AMATEUR CUP WINNERS
HONOURS BOARD Amateur Cup Winners 1970-71 Amateur Cup Runners up 1966-67 Amateur Cup Semi Finalist 1968-1969, 1969-70 Liverpool County Combination League Winners 10 Occasions Liverpool Challenge Cup Winners 8 Occasions Lancashire Junior Cup Winners 1914-15 Lancashire Combination Division Two Winners 1955-56 Cheshire League Champions 1968-1969, 1969-70 Lancashire Challenge Cup Winners 1969-1970, 1970-1971, 2008-09 Lancashire Floodlite Cup Winners 1969-70 FA Cup 1st Round Proper 1966-67, 1968-69, 1971-72, 2020-21
Well here we are with the second edition of the Skelmersdale United review, I hope that you found the first issue interesting with something to read to keep you occupied during the lockdown, keeping the name Skem Utd in the spotlight whilst giving readers a chance to catch up with the clubs History and articles that you may have not seen from the world of football. In this issue we look at United’s success in the Anglo Italian Cup and a bit about the competitions History. Two years either side of WW2 was dominated by 1 man Tommy Tindsley, we take a quick look at those years the man scored 214 goals in 4 years. Dan Sanderson and Alex Wormald, of Mundial Magazine covered a number of Skelmersdale games at Prescot over the Christmas period of 2017. Their excellent assessment appears in full in this issue. Harry McNally is mostly associated with Chester and Wigan but Harry started his Managerial Career at United in 1974, an unconventional manager to say the least. Jim Green takes a look back at his career. There is more but will let you read and find out, enjoy and all comments are appreciated, good or bad and if there is anything you think we can cover, any old photos then let me know and I will see what we can do Happy reading Kev
European Amateur Cup Winners 1971-72 North West Counties League Cup Winners 1999-2000 North West Counties League Cup runners-up 1982-1983, 2004-05 North West Counties Division Two runners up. 1997-1998 Northern Premier League (North) Champions 2012-13 Liverpool Senior Cup Winners 2014-15
Thanks to Lensmeister extraordinaire John Driscoll for the front cover shot
I recently received an email from Italian Marco Parmigiani, well I presume he is Italian, requesting information regarding the Skelmersdale United Anglo Italian Cup game against Monte Belluna. I was only happy to oblige with what details I had and seeing the details were to hand, here they are. I know most of you will have seen articles in the Match Day Magazine and in the club History book “The Boys in Blue from 1882” but a number of our newer supporters might not be aware that we, Skelmersdale United were Champions of Europe. The Coppa Ottorino Barassi was a competition named after Ottorino Barassi that was contested from 1968 until 1976. The competition was contested by the English FA Amateur Cup winners and the Italian Coppa Italia Dilettanti winners and was played over two-legs, one at each participating club's stadium. Leytonstone F.C. were the first champions of the competition in 1968, winning on the away goals rule following a 1–1 draw in the first leg at home, and a 2–2 in the return away fixture. The 1974 tournament was not played, and following the abolition of the FA Amateur Cup that year the English representative became the champions of the Second Division of the Isthmian League. The last instalment of the competition was in 1976, when Unione Sportiva Soresinese won following a penalty shootout. This was the only time an Italian team won the competition. United's bonus for last seasons Amateur Cup Triumph was to take part in the NonLeague European Cup Winners Cup and a game against Northern Italy's Monte Belluna. So on Wednesday 29th September United took to the field Crosbie, Allan, Austin, Owen, Swift, Poole, Brackpool, Spencer, Dicken, Windsor, Woodward Sub Lucas, as nearly 1,400 saw United win by two goals to nil courtesy of Spencer and the ever reliable Andy Windsor. But not before a humorous moment just prior to kick off, “Go and find the music to the Italian National anthem, Wal” was the instruction from Chairman Bill Gregson to director Walter Giller. Wal duly obliged, but in the dark at the back of the stand, using a record player, all went awry. As the needle went down on the wrong tune, a bemused Italian team stood to attention with the strains of “The Teddy Bears Picnic” blaring round the ground.
PHIL PLOTS SLIDE RULE VICTORY Skelmersdale Utd 2 Monte Belluna 0 1st leg Wednesday 29th September 1971 In a truly international setting Skelmersdale United’s stand in midfield man Phil Spencer served notice to make the position his own. Spencer a second team player until the injury crisis struck captivated the 1,400 strong crowd with a one man show of brilliance and it is due to his individual flair that United travel to Italy for the second leg two goals ahead. The 20 year old planning clerk plotted the downfall of the Italian champions with slide rule precision and found chinks in the iron curtain defence which few of his collegues thought existed. He scorned attempts by Monte Belluna to throw a huge red cordon around goalkeeper Semenrim, probed almost non stop to find a path to goal and was eventually rewarded when the first half seemed certain to end with a blank scoreline. Ghosting through to the right edge of the penalty area, he fastened on to a through pass and although the keeper got his hands to the fiercely hit shot, he found it to hot to handle and the ball sped into the back of the net. It was the breakthrough that Skem had fought for from the start but despite Spencer they were unable to crack the Italians man for man marking system until the final minutes. Then centre forward Andy Windsor, who makes a habit of snatching last gasp goals struck. He leapt to meet a right wing cross and although the header struck the crossbar, his powers of recovery was so swift that he had lashed the ball into the back of the net before the Italians could say “spaghetti” It was a goal that could prove invaluable when the return clash is played next Wednesday. Monte Belluna will have to score three to win and prevent United from scoring
According to Geoff Howard the Advertisers Chief sports writer, after the game Gigi Peronace from the Italian FA, the man who lured John Charles and Dennis Law for the Lire, spent a night in Liverpool Road he’ll never forget. It took place in the Engine Hotel, pork pies, sandwiches on the top of a pool table and no room to swing a cat, United certainly showed how to push the boat out. The return leg two weeks later saw 6,500 supporters watch the Italians win by just the 1 goal and United were now Champions of Europe. The after match celebrations held by the Italians were a far cry from those a fortnight earlier, a magnificent banquet under chandeliers, no expense spared. The flight together with overnight accommodation would have cost any supporters wishing to travel the princely sum of £35.
