 -37 27
19 Castleton Gabriels (-8) 36 2 3 31 38 122 -84 1

A fine season was capped off with a final five games in which the Robins conceded not a single goal. Apart from a one-off against Nelson, the defence was breeched just five times in its last thirteen outings. John Eastham top scored with 15 league goals-twice as many as anyone else and the average attendance was 114, a figure distorted by the visit of FC United who drew over 1,000 to the Interlink. A record number of away wins (11) was achieved, rewarding our small but loyal travelling support. Biggest league win was 6-0 at Castleton Gabriels and only twice did Harwood lose by more than a single goal. The highlight was a 1-0 win against FC United in front of a record-breaking 6,000+ crowd at Gigg Lane.

It’s the end of the line

Here, we look back on some final day games for the Robins.

23 years ago
1984 – The season ended with doom and gloom as Great Harwood Town seemed destined to quit the NWCFL. Luckily, Blackburn businessman Tom Edmundson stepped in and together with a new board of directors, looked to get the Robins moving onwards and upwards.

22 years ago
1985 - The final NWCFL 2nd Division game of the season took place on May 4th when a single goal was enough to give Wren Rovers the victory. The Sea-siders completed the double having won 3-2 at the Showground in March. Both Harwood goals were scored by Phil Greenhalgh who was the club’s top scorer with 14 league and 6 cup goals. Manager Rick Grogan left in the close season to be replaced by ex-Rovers star Malcolm Darling.

21 years ago
1986 –The campaign didn’t end until the middle of May when 2nd Division champions Kirkby Town won 3-1 at the Showground. Several bookings, two sending offs and a stray sheep on the pitch made it an eventful end to a disappointing season. Harwood’s Eric Geldard was in fact sent off for swearing and ‘slinging’ mud at a linesman who flagged him offside! The previous year’s top scorer, Greenhalgh, had left and the Reds struggled throughout to score many goals. Mark Bennett was the club’s leading scorer with just seven league goals, five of which came in the closing weeks of the season. Better news from the Reserve team who won the NWCFL Reserve Division in their first season. Mind you, that was of little consequence when the Chairman packed up and left to set up home in Spain, leaving the club once more on the brink of resigning from the league. Club spokesman Dave Holden said that 12 months previously, Harwood were ready to drop down into junior football but this time, because of the small number of people interested in helping run the club, it was more likely that they’d fold altogether. Thankfully, a month or so later, they confirmed that they would carry on although the highly successful reserve side was scrapped. Len Hall took over as manager after Malcolm Darling resigned.

19 years ago
1988 – An indifferent season ended with five league defeats in a row the
final one being a 4-3 reverse at Ashton Town. Before that, Harwood lost
three home games in five days and failed to score in any of them!

18 years ago
1989 – A mid-table finish was achieved but things were definitely on the up at the Showground. The final game of the season was a 0-0 home draw against local rivals Darwen. In the team that day were several players who would play vital roles in the emergence of Great Harwood Town as a major force in the local non-league scene, including Paul and Russell Whalley , Clive Dunn, Neil Baron and Paul Baker. Gregory finished as leading scorer with 11 goals. Competing in the NWCFL 2nd Division that season were Accrington Stanley.

17 years ago
1990 – A 1-1 home draw against Newton meant that the Robins ended the campaign with a winless four game run. Even so, the Reds finished just outside the promotion places and also won the 2nd Division Trophy thanks to a 2-1 win against Bacup Borough.

16 years ago
1991 – A Taylor goal was enough to give us victory at Westhoughton Town making it five wins from the final six games. That great finish ensured that we took the 2nd Division Championship with Paul Baker and Pete Smith forming an unstoppable strike partnership. The final six games produced a magnificent 21 goals.

15 years ago
1992 – Unusually, the league season’s fixtures finished in mid-April when a trip to Flixton brought the Robins another three points courtesy of a 1-0 win. 2nd place was secured and promotion was won and the team also went on to win the Lancashire Trophy at Burnden Park when they defeated Southport 3-2. A great treble was achieved when the Floodlit Trophy found its way to the Showground after a 1-0 victory over Bamber Bridge.

