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20 hours ago, ATLANTISMAN said:

I really find this an interesting subject I live half the year in Kent and am involved in Step 5 football Kent has more semi-pro non league clubs than most counties in England but only one league team (Gillingham) it all goes back to the 1920,s even top London teams were in the SOUTHERN LEAGUE which was seen as the main opposition to the FOOTBALL LEAGUE (Lancashire based in Lytham St Annes) slowly the top teams in London moved into the FOOTBALL LEAGUE however left over was a strong semi-pro set up in the South especially Kent.

Teams like Dover/Folkestone/Deal/Canterbury/Ramsgate would attract many Scottish players in the 1950/60,s who were (Similar to Rugby League players) miners there was more money for many working down the Kentish pits and playing football on Saturday part time in the SOUTHERN LEAGUE than staying up in Scotland.

I remember the Scottish international goalkeeper Ian Black even playing for Canterbury City.

Even now Kent League matches (Now named SCEFL) can attract excellent crowds we had over 900 at Chatham Town recently and at the level above a Herne Bay v Whitstable Town Derby can be 700/1000.

I agree that mainly sport is a one town thing unless its a larger city Leeds/Hull its in the blood better always to make the well known clubs areas strong and support new teams in areas with no main other sports (London excepted) 

 

Paul 

 

 

Paul

I lived in Sittingbourne (Kent) for a decade in the 80s/90s and watched the rise and fall of their non league team who used to get gates of around 2500 (about 150 now). Kent always reminded me of the North - much more a sense of community and an industrial heritage including the coal mines (first area to strike and the last back to work). It doesn’t surprise me the county has flirted with rugby league over the years - Invicta, Panthers, well attended Bronco game at Gills, local Bronco fans (I used to watch them when they were at Charlton which is on a line to Kent) and still Medway Dragons. Frankly RL should be able to establish a foothold in the garden of England. 
 

 

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Being from Harrogate I have actively being trying to draw an interest in Rugby League especially to York although we have a direct train line that goes to Headingley (then Leeds) and the other way to

South Yorkshire's density of top Football clubs (5 in 4 cities/towns) is akin to RLs density in West Yorkshire. Indeed soccer was brought to the West by what were effectively missionaries from the sou

Keswick is a strange one! Located along the central Cumberland corridor, relatively isolated but still only a dozen miles from game's coastal heartlands, and until the 1960s served by a railway line f

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48 minutes ago, EssexRL said:

Paul

I lived in Sittingbourne (Kent) for a decade in the 80s/90s and watched the rise and fall of their non league team who used to get gates of around 2500 (about 150 now). Kent always reminded me of the North - much more a sense of community and an industrial heritage including the coal mines (first area to strike and the last back to work). It doesn’t surprise me the county has flirted with rugby league over the years - Invicta, Panthers, well attended Bronco game at Gills, local Bronco fans (I used to watch them when they were at Charlton which is on a line to Kent) and still Medway Dragons. Frankly RL should be able to establish a foothold in the garden of England. 
 

 

Any idea what sort of crowds the Dragons (or indeed any Southern Conference teams) get? 

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9 hours ago, Mr Frisky said:

Yet you go just  10 or 15miles inland from Workington to Cockermouth and Keswick and surrounding villages dont know RL exists. Mainly these days due the local Cumbrians being forced out of the towns and Southerners moving in.

Strange around RU 6 nations time when Pubs in West Cumbria even dont bother showing even tye England games but the pubs in Keswick are packed.

Keswick is a strange one! Located along the central Cumberland corridor, relatively isolated but still only a dozen miles from game's coastal heartlands, and until the 1960s served by a railway line from Penrith to Cockermouth. However, the town has remained stubbornly resistant to the attractions of Rugby League. I've not seen any reference of our sport being played in the town, even in the early pioneering years. 