UNITED HOLD ON TO CUP Monte Belluna 1 Skelmersdale Utd 0 Wednesday 13th October 1971 Another famous trophy now adorns the boardroom table at White Moss Park. More than 6,500 frenzied and near hysterical Italians failed to shatter the cool and calm of Skelmersdale United as they held on to snatch the Barassi Cup. A 10 th minute goal by Tessatu was a boost the Italians Amateur cup holders needed as they fought to wipe out a two goal deficit but they failed to make any further impression on a rock like United defence. They attempted every conceivable trick in the book in their bid to out smart a business like defence but found their task even harder the longer the game went on. The fans screamed their disapproval when referee failed to award a penalty after Austin had tackled the Montebullana winger, the ref rightly ruled the foul had occurred outside the box and awarded a free kick which came to nothing. To have conceded a penalty at such a late stage, a second goal would have forced extra time, would have been an injustice to United who battled gamely throughout. Few players excelled more than keeper Peter Frankish and pivotal Alan Swift both who thwarted the Italians time and time again with their undoubted skills. The closest United came to scoring was in the 63rd minute when a tremendous drive from Alan Wolfe thudded against the woodwork and bounced clear. United team: Frankish, Allen, Poole, Wilkinson, Swift, Lucas, Austin, Spencer, Windsor, Wolfe, Birtwhistle, Subs Woodward and Telfer.
Coppa Ottorino Barassi Finals Year
Home team Score Away team Leytonstone 1–1 Stefer Roma Stefer Roma 2–2 † Leytonstone Leytonstone won on away goals North Shields 2–0 Almas Roma Almas Roma 2–0 North Shields
Enfield Ponte San Pietro
1971 1972 1973 1975 1976
3–0 Ponte San Pietro 2–1 Enfield Enfield won 4-2 on agg Skelmersdale United 2–0 Montebelluna Montebelluna 1–0 Skelmersdale United Skelmersdale Utd won 2-1 on agg Hendon 2–0 Unione Valdinievole Unione Valdinievole 1–1 Hendon Hendon won 3-1 on agg Walton & Hersham 4–0 Jesolo Jesolo 0–2 Walton & Hersham Walton & Hersham won 6-0 on agg Banco di Roma 0–1 Staines Town Staines Town 2–0 Banco di Roma Staines Town won 3-0 on agg Tilbury 1–1 Soresinese Soresinese 1–1 * Tilbury Soresinese won on pens
TOMMY TINDSLEY For the first game of the 1938-39 season United faced newcomers to the league, Wigan Athletic Reserves going down 2-1 United’s team; Holt, Daniels, Wilson, Ashurst, Stephenson, White, Welding, Hicks, Fairclough, Pilling and making his debut Tommy Tindsley, having previously played for Wellington Town in the Cheshire County League. “It was in 1938 that he was appointed as a master at Aughton Street Boy’s School, Ormskirk, and in the summer of that year he was asked to sign for United as a centre forward. He soon made his presence felt at the Top o’th’lane and he added great strength to the United’s forward line”. It didn’t take long for United’s legendary goal scorer to make his mark, showing his prowess with 4 goals at Wargrave in just is fifth game for the club. United were top of the league United dropped just one point in the final eight league games to claim their first title for 19 years. A goal by Joe Pilling 7 minutes from time, ensuring a 1-0 win in the final game at Prescot BI. -----------------------------United swept all that was before them in 1939-40 as they stormed the league, effectively clinching the title with a 6-1 hammering of second placed New Brighton at the beginning of March. Tommy Tindsley again on the scoresheet with 2, In the Liverpool Challenge Cup in March against Marine The local press reported “United were vastly superior and fully deserved their victory by such a convincing margin. A feature of the game was the unique feat by Tommy Tindsley, the United centre forward, who scored five goals-two in the last ten minutes, in the 7-1 win. Tommy is one of the best forwards I have seen in a long time. He has a happy knack of being able to draw the defence and so create an opening” Skelmersdale United were presented with the Championship Cup. The report from the Advertiser continued “It is the second season in succession that they have won the Championship. The presentation took place following a game between United and the Rest of the League and in this game the United won 5-0, Tindsley performing the hat-trick, -I think that it is the third time in four weeks that he has scored the hat-trick- Stephenson and Fairclough got the other goals. Skelmersdale gave a splendid exhibition of football, and if they exerted themselves, they could have had more goals. It is interest to note that Tindsley has so far scored 57 goals, last season he scored over 60 goals.