14 years ago
1993 – The season ended with a disappointing 3-0 home reverse against Netherfield although Harwood had held their own in their first season in the Unibond League. Things had looked rather bleak earlier on in the campaign as the Robins opened with seven games without a win, but once a Dave Sharples goal had given us our first win, we embarked upon a 14 game unbeaten league run. Pete Smith top scored with 24 goals in all competitions.

13 years ago
1994- Goals from Pete Smith and Paul Whalley gave us a 2-1 win at
Netherfield. Paul Baker top scored with 23. Highlight of the season was a 6-0 win at Fleetwood in the FA Trophy.

12 years ago
1995- Another mid-table finish was achieved as the campaign ended disappointingly with a 4-0 home reverse against Farsley Celtic. An 8-1 home defeat by Caernarfon took a bit of stomaching but we enjoyed some big wins, the best being a 5-1 victory at Harrogate Town. Smithy and Bakes were still scoring for fun with the former regaining his crown thanks to 26 goals.

11 years ago
1996- Another final day defeat, this time away at the hands of Radcliffe Borough, meant that the Robins finished in 19th place. The previous three games had yielded maximum points ensuring our survival in the Unibond League. The loss of Pete Smith proved to be a real burden but thankfully his strike partner Bakes still managed 19 goals.

10 years ago
1997- Ashton United won 2-0 at the Showground on May 3rd but Harwood had improved greatly on the previous season to finish in 9th position. The goals were shared around with Phil Brown netting 18 and fine contributions from Bennett, Paul Brown Whittaker and Raywood as well as the ever reliable Paul Baker.

9 years ago
1998- A dreadful season ended with a 3-2 defeat at home to Worksop but somehow the Robins survived. Just one win in our final ten games proved to be enough. Ged Smith top scored with just 6 league goals.

8 years ago
1999- The final day of another poor season saw us travel to Congleton Town knowing that a win would save us and relegate the hosts but anything less would mean relegation. A run of ten consecutive defeats in the new year made us odds on for the drop but a 2-1 win at Matlock set us off on a great finish to another difficult campaign. The Robins went into the game at Booth Street on a run of 7wins, 4 draws and just 2 defeats, and playing some tremendous football. Despite the early sending off of Paul Whalley, the Robins dominated the game and but for a scandalous display by the three match officials, we would have won comfortably. In the end though we had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw. Martin Horsfield top scored with ten but had his appearances not been cut short by injury, then he would surely have scored many more.


The month kicked off with the Robins sadly missing from the NWCFL fixture list but their place was taken by new teams Runcorn Linnets and Ashton Athletic. The Linnets rose from the ashes of Runcorn Halton FC (Runcorn) and were hoping to have a similar impact to the last ‘fans club’ FC United.
A 4-0 win at Ashton Town was followed by a 5-0 home rout of Castleton Gabriels before a tremendous crowd of 231. By the end of the month the 2nd Division table bore a striking resemblance to last season with Padiham, Blackpool and Winsford in the top six and Holker Castleton and Daisy Hill struggling near the foot.


In the 1st Division, title favourite enjoyed a fine 2-0 at St. Helens before thrashing Nelson 6-0 at Gigg Lane. Needless to say, Bobby Harris was not goalkeeping for the Blues that evening! Not only did F.C. win all three of their games in August, they won their first eight games with a remarkable goal difference of 29-1. Glossop’s Young managed to find the net against them although United were already 4-0 up at that stage.
Atherton LR were beaten 7-0 at home by the Reds but the FA Vase provided some relief when they beat Harwood Old Boys (Ramsbottom United) 3-2 after extra time. With the score at 2-2, and normal time running out, Daz Rogers hit the post. Steve McDonald opened his account for the Rams in the opening day fixture against Atherton Colls and hit two more during the next four league games. Chris Ingham, who made just one appearance for us last term, also got off the mark in Colne’s opening day fixture at Stone Dominoes. His 6th minute effort was the season’s first goal in the NWCL. Richard Fogarty scored for Darwen as they beat Norton 3-1.


