|Date||Saturday 26th January 2008|
|League||North West Counties Division Two (Vodkat)|
|Result||New Mills AFC||
|Meakin 23 Bingham 43 Ryan 85||
|Entrance £4 Programme £1.00 Hot drinks 60p|
New Mills have played competitive football for over 120 years, playing in Manchester and Cheshire Leagues in the early years and often winning the Derbyshire Cup. The latest incarnation stems from Birch Vale and Thomsett FC, who used the Church Lane ground, after New Mills disbanded in 1983. Birch Vale and Thomsett FC shortly became New Mills FC.
New Mills, the place, is a small town in the High Peak,
the north west extremity of the Peak District. It houses approximately 10,000 residents. It’s name is derived from a corn mill built on the River Sett in the town, and the factories that grew up around this. It is now pretty much a commuter town for Manchester. It’s claim to fame is Parma Violet sweets and drumstick lollies which are made in the town’s sweet factory and largest employer, Swizzels Matlow. ( I remember those drumstick lollies from childhood – they were disgusting, even then). It is also home to the Campaign for Plain English, which goes on in this fine building.
New Mills FC were a long way top of the Vodkat Division Two (North West Counties), having suffered their first defeat in their last game at home to Oldham Town. Before then they had won 14 out of their 17 league games, letting in a stingy 13 goals. They were also attracting big crowds for step six, well in excess of 100, and today a tad over 200.Peak football was on a high, and not just in terms of altitude this time.
Today’s visitors were Stone Dominoes, who were back at their proper home in Yarnfield this season after money was spent in the summer on floodlights and a new pitch and stand. They had been relegated bottom of the Vodkat One, though, and were now trying to consolidate things.
It is a pleasant journey to the High Peak through Leek and Buxton, skirting the Peak District. I arrived in plenty of time to have a wander round, have a pint and sausage and chips from a chippy. The town was very empty for a Saturday afternoon and had the same insular laid back feel as other towns in the peak. The tidal wave of fast living hasn’t yet washed up into the hills of the peak. I had a delicious pint of Robinson’s Tempus Fugit in the Royal Oak on the main drag.
The ground is not far from the centre opposite the huge and imposing St George’s Church. It has a large car park and also an all-weather five-a-side pitch. The clubhouse sits behind one goal atop a natural bank. They could do with shortening the pitch (actually just shortening the goals would do), because the net at this end goes a yard up the bank!
The clubhouse was welcoming, with the bar to the left and a separate coffee and snack bar to the right. It was packed and had the buzz befitting a team top of the league. The main (and only) stand was a covered stand and terrace down the left side, looking from the clubhouse. There were four rows of benches split on two sides, at a guess holding about 13 people on each, making for a seated capacity of 104. Next to this was covered terracing.
The home dugouts were this side, their white breeze blocks looking more like public urinals. The away dugouts were on the other side (rare). It was standing near to the home dugouts that I noticed the New Mills manager, who reminded me of José Mourinho, albeit a Marks and Spencers version. He was a handsome middle-aged man with greying neatly coiffured hair, a long grey coat and polished black shoes. The way he stepped restlessly , hands in pockets, about his area with a small scowl, brought to mind the ‘special one’.
Behind the other goal was surely the smallest stand in the world. It was a covered all-seater stand, capacity: 1.
There’s no one there! (not surprising considering the pool of water.)
The other long side was just one step standing with the away dugouts… oh and a water butt. The five a side pitch backed onto this side, which explained the occasion thwack right near your ear of someone hammering the ball into the wood panelling that surrounded most of the ground. It was quite disconcerting the first time it happened!
The other side with the five-a-side pitch and the back of the nets riding up the bank.
New Mills were excellent in the first half, fully deserving a 2-0 lead. You could easily see why they were top of the league. They seemed to be first to every ball, had some great individual skill and worked hard for each other throughout. The result never looked in doubt, until about half way through the second period they started to lose their cool for the first time. Stone got a goal back and were playing with a new found confidence for about 15 minutes but then a really soft third for New Mills killed it.
Barring a disaster New Mills should walk promotion the way they played. The support was fantastic, unusually high for step six and certainly stands then in good stead for the next step up.
New Mills photo album
4 thoughts on “New Mills”
Actually I quite liked them Drumstick lollies as a kid! Great photos sir.
Thankyou Mr James!
just chanced on this entry today (as a Northwich Vics fan). Was born in New Mills so it brought back memories, though only lived there 2 years, and also my mum worked in Matlow’s back in the 1930s.
Just thought i would correct one or two points.
It’s name is derived from a corn mill built on the River Sett in the town – would be COTTON mills
The clubhouse sits behind one goal atop a natural bank. – would be an UN NATURAL bank (the pitch was lowered and levelled 18 months before)
the smallest stand in the world – is a cover for the benefit of the ball ball/girl
We did finish top by some distance, the last two home games drew in over 500 making our average for the season 180 per home game, the highest in both leagues of the North West Counties.