The war years intervened but Tommy Tindsley was back but not until October as he was still on Military duties Tindsley was quickly back in his stride putting fear into opposition defences, scoring five in a 7-1 victory at Prescot BI on his return, becoming the first United player to score five goals in an away fixture Four against Haydock, Liverpool “A”, Formby and four in both league fixtures against Wigan Athletic Reserves as United won their third consecutive title, scoring a mammoth 130 goals In the Liverpool Challenge Cup Tindsley was again in the goals, five against Newtown YMCA, and four in the semi final against Liverpool “A”. United then faced South Liverpool Reserves in a two legged final. The Advertiser of April 25th 1946 reported “Skelmersdale have once again won the Liverpool Challenge Cup, despite the fact they were without Tindsley who was holidaying with his wife in Devon, United won both legs without Tindsley.” United again won the Liverpool County Championship. --------------United didn’t claim a fourth successive title in 1946-47, they finished runners up, with Tommy racking up 10 known hat-tricks. In the George Mahon Cup United again reached the final. Played over two legs against Ellesmere Port, United drew the first game at Sandy Lane 2-2. Evans and Tindsley the scorers, it would be Tommy Tindsley’s last known appearance for the club as the 2nd leg was not covered by the local press, although it is known the United lost the game and the Cup. Tommy retired after spending four seasons with United netting no less than 214 goals. Even though he played for only four seasons, Tommy Tindsley is remembered as one of the finest centre forwards in Skelmersdale United’s history. His 214 goals in that time speak volumes, yet there would have been more had the war years not robbed Tommy of his best playing days. But in two seasons before the war and two seasons afterwards, he made a considerable impact in the Liverpool County Combination “I remember scoring two goals against Leyland who had Harry Holcroft the former Blackburn and England player in goal for them. He came up to me afterwards and said he had never had two goals like that scored against him, and would I be interested in playing for Preston North End”. “I had to point out to him that I was 34 years of age and nearing the end of my playing days. I was never very big, only five feet seven, but I was pretty quick and that was my asset”.
What is the best ever performance from your team? Liverpool, the night in Istanbul in 2005 when they came back from the dead to win the European Cup?, For Everton at Goodison in 85 when in the Cup Winners Cup Semi Final Bayern Munich were well and truly beaten? And what about Skelmersdale United ? Amateur Cup Triumph in 71 ?, the first final 4 years earlier or the trip to Luton Town in the FA Trophy ? Well yes, those were good days for the club, but the greatest ever performance came on a cold snowy day on 7th February 2009, as they travelled to Kendal Town in a Unibond League Challenge Cup 4th Round fixture. United, members of the First Division (North) had already disposed of Colwyn Bay 6-2, (McConville, Donnelly & Houghton each with a brace). On a very very cold night in December Bamber Bridge were destroyed 10-0, and they were at the time top of the NPL(North) table, (Donnelly 3, Houghton 3, White, McConville, Crowder and an OG) and away at Premier Division Hednesford 3-2 (A Wade 2, Turner). this without the services of Foster, Houghton and Donnelly who were all having a trial match with Stockport County. But now they were up against one of the Premier Division top dogs Kendal. United’s form under Manager Tommy Lawson going into the game had been impressive, having gone 11 games without defeat since going down 3-0 at Halifax in early October. The game was in doubt as the 40 or 50 United fans made their way up North, the snow covered hills around Kendal didn’t bode well. The Kendal side included former “Blues” Carl Osman, Michael Cole and Dave Standley as well as future United player Lee Mulvaney and Danny Wisdom. It was all United, Armstrong and Donnelly both should have done better before Almond opened the scoring on 36 minutes and Kyle Armstrong made it two right on the stroke of half time. The game had only just re started when Adam Birchall popped up to tap in the third and Mark Houghton put the game well and truly to bed as he added a fourth and George Donnelly added a 5th on the hour. Big Johnny Bathurst should have added to United’s total before the home side grabbed a last consolation. It could have been 8 or 9 such was the dominance of the United performance United team, Ryan McMahon, Shaun Foster, Martin Crowder, Steve Akrigg, Michael White, Arron Turner, Chris Almond, Adam Birchall, Mark Houghton, George Donnelly, Kyle Armstrong, Substitutes Adam Wade, John Bathurst and Steven Morrison”. It led one local to comment You get games where you just have to hold your hand up and admit that the opposition were better than us, comparing United’s performance as, “The Arsenal of the non league football”, on the day they were that good.
UNITED IN RED Above, Arron Turner Middle, Shaun Foster & Steven Morrison battle for the ball Below, Mark Houghton Right, United Michael White
SKELMERSDALE UNITED REFUSE TO GIVE UP
Words: Dan Sandison
Images: Alex Wormald
This article was originally written in the winter of 2017 and featured in Issue 13. To keep up to date with the comings and goings of Skelmersdale United. -I’ve seen Skelmersdale United play three times. The first two times I was very young. Four of us bunked in at half-time once and stood behind the goal of the Liverpool Road end, fetching wayward shots from the bushes and cracking massive sheets of ice that had formed on a large puddle over each other’s heads. The visiting team’s goalkeeper hated us. The second time, Liverpool Reserves were in town, and I watched as a team in red captained by Paul Stewart (I know) dismantled United in a pre-season friendly. Jamie Redknapp, on return from one of many injuries, was an unused substitute that day and a group of my school friends ran on at half-time, stole the match ball, and volleyed it high in the air as a rotund referee watched on helpless.
In the intervening years between my first two brushes with my hometown club and the third, my interactions with them were brief. One of my friends unsuccessfully tried to burn down the main stand after school one day. A group of us were once chased off the pitch by a man brandishing what looked like a shotgun, but looking back was probably a broom. During one summer holidays, I went to a Halloween party in the clubhouse. Eventually, their historic White Moss Road home was bulldozed to build a new housing estate on which my parents bought a four bedroom detached. This, despite being raised in the Lancashire town and living there for almost 25 years, was the closest I ever came to Skelmersdale United. Annoying a goalkeeper, attending a friendly, and living where the penalty spot used to be. ----------------------Skem, as it’s affectionately known, was developed from a mining village in the 1960s as a new town haven for expat Scousers. Its new population, my parents and grandparents included, arrived with their own dialect, values, and football clubs. This meant that by the age of one I was in a Liverpool kit, and by four or five I was watching football in the more salubrious surroundings of Anfield, just half an hour up the road. The town, over the course of its first two decades, would become a cultural battleground between Scouse, Woolyback, and everything in between. The quaint village slowly transformed into a sprawling mass of second and third generation Liverpudlians, grasping for identity, a motorway away from the closest place that felt anything like home.