Soccer gained and early foothold in the town and the first rugby club was formed in 1879. The soccer team played at the highest level of county football in the Cumberland Senior League from the late 1890s for a decade. They reached the final of the Cumberland Cup three times: 1893 (v. Moss Bay, 3-3, 2-4), 1902 (v. Frizington White Star, 0-0, 0-1) and lastly in 1904 (v. Cleator Moor United, 0-1). 

By the time the Cumberland rugby clubs were switching to Northern Union from March 1898 (though outlying Millom went earlier with the Furness clubs) to 1900, Keswick's rugby club were no more, having folded in the mid-90s. Newspapers of the day don't report on any interest in forming an NU club. 

In the first few years of the 1900s NU boasted forty or so clubs in Cumberland, whilst rugby union dwindled to only two, the senior Carlisle and junior Aspatria Agricultural  College. However, due to mismanagement, financial difficulties and on and off field violence NU's bubble had burst less than a decade later. By 1909 the sport was down to only five clubs and a motion was proposed at the CNU AGM to disband. Thankfully it was voted down and the competition continued with seven clubs; two existing, Brookland Rovers and Egremont, and five new/reformed in Broughton Moor, Dearham United, Maryport, Crosby United and Fothergill.

Meanwhile, during those years rugby union enjoyed a renaissance, with, from 1908, the establishment of clubs in Silloth, St Bees, Whitehaven, Workington, Cockermouth and Wigton. 

There were no more than fifteen clubs in the county chasing the egg. By comparison soccer had exploded. Both Carlisle United and Workington were playing above local level in the Lancashire Combination, a situation NU couldn't match, Challenge Cup excepted. There were about a dozen soccer leagues all across the county with upwards of one hundred clubs. Soccer's attendances more than matched and often exceeded that of NU's. 

Though Keswick's soccer club had dropped down to more local football, there appears to have been no interest in forming a NU club and playing in a pretty much Maryport-centred League. Rugby union did re-emerge in the years shortly after WW1, but to the best of my research there's never been a PTB performed in Keswick.

Despite the town's apparent 125 year resistance to our sport, I'd be surprised if it was always a complete RL desert. Given the then existence of the railway line to Cockermouth and onwards to Workington it's easy to imagine that there was a level of interest during Town's halcyon days of the 40s and 50s. Were the trains full on matchday?

Whatever, in Keswick during the years that mattered and RL was being established across the county, soccer was king!

 

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5 hours ago, Plan of Attack said:

Southport FC used to be in the football league untill 1978, when the club was voted out of the Football League following three consecutive 23rd (out of 24) placed finishes, and was replaced by Wigan Athletic

Tough on Southport. They'd won the Fourth Division championship as recently as 1973.

I seem to remember one of the Football League clubs around this time (was it Southport?) went out on a recount after the initial ballot had been tied. Plenty of observers at the time felt that club should have been reprieved because, technically, a tied ballot meant they hadn't been voted out.

Southport has a rugby union club (some distance out of town). They're a long way down the RU pyramid.

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1 hour ago, Number 16 said:

Keswick is a strange one! Located along the central Cumberland corridor, relatively isolated but still only a dozen miles from game's coastal heartlands, and until the 1960s served by a railway line from Penrith to Cockermouth.

The Penrith-Keswick stub of the Penrith-Keswick-Cockermouth-Workington line didn't close until March 1972. A ridiculous decision after it had survived the Beeching 'axe'. Transport bosses couldn't wait to turn what remained of the rail route into an improved A66. Imagine how useful a Penrith-Keswick line would be now, given the amount of cars flooding into (and polluting) the northern Lakes!

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3 hours ago, Eddie said:

Any idea what sort of crowds the Dragons (or indeed any Southern Conference teams) get? 

Unfortunately I left before I knew about Medway so no idea but I do recall a pretty decent crowd when London played at Gills and there were a group of us from Swale who watched Broncos (we now meet up at the CC each year). 
 

As I said I think there’s a great potential in Kent. 

Ditto the non league footie clubs like Faversham, Ramsgate and Dover - all have good support. Bits of Kent seem a long way away from the rest of the country. 

