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MARCH 12TH 1985

GROUND DEAL TO GO AHEAD THIS WEEK?

GREAT HARWOOD TOWN’S purchase of the Showground from current owners Marda Squash-at a cost of more than £20,000- looks set to go ahead within the next few days.
Harwood chairman Mr. Tom Edwardson said he was very hopeful of the deal being finalised before the end of the week and when it does go through, it will signal the beginning of an exciting era for Harwood, who currently rent the premises from Marda, who own the adjoining Cloggers Squash and Social Club.
The deal is the culmination of months of negotiations between Mr. Edwardson-who stepped in to ‘rescue’ Town when they seemed set to quit the North West Counties League during the summer-and Marda Squash chief Mr. Tony Gornall. Mr. Edwardson said he was delighted that the deal was on the brink of being clinched.
At the moment, renting the Showground means we have no security for the future, but with our own ground, changing accommodation, floodlights and plans to build our own clubhouse, the future will be very rosy.
The Northern Premier League is still our aim and when the deal is finalised, we aim to extend the pitch to full FA approved length and hopefully enter the F.A.Cup and F.A.Vase, which are both potential money-spinners.
Up to now, Harwood who first played on the Showground in the late 1970’s after the original Great Harwood FC went into liquidation, and the ground was taken over by Marda, have been unable to enter FA competitions or to seriously consider promotion to the North West Counties First Division or Northern Premier League because their pitch is too short.
Mr.Edwardson said that once the deal was sewn up, it was intended to start work on extending the pitch immediately after the end of the current season.
Subject to planning consent, Harwood intend to build their own two-tier clubhouse on the Lyndon House side of the ground and also have their own separate access and car park.
Mr. Edwardson declined to say exactly how much the deal would cost, but said that it would be “over £20,000.”

July 1985

The previous season had seen Harwood, under the guidance of manager Rick Grogan, amongst the promotion contenders until the final couple of months of the campaign when they fell away badly. In fact, the league record after February was more like that of relegation candidates and at the end of the season Grogan handed in his resignation.
Less than 24 hours later, ex-Blackburn Rovers, Norwich City and Rochdale star, Malcolm Darling was appointed his successor, bringing hope and optimism to the Showground.
***
Great Harwood Town started their pre-season build-up on Tuesday when they drew 1-1 away to local rivals Padiham in their first friendly match of the summer.
New manager Malcolm Darling described the match as a “very useful workout” and Town have at least two more friendly games – with the possibility of a third – lined up before the start of the new league season on August 10th .
Next Saturday, they are likely to be away to West Lancashire side Crown Paints, while a week on Tuesday, they visit GEC, who have just joined the East Lancashire League from the Accrington Combination.
Goalkeeper Phil Maher has left Town and the new man between the sticks for Harwood in the coming season will be former Darwen player Dave Mottershead, but Mr. Darling also hopes to sign another keeper.
Most of the players who were at Town last season are still with them for the new term, while other new signings include former Stanley skipper Pete O’Brien and former Darwen midfielder Steve Benko.
Mr Darling also hopes to sign former Stanley winger John Blackburn, who last season played with Darwen and has previously had a spell at Harwood.
Harwood’s reserve side will line up in the North West Counties Reserve League for the first time in the coming season and will be in the same division-the second division- as Stanley Reserves, who narrowly missed out on promotion last term and have stayed down in Division Two after it was first thought that they might have a chance of a place in Division One because of close season re-shuffles.

August 1985

Malcolm Darling had taken over as Manager just before pre-season training started in the summer of 1985. Two wins and a draw in friendly games had given cause for a little quiet optimism at the Showground.
‘Manager Darling bids for promotion at first attempt’

GREAT HARWOOD Town manager Malcolm Darling is hoping that his first season in charge at the Showground will result in promotion to Division One of the North West Counties League – something which the club narrowly missed out on last season.
“We are hoping to go all the way this year,” said Mr. Darling.
“Pre-season has gone well and all the players have worked hard. We have got some new faces in the side and obviously it takes a little while for them to settle down. Perhaps we are still one or two players short and we will continue looking around.”
Among the fresh faces at the Showground are former Accrington Stanley skipper Pete O’Brian and winger John Blackburn, plus midfielder Steve Benko and keeper Dave Mottershead both signed from Darwen.
Great Harwood travel to Ellesmere Port for their opening game of the season. “It is a fairly difficult start,” said Mr. Darling, “but we are looking forward to a good result.”
Mr. Darling said that he was confident that the club would do well in the coming season, but asked supporters to remain patient. “We will not be as strong a team now as we will by the end of the season,” he said.
A coach will leave Cloggers for Ellesmere Port at 12 noon and supporters are welcome. Town’s first home game of the season will be against Lancaster City on Wednesday night, kick-off 7-30 pm.

Harwood’s reserve side will line up in the North West Counties Reserve League for the first time in the coming season and will be in the same division -the Second Division- as Stanley Reserves, who narrowly missed out on promotion last term and have stayed down in Division Two after it was first thought that they might have a chance of a place in Division One because of close season re-shuffles.

   
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