Alongside all of this, the following decades saw Skelmersdale United experience undulating fortunes. Several trips to Wembley through the second half of the 60s were eventually rewarded with an FA Amateur Cup win in 1971, just a year after Liverpool icon Steve Heighway departed for Anfield from Skem’s youth setup in 1970. The late 70s, 80s and 90s, however, saw a downturn in fortunes for what was a renowned force in non-league football, and Skem’s glory days disappeared as quickly as they had arrived.
The big boys up the road were flying high in the first division of English football, and the town was split into red and into blue, like its metropolitan cousin a few miles up the M58. Despite being around since 1882, and predating Liverpool FC by a whole 10 years, Skelmersdale United never stood a chance. Almost twenty years after my second brush with them, and two days before Christmas, with Skem kicked out of their stadium and playing at the home of Prescot Cables, I went to find out what has happened to the club that could, and perhaps should, have been my own. -----------------------“After trying for almost two years to extend the lease on our ground, the owner of the site refused to grant a new lease or extension,” explains Skem’s voluntary press officer, Simon Driscoll, as we sit down in the bar ahead of the team’s home-away-from-home league tie against Brighouse. “This put us in a very difficult situation and meant that we had to find a short-term solution for our home games, which led us here to Prescot. It’s obviously not something that we wanted to happen, and something we worked very hard to avoid but, in the end, we were left with no choice in the matter.” Outside, in the freezing cold, a hardened band of Skelmersdale United supporters huddle around polystyrene cups of weak tea for warmth. By even Evo-Stik North standards, there aren’t many of them, no more than thirty. But they wear their heart on their sleeve.
Official club garb is ubiquitous, and in predominantly Lancastrian accents (these people are the old school, outcasts in their own town after five decades of Scouse expansion), they talk about the challenge today’s opposition will bring from Yorkshire. It’s extremely, extremely War of the Roses. They chat with the chairman, with Simon, and joke openly with the coach and players, they sell programmes and, when the game kicks off, one or two of them occasionally belt out “COME ON, SKEM!” They are otherwise reserved.
Not one of them shows even a hint at the club’s current predicament. There is no undercurrent of doom, and the only gloom is provided by the bout of thick December fog that almost obscures both goalmouths. Whilst in other leagues, and at other clubs, protest and dissent are commonplace, there is none of that here. Not two days before Christmas, and not with a game ahead of them. It leaves me with the feeling that Skelmersdale’s fans are perhaps resigned to their fate.
Have they given up? Will their 135th year be their last, and will they go out with a whimper? “There has been a division within our fans,” explains Simon when I enquire about what feels like a fanbase sleepwalking into the abyss, “you have people out there who have been with us forever. People like Kev Panther,” he gestures towards a jovial man pacing up and down in front of Prescot’s Main Stand, eagerly trying to sell the match day programme, “who are volunteers and keep this club going. Then you have people who have a real problem with how the club is being run, they have decided that they are unhappy with how this has panned out, and are staying away. “We have never been the most popular club in terms of gate receipts. Even when we were at the top end of the NPL (Northern Premier League), we didn’t draw the biggest of crowds. Skelmersdale is a town of over 40,000 people, and we’ve never really got more than 300 or 400. Because of the obvious connections to the other big clubs in the area. “Our main goal now, through the ongoing crowdfunding is to raise money to play our home games here at Prescot and to allow for players to travel to away games by coach. We know that we have to look to build a new ground, and we want to return to Skelmersdale, but our short-term goal is simply survival, week by week.” It’s hard, in the era of non-league success stories of Clapton, Dulwich, FC United, and Billericay Town (I know), to not feel that the attitude around Skelmersdale is defeatist.
That those in charge have abandoned bigger picture thinking and are happy to function week-to-week. To survive, but to never thrive. The short-termism is frustrating, but it’s also understandable. As a local, who lived for the best part of 30 years within a stone’s throw of the club’s ground, I have been tempted across the threshold less than a handful of times. How long could United fans bang the drum? How long could people like Simon Driscoll and Kev Panther, and the rest of the depleted blue army reach out to people like me, to be ignored and rejected, in favour of Goodison, Anfield and, on the rare occasion, Old Trafford? Perhaps Skelmersdale were fighting a losing battle from the moment the town expanded, and it’s taken this long for the perfect storm to occur. As their fans died off and football from further afield became more accessible, it was maybe natural that a grand old club like Skelmersdale couldn’t thrive, could only function, and that circumstance would eventually get the better of them. That they would eventually, and tragically, disappear. _______
Outside, for the hardcore, it is of course business as usual. As Skelmersdale trot out in their traditional blue and white kits, I mingle with the fans and watch as a cagey first half passes by without a goal, or even a flicker of a chance of one. The football is as you’d expect, and both teams have the requisite blend of big, massive tackling bastards and skilful lads in Nike Mercurials to satisfy even the most casual of fans. Friends laugh and drink pints of flat lager pitchside, have conversations with the linesman and, in one brief, fantastic moment, a ball careers towards me after a wayward Brighouse clearance. I catch it not very sweetly on the volley, and it flies into the sheet metal shutters of the hole-in-the-wall cafe, before being deftly controlled by an elderly man in a flat cap. Half-time rolls around and I sheepishly return to the bar, which is alive with chatter of the first half performance. The muted, hushed tone of pre kick-off has been abandoned, and people are enjoying themselves, there is a community, a camaraderie and a spirit that betrays the current situation United find themselves in.