Edited by EssexRL
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Kent would work now at League 1 level I am certain (Medway would make sense) maybe the Dragons have ambitions Canterbury funny enough would also be a good place.

YES some of the footy clubs in Kent can muster incredible support Tunbridge Wells took around 13000 to Wembley a few years ago for the FA VASE final.

There are around 25/30 semi pro football teams in the county at 4 different levels.

Paul

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33 minutes ago, Hopping Mad said:

Brilliant. Used to watch South at Holly Park in the early Eighties while a student at Liverpool University.

Top stuff HM! It’s a proper shame what happened to South. They were nailed on for promotion to the NW Counties this season but sadly now the FA have stopped all promotion and relegation in non-league. 

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28 minutes ago, EssexRL said:

Unfortunately I left before I knew about Medway so no idea but I do recall a pretty decent crowd when London played at Gills and there were a group of us from Swale who watched Broncos (we now meet up at the CC each year). 
 

As I said I think there’s a great potential in Kent. 

Ditto the non league footie clubs like Faversham, Ramsgate and Dover - all have good support. Bits of Kent seem a long way away from the rest of the country. 

Sounds similar to Norfolk, football in king and while Norwich City are all encompassing some of the non-league clubs can draw some very big crowds, especially for derbies. Some of the Union teams well down the pyramid can get regular three figure crowds too. We’ll never have a league club here though ? 

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55 minutes ago, Hopping Mad said:

Tough on Southport. They'd won the Fourth Division championship as recently as 1973.

I seem to remember one of the Football League clubs around this time (was it Southport?) went out on a recount after the initial ballot had been tied. Plenty of observers at the time felt that club should have been reprieved because, technically, a tied ballot meant they hadn't been voted out.

Southport has a rugby union club (some distance out of town). They're a long way down the RU pyramid.

No it was Barrow they tied in the first count in 1972 and were replaced by hereford after the second. they were on course to get back this year until covid interfered now they are waiting to see what happens next

Edited by Plan of Attack
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32 minutes ago, Plan of Attack said:

No it was Barrow they tied in the first count in 1972 and were replaced by hereford after the second. they were on course to get back this year until covid interfered now they are waiting to see what happens next

Thanks.

Poor Barrow. Really feel for them. They were terribly unlucky to go out of the Football League, and now may miss out on a return despite a superb season.

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When I lived at Goole as a kid they drew Barrow at home in the FA Cup 1st round and Barrow at the time were top of the old Division 3. In front of a crowd of over 4000, Barrow won a cracking game 3 - 1.  Goole were founder members of the Northern Premier League which kicked off in 1968, and I remember seeing South Liverpool visit in that first season.

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24 minutes ago, Gooleboy said:

When I lived at Goole as a kid they drew Barrow at home in the FA Cup 1st round and Barrow at the time were top of the old Division 3. In front of a crowd of over 4000, Barrow won a cracking game 3 - 1.  Goole were founder members of the Northern Premier League which kicked off in 1968, and I remember seeing South Liverpool visit in that first season.

I can remember watching South v Goole, at least once. Marine was our biggest game, followed by Southport. Other mainstays of the NPL at that time were Chorley, Colne Dynamoes (moneybags club), Macc Town, Mosseley, Boston and Barrow - happy days  

 

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47 minutes ago, Eddie said:

I can remember watching South v Goole, at least once. Marine was our biggest game, followed by Southport. Other mainstays of the NPL at that time were Chorley, Colne Dynamoes (moneybags club), Macc Town, Mosseley, Boston and Barrow - happy days  

 

An old Boss of mine played for Colne at Wembley in the FA Trophy Final.

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On 07/04/2020 at 16:32, Mumby Magic said:

Plus why. First examples are places like Barnsley and Burnley. Why is this? Possibly other sports, demographically?

Which code of football towns align with has barely changed globally since the advent of national media.

