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Faded Glory

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou amongst the leaves hast never known
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

From “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats (1795-1821)




Saturday 10th January 2015 Evo-Stik Northern Premier League k.o.:- 3.00pm

Division 1 North

Prescot Cables                                    3

James McCulloch 31, 56,

Jack Phillips 83,

New Mills                                           3

Warren Gaskin 30,

James Kirby 46,

Daniel Douglas -Pringle 49,

Referee:- K. Mattock                          Attendance:- 150


This was a club that I really ought to have taken in when I was living in Lancashire and never got round to! They were formed in 1884 and take their name from the largest local employer, British Insulated Cables, which was founded in 1890 and later became a part of BICC. It was British Insulated Cables who built their stand in 1928 and “Cables” was added to their title from then until around 1964. Sadly, that stand was destroyed by fire in 1960, and the structure which now stands is the phoenix which arose from those ashes!

In the 1950s and 60s, before The Northern Premier League was formed in 1968, The Lancashire Combination was the pre-eminent tournament in the North West. Morecambe, Wigan Athletic, Nelson, Accrington and New Brighton, all former or present Football League clubs, played in the competition. In the late fifties, Cables were the equal of any of them, winning the title in 1956/57. This was their heyday, but since then, they have drifted out of the top flight of non-league football and only their impressive stadium remains!


Graeme was driving today, the one hundred and nineteen miles up to Merseyside. The journey took a smidgeon over two hours. The roads were reasonably clear, the skies were bright with lots of blue, but the wind was strong and cutting, with a fifty mile-an-hour speed limit across The Thelwall Viaduct.


We got there in good time, an hour before kick-off and were immediately impressed with the majesty of the stadium. There was concrete terracing behind the nearside goal and a magnificent stand jutted heavenwards along one side of the ground. The club crest and motto greeted one on entry through the turnstiles and a phalanx of friendly officials was on hand to guide us to the club house and bar. The stadium was a magnificent edifice, but like a fading film star, it was showing its age.


The club house was generously proportioned with an old fashioned bar set in the centre along one side. Adjacent to the bar was a table for selling club memorabilia and on the TV screens, Liverpool were overcoming Sunderland at The Stadium of Light by a goal to nil in The Barclays Premiership.

Next to the clubhouse was a small tea bar which served a variety of burgers, hot dogs and pies, amongst which, I was intrigued to notice a “corned beef pastie”. That was my choice and so tasty was it, that I enjoyed a second helping, washed down with a couple of pints of the local brew. Graeme, abstemious as ever, nursed a half pint of lager shandy!


Note the concrete terracing behind the goal

The programme was pretty impressive. At first, I begrudged paying £2 for a programme at this level of football, but the all glossy production was a mine of information about the club, the visitors, The Northern Premier League and local football in general.


Sadly for both sides, this was a relegation shoot-out. The losers could very easily find themselves joining almost doomed Padiham in The North-West Counties League next season, although the hosts who were third from bottom had a six point cushion over their second-bottom visitors.


Graeme, enjoying his visit to an impressive stadium!

The game started with an explosion! In the second minute, Cables had their goalkeeper sent off for handling the ball outside the penalty area and centre forward James Edgar took his place as custodian. There was not much between the teams, even though New Mills had the extra man. They scored after half an hour and Cables replied within a minute. The half-time 1-1 scoreline probably gave a fair reflection of play.

The second half started explosively, too! Two goals within the first four minutes gave the visitors the upper hand. New Mills had won one and lost five of their previous six matches. However, their single victory had come in the very last match – a narrow 2-1 success at home to Farsley. Was this the continuation of their revival? To be fair, for long periods of the second half, the visitors were on top and piling on the pressure, but the home side hung on in there and pulled a goal back just before the hour and then, seven minutes from time, to the huge relief of a large crowd (which seemed a lot larger than the official attendance!), Jack Phillips notched the equaliser and, perhaps honours even was the right result.


It had been a right cracker of a match, a roller coaster from start to finish on a pitch that was in reasonable condition but with a couple of bare patches sanded over. The ground was magnificent – a throw back to a bygone age and, perhaps, like Brigadoon, we had just spent an afternoon in a nostalgic cocoon before returning to the harsh reality of rainfall as we left the ground at the end of the match. Nevertheless, we had certainly enjoyed a splendid afternoon!

This season:-                    Matches:- 128           New Grounds:-  80

Total:-                               Matches:-  3,098       New Grounds:-  1,033


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