It’s hard not to feel a pang of guilt. To understand the part I have played in Skem’s demise, by completely ignoring their plight, and with this in mind, ahead of the second half I completely abandon the journalistic credentials expected of an extremely serious MUNDIAL journalist and decide that, for the first time in 30 years, I really want Skem to win. They lose, of course. 1–0. As I leave Prescot that day and head back to Skelmersdale for Christmas however, I do so with hope that United will survive. That things can be turned around, and that the community I grew up in will eventually turn their attention to their local club, now they are in need. It’s hope more than expectation though, and it’s hope that is dulled over the next few weeks as Skem go on a run that sees them beaten 5–0 by Glossop, 3–1 by Tadcaster and 6–1 by Prescot Cables. At home. Sort of. Rumours circulate that the club’s former ground will be utilised by another local club, that the aforementioned fan group have set up an FC United style splinter club and, to add insult to injury, United’s official Twitter account is mysteriously hacked by someone in the Netherlands, and the bio is changed to 1882–2018. An obituary. Stories are impossible to verify, and even those closest to the club seem confused by the daily developments. Every time I get close to an answer, or reasoning, I am reminded that all of the ongoing discussion and rumour-mongering is happening “on Facebook.” Not ideal and not really becoming of a 135-year-old football club. It’s bizarre, it's disheartening, and it’s extremely non-league. However, nobody at the club seems to be distracted from their cause by any of it, which is either brilliant commitment or a worryingly passive attitude towards a club in decline. Which brings us again to the idea of a short-term fix for a long-term problem. What can be done? It’s almost certainly too little too late for people like me, those who rejected Skelmersdale in their youth and had their head turned by family allegiance, and it’s easy to be a non-league tourist, to visit every now and again. To get dewy-eyed over Bovril and old lads in scarves and hats, to write big, long pieces about fog and goalmouth scrambles to disguise your own guilt, and to wish everyone all the best and head up the road to watch Mo Salah. But in a football-mad town of 40,000 people, Skem United will need tourists and casual fans as much as they need the hardcore. If the club wants to finally make a stamp on its home, it will have to embrace long-term thinking alongside its short-term fixes. Those in charge will have to reach out to young people and follow the model set by its trendy southern counterparts. It’ll be difficult, and it will feel unnatural for a while, but it’s possible. Like the mining village from which the club sprung in 1882, Skelmersdale United will have to accept outside influence in order to not only survive but to grow. They, like innumerable nonleague teams up and down the country, need to embrace the changing face of football and make it work for them. Or, ultimately, they won’t be here much longer. We cover football all over the world in MUNDIAL Magazine, from non-league to Champions League. Subscribe to it here.
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Made his United debut at Tadcaster in October 2017, a week after United had been kicked out of Stormy Corner, on loan from Preston North End, made 25 appearances in the 1718 season. Joined Northern League Billingham Synthonia in 2018 before moving to his local club Stockton Town 12 months later where he has been first choice.
Irish youngster signed by Wigan Athletic from Glentoran in 2015, made 5 appearances on loan at Skelmersdale United in February 2017, under Manager Alan Rogers.Was in the United team that surprisingly won 1-0 at Workington. Left Wigan and returned to Glentoran in 2019.
Season by season United’s leading goal scorer’s this century 1999-20
At worst it will be brilliant: Harry McNally remembered Current Skem boss Paul McNally is not the first with that surname to be associated with the club, he's not even the first PAUL MCNALLY, that honour goes to the man who joined as Tommy Lawsons Player Coach in 2007 and made 47 appearances, scoring 13 goals playing either upfront or Centre back, before taking up the Managers role at Runcorn Linnets. in January 2009. Paul, the current manager is Not the first with that surname who has managed the club, that falls to Harry McNally who was associated with United for three years in the early 70's. Jim Green takes a look at the career of the one and only Harry McNally. --------------------------------------------Chester managers can be positioned into three categories: the good, the bad and Harry McNally. Harry passed away at The Countess of Chester Hospital on December 12, 2004, The Chronicle remembers the man and the legend. Every footballer who played for him, every supporter who watched his teams and everyone who shared a drink with him has a favourite Harry anecdote. There are enough for a book, and some read it would be too, and as those regaling the stories always point out, all of them true. Born in Wigan on July 7, 1936, Harry spent his formative years in Yorkshire but returned to Lancashire in his teens. Harry the footballer had a short spell with Rochdale in the old Division Three (North) but never played professionally and spent his career in the amateur game.
He worked as a stonemason and served part-time Skelmersdale United with distinction, becoming a coach at White Moss Park before taking over as manager in October 1974. The Harry McNally Terrace (Image: Rob Stratford) He moved on after seven months and had spells with Chorley, Southport, spending almost two seasons as manager at Haig Avenue, and Altrincham. Harry then linked up with Wigan Athletic and worked as chief scout and assistant manager to Larry Lloyd, who left in summer 1983 to join Notts County. Wigan appointed Harry as manager and he led the Latics to two mid-table finishes in Division Three but resigned in March 1985 after a fallout with the board. That summer Eric Barnes named Harry as manager of Chester City, overlooking caretaker boss Mick Speight. Reaction to his appointment was mixed because Speight had appeared nailed on for the role but the dissenters soon quietened. Chester won promotion from Division Four in 1985-86 after Harry guided the team to second place behind Swindon Town. Harry McNally led the club to promotion in his first season in charge (Image: Jeff Price) Harry consolidated the club's position in the Third Division for the next two seasons and then steered the Blues to eighth place in 1988-89, finishing four points outside the play-offs. Harry kept things together over a summer of uncertainty and remained in charge for the two-season exile at Moss Rose, home of Macclesfield Town. He kept the club in Division Three on the lowest crowds in the Football League and brought Chester back home to the Deva Stadium for the 1992-93 campaign. Unfortunately his team won just once in 12 league games and Harry was sacked on October 17, 1992, following a 2-2 draw with Bolton Wanderers.
