Saturday 06 September 2014: Real football, plus mascots, live music and discounts 

New Windmill Ground covered end
Saturday’s opponents will be of significance to Keith Briggs, whose second match in the dugout was a 2-0 win at Bower Fold. Seen here is a view of the ‘Bridge’s travelling army at the previous away match. A late winner for the Brakes separated the sides and the heavens literally opened – a thunderstorm appeared seconds later.

Over the last five years, Non League Day has become an established part of the footballing calendar. It coincides with a point where English Premier League sides have a Saturday. This for international fixtures; this season, three days after England’s match against Norway. A friendly. With a nondescript starting XI.It is stated that England’s forthcoming fixture may be seen by more than 10,000 fans. This coming Saturday could well see total attendances at non-league fixtures outnumber Wednesday’s gate at Wembley.

To pull in the crowds, English non-league sides – including my very own [Stalybridge Celtic A.F.C.] – will be wooing fans to their grounds with a number of incentives.

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The ‘Bridge will be fresh from a 3-2 Bank Holiday win over Stockport County and a hard fought 1-1 draw against Boston United at the York Street Ground. Leading the scoring charts for the ‘Bridge is Liam Dickinson, on three goals. Paul Ennis and Aidan Chippendale are on two goals each.

In the last two games, Leamington F.C. have lost 3-0 and drawn 1-1 to Colwyn Bay and Lowestoft Town respectively. Top scorer for the Brakes is Stefan Moore on three goals, followed by Jordan Goddard (2) and Lee Moore (1).

Leamington F.C. is the immediate successor club to Automotive Products Leamington, hence their nickname as the Brakes. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, A.P. Leamington were at their peak and joined the Alliance Premier League as founder members. They spent three seasons prior to relegation into the Southern League. After winning the Southern League in 1982-83, their Windmill Ground wasn’t deemed to be A.P.L. standard. Instead, Kidderminster Harriers were promoted with Brakes manager Graham Allner following suit.

In the 1983-84 season, they were known as Leamington F.C following the loss of their main sponsor. Two years, their ground was sold to property developers A.C. Lloyd with the Brakes’ home sold for housing three years later. Therefore, they lay dormant till 2000 with the last league match at the Windmill Ground on the 16 April 1988 versus Walsall Wood. By 2000, they moved to Whitnash with the New Windmill Ground upgraded eight years later. Today, it is a well appointed ground suited to the rigours of Conference North football, though its out-of-town location makes for awkward travel on public transport.

If you get chance to visit the New Windmill Ground try Brakes Fluid, their exclusive bottled ale (5% A.B.V.) brewed and bottle conditioned by the Warwickshire Brewing Company.

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Over at Bower Fold…

For Non League Day, home and away fans will:

  • Be greeted by mascots, possibly from Barclays Premier League sides;
  • Be seeing the mascots race each over at half time;
  • Enjoy an awesome acoustic set in the social club after the game, courtesy of Nina Gerstenberger.

And that’s not all, there will also be discounted admission for (appropriate photo ID required):

  • Manchester City and Manchester United season ticket holders;
  • National Health Service employees;
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service personnel;
  • Greater Manchester Police personnel;
  • Members of the Armed Forces.

And of course, the party starts proper this coming Saturday, kick-off time at a time it should always be: 3 p.m of course.

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Getting to Bower Fold

  • 236/237 buses from Ashton-under-Lyne, Stalybridge town centre, Mottram-in-Longdendale, Woolley Bridge (236), Hadfield (237), and Glossop. (Stagecoach in Manchester, 3 buses per hour);
  • 387 bus from Ashton-under-Lyne, Ridge Hill estate, Stalybridge town centre, Mottram-in-Longdendale, Hattersley and Hyde (First Greater Manchester, once hourly);
  • SatNav Postcode: SK15 2RT. Car parking at ground: £1.00.

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Spread the word!

  • On Twitter, use the hashtag #nonleagueday to promote Non League Day. For Saturday’s fixture: #VanaramaConferenceNorth; #StalybridgeCeltic; #LeamingtonFC.
  • Promote the fixture on Facebook or any other social networking websites.
  • Word of mouth: tell your colleagues, friends and relatives about the joys of Stalybridge Celtic and Non League Football. More the merrier through our turnstiles.
  • Download a poster: for your office, house window, public house, why not download and print off a poster promoting this fixture? Download it here.

See you there.

S.V., 01 September 2014.

STOP PRESS: the offer for Manchester City and Manchester United season ticket holders has been extended to season ticket holders of all Barclays Premier League and Skybet Championship sides at Bower Fold.

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