Still in August, as FC United were attracting almost 3,000 at Bury, a few miles away Atherton LR drew 17 for their FA Cup clash against Parkgate which Rovers won 5-1. Three days later it was 26 against Formby. A third home win on the spin saw Squires Gate beaten 2-1 before 21 spectators. Thankfully FC United were next up and 1,325 saw LR go down 7-0.



The month began with FA Cup action and Darwen were surprisingly hammered 5-1 at Norton & Stockton Ancients, a side who we thrashed 4-0 on their own ground last season. Clitheroe beat Atherton LR with Jason Jones and James Dean both on target. Deano was having little trouble adapting to a higher level of football and followed up that strike with both goals at Gresley to move the Blues up to 4th place in the Unibond 1st Division.


Back in the NWCL 2nd Division. Blackpool Mechanics were thrown out of the competition after it was discovered that Craig Worthington, the scorer of their 2nd goal against Armthorpe Welfare, was serving a suspension at the time of the game. That mistake proved costly as the prize money for the preliminary round was £500. Norton failed to win any of their first five games and their attendance for their clash with Ashton Town was a paltry 21.


Amazing scenes at West View as the local derby between Bacup Borough and Nelson descended into chaos and was eventually abandoned because of crowd trouble-the crowd being 46! The home side were down to nine men after the opening few minutes and things didn’t get any better as the visitors swept into a 3-0 lead before the referee called time around 15 minutes from the end. Another local derby saw ex-Robin Paul Walker scored a 30-yard screamer as Colne won 3-0 at Ramsbottom. James Dean scored again at Goole with Simon Garner also enjoying a fine start to the season. Neil Zarac continued where he left off last season, scoring goals for Rossendale United. He hit the net four times during the first month of the campaign.


FC United’s great form continued and they finished September with 12 wins from 12 games, an astonishing 46 goals scored and just 5 conceded. The reserve team were also leading the way after 7 wins from 8 games. Not surprisingly, Manchester United still have a bearing on the gates at Gigg Lane, after all, the FC United fans are also Man United supporters, that will never change. While FC were playing Abbey Hey on a Wednesday evening during the middle of the month, Man U were in European action which led to a relatively ‘small’ crowd of 1,566 at Bury. Sadly for the absent thousand or so, they missed a cracker as FC hit Abbey Hey for 7; Stuart Rudd struck a hat-trick making it 11 league goals for the season in just 9 games. He managed 15 league goals during those first dozen games.


Steve MacDonald and Liam McManus were both on target for Ramsbottom during September, and if the match reports were anything to go by, then Chris Steele was the player setting up most of Rammy’s attacks. Despite securing the services of the areas number one goalkeeper, Booby Harris, Nelson were finding it difficult after their step up this season. Their opening ten games yielded just one win and four points while their 8 defeats included a couple of thrashings. For the second season running, Bobby enjoyed his trip to Castleton Gabriels where his team won 6-0, this time in the FA Vase.
Further up the footballing ‘ladder’, Matt Derbyshire continued scoring goals for the Rovers Reserve side.



FC United’s amazing league run was finally halted as Salford hit two very late goals to win 2-1 before a fabulous crowd of over 4,000. They soon got back to winning ways 5 days later as they knocked Padiham out of the FA Vase before a packed house at The Arbories. Nelson also went out thanks to a last minute Sheffield penalty at Victoria Park. Still with the Vase, Colne won 4-2 at Worsbrough thanks in the main to two ex-Robins. James Blackburn scored one and set up two while Chris Ingham hit the other. In the FA Trophy, the game of the round took place at Shawbridge where Clitheroe came from two down to beat Bamber Bridge 3-2. James Dean set up Simon Garner for the Blues first. before Garner laid on the equaliser. Five minutes form time Garner set up the winner for another ex-Showgrounder, Jason Jones.