Harry did not hold another managerial position, but his shrewd eye for talent ensured he remained in demand as a scout, working for clubs including Blackpool, Preston, Leicester City and Stockport County. He returned to the Deva Stadium in June 2000 when then owner Terry Smith offered him the chance to work alongside Graham Barrow as chief scout but Harry quit after two weeks. "I have been in professional football for 40 years but working with Mr Smith for a week or so was more than enough," said Harry, Chester became home for Harry in his football and personal life and he remains a muchmissed figure, both to the club and his family and many friends. To some extent, the stories about Harry have surpassed his achievements. Throwing Colin Woodthorpe back on the pitch in a Freight Rover Trophy game at Wrexham, the impromptu band performance on the team bus home after a defeat at Darlington, his pre-Christmas binge with Keith Bertschin and a naked Harry screaming after jumping into a scalding hot bath. His unique character was what made him so special but Harry was an astute and respected manager too, who defied the odds time and time again. His teams, often assembled on a shoestring budget, would fight for each other until the end, he possessed an incredible knowledge of the lower leagues and he was an inspirational leader. Harry saw beneath the flaws in a player and could get the best out of a rough diamond, and the list of players he plucked from non-league who went on to have long and successful careers in professional football will perhaps never be bettered. Harry was not everybody's cup of tea. He could be confrontational, he could growl and snarl, and hold a grudge but he commanded respect, and gave it back. He was Harry McNally. -----------------------------------------
A Skem lad, he made 3 appearances for United in 2018-19 season whilst on loan from Bolton Wanderers has since gone on to make over 30 appearances for the “Trotters” scoring his only goal in a 6-1 defeat to Lincoln City.
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If you are a little bit bored during lockdown, and fancy getting your teeth into some football reading then why not order some of these books from your local Bookstore. (Remember if you order of Amazon then please register with Easyfundraising, all purchases gain a small donation for Skelmersdale United)
EXTRA TIME – DANIEL GRAY Featured in The Scotsman's Sport Books of 2020 A collection of lyrical sweet-nothings whispered to late goals, local radio commentators, referees falling over and 47 other reminders of why we love football. Despite its flaws and excesses, modern football is still sprinkled with simple yet beguiling delights. In his previous book Saturday, 3pm, Daniel Gray captured many of them. Now he is back with a further 50 short essays of prose poetry dedicated to the game's charming, technicolour minutiae. From club lottos to undeserved wins, and from pitch-invading animals to the roar after a minute's silence, Extra Time is another romantic celebration of football fandom and its shared joys, habits, eccentricities and peculiarities. It is a salute to keepers going forward for corners, match balls landing on stand roofs and goals scored in quick succession. These chapters offer a gleeful antidote to disillusionment with modern football, VAR and all. They are reminders of why we care and justifications for our devotion. Each warmly evokes this sport's blessed capacity to off er escape and diversion. Let us share the delight once more. Also recommended by authur Daniel Gray “Saturday 3pm- 50 Eternal delights of Modern Football” and “Black Boots and Football Pinks” ---------------------------
THE BOTTOM CORNER – NIGE TASSELL 'Not since The Football Man has a book so captured the passion of the game. The Bottom Corner is a wonderful journey through life in the lower reaches of the football pyramid. A fascinating tale of a very different world of football from that of the overpaid stars of the television age' Barry Davies In these days of oligarch owners, superstar managers and players on sky -high wages, the tide is turning towards the lower reaches of the pyramid as fans search for football with a soul.
Plucky underdogs or perennial underachievers, your local non-league team offers hope, drama or at least a Saturday afternoon ritual that's been going for decades. Nige Tassell spends a season in the non-league world. He meets the raffle-ticket seller who wants her ashes scattered in the centre-circle. The envelope salesman who discovered a future England international. The ex-pros still playing with undiluted passion on Sunday mornings. He spends time at clubs looking for promotion to the Football League, clubs just aiming to get eleven players on a pitch every week, and everything in between. Also recommended by the authur Nige Tassell - Boot Sale: Inside the Strange and Secret World of Football's Transfer Window
DAVID PEACE – THE DAMNED UNITED The hugely acclaimed novel of '70s football and the turmoil of the game's most charismatic and controversial manager, from the bestselling author of GB84 and Red or Dead. One of Mike Atherton's 'Top Ten Best Sports Books' in The Times In 1974 the brilliant and controversial Brian Clough made perhaps his most eccentric decision: he accepted the position of Leeds United manager. A successor to Don Revie, his bitter adversary, Clough was to last just 44 days. In one of the most acclaimed British novels of recent years - subsequently made into a film starring Michael Sheen David Peace takes us into the mind and thoughts of Ol' Big 'Ead himself, and brings vividly to life one of football's most complex and fascinating characters. Released as a film in 2009, watch the Trailer HERE -------------------------------
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“The missus wants to burn them all": Football-mad collector has half-a-million matchday programmes taking over house
I have a few Match Day Magazines, around 700 all boxed up, 99% of them Skem Utd !, It does get in the way at times, as requests come in for information and the large boxes are wheeled out into the front room, have no idea what the wife would say if the collection was to be as big as Ian’s Former police officer Ian Wilson, 55, started his obsession aged seven and has built up one of the biggest collections in the world - but admits it's 'out of control' Ian Wilson’s wife is a very understanding woman - with his mountain of half-a-million matchday football programmes taking over their entire house. The 55-year-old former police officer started his obsession aged just seven and has built up what is thought to be among the biggest collections in the world. With the cherished Football League programme under threat, Ian has stashed his stockpile in every room of his home and even rents a lock-up to store the rest. He laughed: “It’s a hobby that’s just got a bit out of control. It keeps me out of trouble. “They are under the bed, under the stairs, in the dining room, the porch, sitting room, in the garage, in the loft, the front bedroom. “The missus wants to burn them all. If I could keep the dining room and living area clear she would be a bit more tolerant. “I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the passion and interest. "If I ever got them valued and sold them, I would be lying on a beach in the south of France somewhere.” Ian bought his first for a shilling - around 70p in today’s money - for the game between Newcastle United vs Coventry in 1970 when his grandfather sold programmes outside Newcastle’s St James’ Park.