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"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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9 hours ago, Eddie said:

I can remember watching South v Goole, at least once. Marine was our biggest game, followed by Southport. Other mainstays of the NPL at that time were Chorley, Colne Dynamoes (moneybags club), Macc Town, Mosseley, Boston and Barrow - happy days  

I saw several Boston games in the 80’s when they were a relative glamour club of non-league. Great stuff. 

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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I'm not sure of the size of the town without looking at wikipedia but Stockport surely must be up there with towns that have no football league club or rugby club (of either code) close to the m62. Interestingly it did have a rugby league team in the early days (possibly even the initial split?) but it didn't last unfortunately. I'm not sure if it changed back to union but the current Stockport RUFC is just round the corner from where I live.

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1 hour ago, glossop saint said:

I'm not sure of the size of the town without looking at wikipedia but Stockport surely must be up there with towns that have no football league club or rugby club (of either code) close to the m62. Interestingly it did have a rugby league team in the early days (possibly even the initial split?) but it didn't last unfortunately. I'm not sure if it changed back to union but the current Stockport RUFC is just round the corner from where I live.

Castleford and Stockport are rare in that region of the country in that the dominant code of football switched after 1900.

"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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1 hour ago, glossop saint said:

I'm not sure of the size of the town without looking at wikipedia but Stockport surely must be up there with towns that have no football league club or rugby club (of either code) close to the m62. 

True, but it's relatively recent that they haven't had a league football club... Or, cuckoo that they were, a premiership rugby club. In fact, the latter contributed to the demise of the former....

Edited by iffleyox
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1 hour ago, glossop saint said:

I'm not sure of the size of the town without looking at wikipedia but Stockport surely must be up there with towns that have no football league club or rugby club (of either code) close to the m62. Interestingly it did have a rugby league team in the early days (possibly even the initial split?) but it didn't last unfortunately. I'm not sure if it changed back to union but the current Stockport RUFC is just round the corner from where I live.

No connection between the Northern Union Stockport club and the present rugby union club, which was founded in 1923 and until the 1990s called itself Davenport.

Always seems to me Stockport County FC is still a Football League club in all but name. It's got the facilities, and the average crowd at Edgeley in 2019-20 was 4,342.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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1 hour ago, glossop saint said:

I'm not sure of the size of the town without looking at wikipedia but Stockport surely must be up there with towns that have no football league club or rugby club (of either code) close to the m62. Interestingly it did have a rugby league team in the early days (possibly even the initial split?) but it didn't last unfortunately. I'm not sure if it changed back to union but the current Stockport RUFC is just round the corner from where I live.

Stockport (and Bury) are league football towns really though, even though they have temporarily fallen on hard times. Almost all of the original 92 to drop into the conference or below have made it back eventually, and most have stayed back in the league with the exceptions of Halifax and Chester and maybe others that I can’t think of. I’d expect to see definitely Stockport and probably Bury back in the league in 10 years time. 

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8 minutes ago, Eddie said:

Stockport (and Bury) are league football towns really though, even though they have temporarily fallen on hard times. Almost all of the original 92 to drop into the conference or below have made it back eventually, and most have stayed back in the league with the exceptions of Halifax and Chester and maybe others that I can’t think of. I’d expect to see definitely Stockport and probably Bury back in the league in 10 years time. 

I realise that and as Hopping Mad says, County are all but a league club. But the town does fit the criteria and we need something to talk about on these long boring lockdown days.

Hopefully Stockport are only a couple of years from getting back into the league. I was I could say the same about getting back into league. 

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11 hours ago, Eddie said:

I can remember watching South v Goole, at least once. Marine was our biggest game, followed by Southport. Other mainstays of the NPL at that time were Chorley, Colne Dynamoes (moneybags club), Macc Town, Mosseley, Boston and Barrow - happy days  

 

I can remember watching Runcorn a few times in their NPL days, usually in the FA Cup or Trophy. Games against Southport, Grimsby, Wigan Athletic, Gainsborough Trinity and Slough Town come to mind.  

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