As the end of the month drew closer, FC United moved 10 points clear at the top of the 1st Division after a fabulous 8-0 home win against mid-table Glossop North End. They’d now averaged over four goals per game but even more astonishingly, top scorer Stuart Rudd failed to get on the scoresheet, although he was named man-of-the-match. Another 3,000+ attendance witnessed the massacre. In Division 2, 3rd placed Darwen hosted 2nd placed Runcorn and before an excellent turn-out of over 150, the Linnets cruised to a 3-1 victory. Earlier in the week ‘Tricky Dicky’ Fogarty was on the mark as was his brother Carl. Darwen travelled to Daisy Hill and hammered their hosts 4-0 before beating Blackpool Mechanics at the seaside in mid-week.
Chris Ingham continued his fine goalscoring run with two more in the final game of October and the excellent Ben Howarth also got in on the act as the Holt House side won 4-0.


In the FA Cup, Fleetwood progressed to the 1st round proper after despatching Wisbech 3-0 in front of a four-figure crowd at Highbury. The last two years have seen the Robins and the Fishermen flying off in different directions, the former to oblivion and the latter to glory.
In the Unibond League, James Dean showed his suspect temperament again when he was sent off for Clitheroe as the Shawbridge side finished the month with some heavy defeats. Dave Woodruff scored on his debut for Chorley to secure a point in the basement battle against Bridlington Town.


The month was also memorable for the amount of publicity that the Robins Revival Fund received. Articles appeared in the Accrington Observer, NWCFL newsletter and the new North West Side Stories web-site. Radio Lancashire also invited Dennis Hill and yours truly to appear on their non-league programme. Sadly, despite the odd incoming e-mail, the publicity managed to raise……..not a penny for the fund and even programmes that were sent out failed to bring in any revenue!
Some good news for a friend of the Robins, Brent Peters. His Bacup Borough side which has under-achieved for several seasons now, won all three games in October, prompting the manager of the month award for Brent, small reward for the all the great work he’s done at West View.



With Nelson struggling even with the great Bobby Harris in goal, I decided to see for myself what the problem was and took in the game against Abbey Hey at Victoria Park. The visitors were the better side in the fist half and only the magnificent goalkeeping of the ex-Harwood hero kept the Blues level. That provided the platform for Nelson to come from behind to gain only their second victory of the campaign. Aiding and abetting Bob was James Coonan who had a great game in midfield.
Meanwhile, a late James Dean equaliser gave Clitheroe a great 1-1 draw at Halesowen in the FA Trophy. That made it 11 for the season making it his best ever in terms of goals scored and with most of the season to come, (suspensions permitting!) he was targeting 20+. Sadly, Deano missed the replay because of suspension but the Blues, also minus Simon Garner, won the tie 1-0 in front of over 200 at Shawbridge.


No stopping Matt Derbyshire who had yet another stormer at Christie Park where the Rovers Reserves thrashed Tranmere Rovers reserves 7-0. Matt took just three minutes to get on the scoresheet. He hit the back of the net again before half time but the effort was ruled out for offside. He scored again soon into the 2nd half before his marker lost the plot and was sent off for an assault on our ex-hero. Rovers then won a penalty but despite Matt wanting to get his hat-trick, Garner grabbed the ball so that he could register his third goal. Four minutes later Matt got his treble to complete another memorable night for him.


Ed O’Neil was the hero for Padiham as he scored the only goal of the game to defeat a Ramsbottom side containing several of his ex-Harwood team mates.
In the F.A. Trophy James Dean was on target once again when Clitheroe travelled to Kettering Town. Mind you. I’m sure that he’d rather have been somewhere else as Blues were thumped an amazing 10-1. Things got even worse as manager Chris Stammers resigned the following day.


Meanwhile, Dennis Hill’s magical left foot was gracing the West Lancs. League. Den was content to strut his stuff for Mill Hill St. Peters despite several offers from NWCFL managers.
In the ladies FA Premier League, Andy McNally’s Blackburn Rovers found the going difficult early on but by the end of November several wins had seen them rise to mid-table. Andy made a great move when he left the Showground to take up the manager’s job at Ewood.
The month ended in spectacular fashion as the mighty FC United suffered their worst ever defeat, 3-0 at home to Atherton Collieries, a Pilkington hat-trick doing the damage.