He has since forked out more than £50,000 and hold some of the rarest editions dating back to 1907. Among his prized possessions is the 1966 World Cup final programme. And Ian has the first magazine after the 1958 Munich air disaster in which the Manchester United line up is left blank after the crash that claimed eight of the ‘Busby Babes’ and 15 others. Over the years, Ian, of Chorley, Lancs, has managed to get hold of a programme from every team in the four tiers of English football and numerous others around the world.
BUT HAS HE GOT ANY SKEM !!!!
Modus Hopper Random 2010-11 United and Chester are going head to head for the Northern Premier League (North) title, Groundhopper captures the day in his blog. Skelmersdale must win by a big margin and hope Chester lose, enjoy the ride Hopperational details Date & Venue: Friday 29 April at The Skelmersdale & Ormskirk College Stadium Result: Skelmersdale United 7 Ossett Albion 2 Competition: The Northern Premier League Division One North (Step 4) Hopping: I am here because this is the only league in action on Royal Wedding day, and Skelmersdale have a mathematical chance of sneaking through to win the league. They were certain to be trying for a big seven-goal win over an already-relegated side and hoping for Garforth to do them a favour by beating Chester. This match in one sentence For a few second-half minutes it seemed that the unthinkable could happen as Chester went a goal down and the score reached 7-1 here in a one-sided game. So what? Skelmersdale will have home advantage in both semi-final and final for the playoffs and Fylde will be the first opponents on Monday. Ossett Albion head for step 5 having conceded 134 league goals this season. It was long-serving Eric Gilchrist’s last game as the club’s manager. The drama unfolds Some of the early action is shown in the first two pics. The second captures the unconditional love from about nine young Ossett Albion fans, who pinned up their flag and sang more or less continuously and with good humour all afternoon Skelmersdale, as expected took the initiative but needed a comedy own goal to open the scoring after 15 minutes. A good through ball combined with an unlucky rebound led to a delicious moment of confusion between centre-back Mark Ryan and ‘keeper Ash Connor. The ball was shinned towards the goal at just the right pace to trickle over the line and evade the defender’s lunging attempt to divert it out. 1-0 Two minutes later Paul Woolcott, who had a good game all round, played a neat one-two just outside the area and finished superbly. 2-0 Ossett Albion pulled one back after 21 minutes. A free-kick was given on the right wing and the ball came to Danny Toranczak who was able to find the net. 2-1
Shaun Tuck missed the half-chance in the above pic and was to feature on the score sheet later but on 27 minutes he acknowledged a poor decision to his team-mates as he shot at the near post with two colleagues in acres of space at the back post. With the hindsight that is always perfect, it was the first “if only …” moment of the day. The ref was already warning Ash Connor about possible time wasting to which he retorted, not unreasonably perhaps, along the lines of, “Are you mad? Why would I waste time when we are in the game at only 2-1 down?” Skelmersdale had a couple more chances before half-time and then, just before the interval, Kyle Armstrong scored as shown on the third clip. 3-1 at half-time We established that Chester had taken a one goal lead at Garforth towards the end of the first half, so it looked as if this match might prove irrelevant, but Skelmersdale started the second half full of intent.
Tuck got his first with a header very soon into the second half. 4-1 The home side sustained the pressure and the fifth followed after 53 minutes for Chris Almond. 5-1 The movement and passing around the box was impressive and Connor was repeatedly frustrated by his colleagues’ inability to hold the ball up field. He got himself booked for kicking the ball away in frustration which meant his potential time-wasting capability was severely curtailed in the second half. Albion reminded their hosts of their presence with a half-chance for Richard Tracey (I think), saved by goalkeeper Tom Brocklehurst, but the general pattern of play was a tide of blue
shirts heading towards Connor. By now the noise from the home supporters had changed and it seemed that news of Garforth’s fightback was filtering through. Tuck curled a shot inches wide and Almond came close with two headed opportunities. The goal of the day followed as Tuck ran on to a perfect through ball and finished with aplomb. 61 When he headed in a curling cross to complete a man-of-the-match hat-trick, supporters started asking round for the Chester score and studied the league table in the programme. 71 We now know that one more goal at this point could have done it, and there was a distinct ripple of anticipation.
Sadly, it lasted only a short time as Cornally (I think) scored for the visitors, meaning that Skelmersdale needed two more in ten minutes plus an enticing six minutes of stoppage time. 7-2 They resorted to shooting from longer distances as fatigue began to take over and it gradually became clear that this was going to be a “so near but yet so far” day for the club. Great entertainment though for the passing neutral. Final score 7-2
The Match Report came from Groundhopper Richard Yapp You can find more details of this match including some Videos at his site HERE And more of Richard’s travels At his weblog At http://modushopperrandom.blogspot.com/
Man runs Football Manager for 1000 years and insane things happened I must admit to having a dabble at the Old Champ Manager back in the day, and whilst bored a few years ago picked up FM 16, I did quite well, making Sunderland a World force, taking Preston to 5 successive League titles before indifferent spells at Burnley, West Brom and Sheffield United. I’m now in season 43-44 and trying to save Bolton from relegation from the Championship. Although nothing compares to the epic game from Lorf Yimzo At the start of every new season, every football fan gets their crystal balls out to try and predict what will happen in the glorious four professional divisions of the English footballing pyramid. But no one truly knows what’s in store. Except for one dedicated hero among us. Back in 2015 Lorf_Yimzo decided to consult the next best thing to a simulator and run his version of Football Manager 2015 for a thousand years, in order to see what the famed computer game would come up with for England’s divisions. It took him 58 days to get all the way through to 3015, but we think you’ll agree it was completely worth it. The key winners of the next millennium were Bramall Lane’s finest Sheffield United, who notched up 168 titles, also registering the highest Premier League points total of 101 in the epic 2374/75 season. The FA Cup was dominated by Burnley, who won it 101 times - they also were the second most-successful team in the Premier League and the most consistent club, spending 982 seasons in the top flight. Meanwhile, attendances got rather out of hand, with Burnley averaging 112,278 at the Harry Potts Arena in the 2901/02 season (despite, as one Reddit user pointed out, the population of Burnley only being 73,000 perhaps they all got breeding in the mid 2500s) and a whopping 583,214 cramming into Celtic Park to watch them play APOEL in the Europa League in 2987. Imagine the view from the back. Imagine the traffic out of the ground afterwards. At the other end of proceedings, York City went 29 games without winning a Johnston’s Paint (Football League) Trophy match - a losing streak spread over a mindboggling 196 years. We can’t even begin to fully describe the epicness of the sim, so you can immerse yourself in Lorf’s century-bycentury guide to the twists and turns below - there’s good news for Stoke, Southend and even Bromley fans. Here's a massive spreadsheet of all the occupants of the Premier League and their records
SKELMERSDALE UNITED There was also good news for Skelmersdale United supporters, well your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren’s, children. As United get to spend 129 years in the Premier Division which puts United ranked the 54th best club over the next 1000 years. (Chelsea were ranked 52nd). They didn’t quite win the Premier League title, but did finish second twice and third twice. Our future supporters will mock our efforts of reaching the 20-21 1st Round proper and wonder why we celebrated in such style, because we were on the telly. The club were a force to be reckoned with and appeared in 7 FA Cup Finals, sadly without winning any of them, which was better than Forest Green Rovers who lost all 10 of their Cup Finals. They had more success in the League Cup, of the 7 finals they appeared in they won 4. United were the second-best team on Merseyside !!! as Everton fans might want to put away their scarves now, if they have been starved of success over the past few years its going to get a whole lot worse, spending just 57 years in the Premier League with just 1 League Cup win in 3 appearances at Wembley, ranking them 81st, sandwiched in between Chelmsford City and Boston United, the latter appearing in a Europa League Final. An Empty Goodison, its going to get bleaker As for “Its gonna be our year” at Liverpool there will be some silverware but 16 League titles, 21 FA cups, 30 League Cups and just 4 Champions League wins puts them behind QPR, Stoke City, Crystal Palace, why even Reading won 4. They are ranked 12th overall, but well behind City and United. -------------------------Some strange winners of the Premier League, London’s second leading club Bromley (32), Cambridge United (11) There were two wins for Maidstone and Exeter whilst Halifax, Forest Green and Alfreton all got their hands on the Trophy once. --------------------------The FA Cup threw up even more stranger names, Nuneaton Town reached 16 finals winning 6, Barrow won 5 of their 6 Final appearances, Matlock, Redditch United and Metropolitan Police all lifted the “Famous Old Trophy”. ------------------------
Spare a thought to for the fans of Leicester City who spent just 27 seasons in the top flight, their success in 2015-16 going un recorded or Aston Villa 24, Wolves 10 seasons and poor poor Leeds with just 5 seasons of top flight football over the next 1000 years…… .lets say ahhhhh ………….(not) Footnote. I saved Bolton from relegation, just, 1 point ahead of poor poor Leeds !!!!
TOP FOOTY SONGS
JACKPOT TO BE WON Back Home – England World Cup Squad (1970) 3 Lions – Baddiel & Skinner / Lightning Seeds (1996) Here We Go – Everton FC (1985) 3 Lions '98 – Baddiel & Skinner (1998) World In Motion – England/New Order (1990) This Time (We'll Get It Right) – England World Cup Squad (1982) Anfield Rap – Liverpool FC (1988) Ole Ola – Scotland World Cup Squad with Rod Stewart (1978)
Did you guess the player’s
1 Goalkeeper - Callum Roberts 2 Irish youngster Jack White. 3 Local lad - Ronan Darcy Did you guess correctly, players have played just a handful of games between them, but all donned the Blue Shirts of United, well except Callum who usually wore green !!
Ossie's Dream – Tottenham Hotspur (1981) Blue Is The Colour – Chelsea FC (1972) We've Got The Whole World In Our Hands – Nottingham Forest FC with Paper Lace (1978) I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles – West Ham United (1975)
SKELMERSDALE UNITED FC President: Mike Boardman Chairman: Paul Griffiths Secretary: Danny Roberts Committee / Directors: Paul Griffiths (Chair) Norman Fenney, Kath Fenney, Linda Boardman, Danny Roberts, Mal Hodkinson, Les Gallop, Tommy Garner, John Sewell, Mike Sewell, Kev Panther CLUB NAME – SKELMERSDALE UNITED ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL CLUB ENTITY – LIMITED BY GUARANTEE Company Number is 3859401
Quick look back at United's History and a few choice other items, Hope you enjoy