This month began as November had ended - with fireworks! Runcorn Linnets took almost half an hour to break the deadlock at Castleton Gabriels but they soon made up for lost time scoring nine times to post a record win in their short history and one which will no doubt stand for many years. Richard Fogarty, Neil Zarac, Liam McManus and Steve MacDonald all continued to score regularly for their respective clubs. Jason Jones managed to talk himself off the pitch during Clitheroe’s fist game of the month when arguing about the validity of a free kick – not really worth it Jonesy! The next game saw James Dean sent off for petulantly kicking the ball at a prostrate opponent. Deano had just come back from suspension!


In the Unibond League, Chorley were struggling to fill the goalkeeping jersey. By the beginning of the month they’d used no less than eleven different keepers since August.
Ramsbottom manager Lee Sculpher was widely tipped to become the new boss of Clitheroe although he denied that he was interested in leaving the Riverside. His ex-Harwood team-mates Chris Steele and Liam McManus scored in the Rams 3-1 success at St. Helens.


Christmas came early for Matt Derbyshire as he came on as a late substitute in the Rovers win against Fulham-mind you he didn’t have much chance to have an impact with only 2 minutes to go. The following home game saw him once again on the bench but with the Blues looking down and out at half time, Mark Hughes brought Matt on at the break much to the delight of all the Rovers supporters. He helped to make sure that Newcastle were on the back foot for the rest of the game with his fearless running at defenders.


FC United suffered a surprise exit form the FA Vase when they were beaten at home by midland side Quorn. Despite FC being down to 9 men just after the hour mark they looked to have won the game when they made it 2-1 with just 4 minutes to go but Quorn equalised to take it into extra time. The visitors then hit the winner in the very last minute of the 120.
That made it three games without a win for the Reds coming after a 9 game winning streak.

To all of our previous programme advertisers

HFS (Great Harwood Ltd.)
Twin Counties Insurance Brokers
Towngate 2000
Danley Engineering
Haworth & Nuttall
Gareth’s Florist
Accrington Observer
Great Harwood Electrical
Duke of Wellington Inn
N.J. Auto Repairs
BM Builders Merchants
Lancashire Timber Ltd.
NWBM North West Business Machines
Lancashire Evening Telegraph
E.T.Birtwistle & Sons Ltd.
Hyndburn Council
Bowker BMW
Greg Pope
Toni’s Pizza’s
I & A Homecare Service
West View Printing Co.
Manchester Building Society
ABC Computers
K & S Services

Programmes from the past

Today we’re looking at a programme from the 1970/71 season when Great Harwood FC were competing in the Northern Premier League.
Page one featured advertisements from Turners wines and spirits of Whalley, Rishton Welding and Engineering Co. Ltd., and Westwood Garages Ltd. Of Rishton.
Page two saw the club notes although no one had put their name to them. They finished with a plea to supporters to recommend any local talent who would be given a chance to turn out for the first team at some stage during the season.
Next up was a full page Oxo ad. which was basically a blank page with ‘OXO the Great Little Cube’ and ‘Brooke Bond Oxo Ltd.’
Two more pages of ads were followed by a single paragraph welcoming the visitors Goole Town, a very limited pen pictures feature and another small ad.
The centre pages had more ads plus a chance to join the Sporting Club of Great Harwood-Ten shillings for a years membership and five shillings for ladies. ‘FIRST CLASS ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTED EVERY WEEKEND’
The other side of the centre pages was taken up by the officials and honours list plus the team line-ups. The Harwood squad was: Jones, Bright, Sims, Huddleston, Proctor, Freeman, Douglas, Shaw, Beardall, Hope, Morris, Millar and Jackson.
Three pages of ads were followed by the fixture list for the first and reserve teams although the results weren’t shown. The previous two games were at Stafford Rangers and Northwich Victoria where Harwood gained a creditable three points. The next page contained three more ads and the inside back page contained a form for the Great Harwood FC Pool. Tickets were one shilling with a
tremendous £150 a week in prize money. The back page, not surprisingly, featured another five ads.

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