Ales ‘n’ pies, let’s rock and roll!: Shots @ Chorley FC

Chorley, Lancashire, England

Where?

North of Manchester and south of Preston!

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Chorley is a popular market town steeped in history and surrounded by beautiful countryside. You may have heard of Chorley because of the famous markets, splendidly tasting Chorley Cakes or even the satirically portrayed Chorley FM. But when you’ve been to visit you’ll realise there’s so much to discover.

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With a bustling town centre, historic halls, pleasant parks, carefree cycling, wonderful walks and adventurous activities, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to spend time relaxing in peaceful countryside, explore one of the traditional villages, discover the great outdoors, shop at the famous Chorley Markets or make memories that will last a lifetime at one of the exciting events, Chorley is the place for you.

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DIRECTIONS AND CAR PARKING

Leave the M6 at Junction 27 and take the A5209 towards Standish/Chorley. On reaching a small roundabout with an Esso garage on the left, take the 1st exit into Chorley Road. Follow this road until its end where you will reach a T-junction that has a set of traffic lights. Turn left at the lights onto the A6 towards Preston. At the next roundabout take the first exit towards the town centre and then take the immediate left into Duke Street. Then take the second left into Ashby Street and the entrance to the ground is down on the right. There is little car parking available at the ground itself, so mostly a case of finding some street parking.

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This will be my planned journey:

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You can see that the rail station is due north of the football ground and not too far a walk down, over the roundabout and past KFC and Morrisons, ten minutes tops.

One of the pubs later in this post, the Bootleggers is in George Street. From the rail station, at the first roundabout turn right into George Street and walk down until you see it almost facing the Asda car park near to the Golden Dragon.

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CHORLEY FC

The club was founded as a rugby union club in 1875 but switched to football in 1883. They have reached the FA Cup second round twice, in 1986–87 and 1990–91. Their best performance in the FA Trophy was in 1995–96 when they reached the semi-finals.

The club’s home colours are black and white stripes, hence the nickname The Magpies.

September 1901 saw Chorley move to the Rangletts Ground, taking even the grandstand and hoardings, and 1903 saw the Lancashire League restructured as the Lancashire Combination, which was extended in size to encompass two divisions, A and B, with Chorley playing in the Combination B Division. Life at the Rangletts Ground was short lived, with Chorley being evicted in 1904, and relocated to nearby St. George’s Park. The 1904–05 season saw Chorley finish their highest position – fifth – for six years.

Chorley suffered their worst season in 1914–15, finishing bottom of the league, but ironically the outbreak of the First World War saved them from relegation, for the Combination, like the Football League, suspended its competitions in 1915. During the war Chorley joined the Northern Division but due to difficulties in raising a team they were disbanded early in 1916. Chorley did not have a team for the next two seasons, but in August 1918 formed a side for friendly matches. After the re-formation of the Combination S. Heaton became the club chairman, Charlie Holgate the secretary, and T.J. “Dod” Gaskell the treasurer.

Chorley took their place in the reassembled Combination (there was only one division by now) with what proved to be one of their finest-ever teams. The 1920s were to bring a phrase of glory and the team was among the honours for ten successive seasons. But the beginning of one era coincided with the end of another. Just 14 years after playing their first home game at St. Georges Park, Chorley announced in August 1919 that they had acquired a new ground. It was to come into use the following year and was to be a truly permanent home. The ground, situated in Duke Street and adjoining Rangletts Recreation Ground, a former Magpie base, was named Victory Park to commemorate the end of the war.

Chorley spent the first ten years of the 21st century in the Northern Premier League Division 1, the 8th tier of English Football (divided into the Northern Premier League North and Northern Premier League South in 2007). They almost invariably finished each season in the bottom half of the league table during this period, though they did finish fifth at the end of the 2002-03 season and qualified for the promotion play-offs, losing to Radcliffe Borough in the final. Chorley achieved promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division at the end of the 2010-11 season, finishing 3rd and going on to beat AFC Fylde 2-0 in the play-off final.

After spending three seasons in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, Chorley achieved a further promotion as 2013-14 league champions, moving up to the Conference North (6th tier of English Football).

In their first season in the Conference North, Chorley came close to achieving consecutive promotions when they finished fourth and reached the promotion play-off final, but lost 3-2 to Guiseley. At the end of that season manager Garry Flitcroft stepped down from his post and was replaced by assistant manager, Matt Jansen.

The Football Conference was renamed as the National League at the start of the 2015-16 season and Chorley finished eighth in the National League North. The following season they again reached the play-off final, losing 2-1 to FC Halifax Town after extra-time.

The 2017-18 season saw Chorley reach the promotion play-offs yet again, but they were beaten 2-1 by Harrogate Town in the semi-finals. Before the beginning of the 2018-19 season manager Matt Jansen left his post and was replaced by his assistant, Jamie Vermiglio.

Chorley got off to a flying start in the 2018-19 season, winning their first seven league matches and remaining unbeaten for their first twelve. They spent the majority of the season at the top of the table, but were overtaken right at the end by Stockport County, who won the title by one point, with Chorley finishing second. In their play-off semi-final, with the score 1-1 after extra-time, Chorley beat Altrincham 3-1 on penalties. The score in the final between Chorley and Spennymoor Town, at Victory Park, Chorley, was 0-0 after 90 minutes. Chorley went 1-0 up in extra-time but Spennymoor quickly equalised and so the contest went to a penalty shoot-out, which Chorley won 4-3, thereby achieving promotion to the National League, the 5th tier of English Football.

The Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium

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Capacity: 4,100 (Seats 980)

Address: Duke Street, Chorley, Lancs, PR7 3DU
Telephone: 01257 230007
Fax: 01257 275662
Club Nickname: The Magpies
Year Ground Opened: 1920

Admission prices are set at..

  • Adults: £15

  • Concessions: £12

  • Young adult (18-21): £7

  • Youth (12–17): £5

  • Under-12: £1

RECORD AND AVERAGE ATTENDANCE

Record Attendance

9,679 v Darwen
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round, 15th November 1932.

Average Attendance
2017-2018: 1,098 (National League North)
2016-2017: 1,405 (National League North)
2015-2016: 1,003 (National League North)

The ground maybe showing its age in parts, but it is certainly full of character and one that is well worth a visit. Named in commemoration of the winning of the First World War, Victory Park was opened in 1920. The Main Stand located on one side of the pitch was opened in 1947. It is covered seated stand, which has an area of terrace in front of it. The seated area is raised above pitch level meaning that spectators need to climb a set of stairs to access it. The stand itself doesn’t run the full length of the pitch, being around two-thirds of its size. It does have some supporting pillar pillars that run across the front of the seated section and has a couple of strange looking floodlight pylons that protrude from its roof. Recently the roof was replaced with a new brighter white covering which has enhanced its appearance. The team dug outs are also located in front of this stand.

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Opposite the Main Stand, is the mostly open Ashby Street Terrace. On this side located on the halfway line is strange looking small pre-fabricated covered seated stand, which is raised above pitch level, called the Ronnie Pilkington Stand (pictured above right). It was installed at the end of the 2017/18 season and is intended to be used by corporate guests. To either side of this stand are flat standing areas, whilst behind this side are a row of small floodlight pylons with a grassy bank behind these. Apparently at one time fans used to stand on this grassy bank, but alas no more.

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At one end is a small covered terrace that sits directly behind the goal, which is called the Pilling Lane End. Oddly does not have any open terrace to either side but has instead grassed areas. At the other end is a more substantial sized terrace, the Duke Street Terrace. This end had a new roof put on in early 2016. As well as giving some much-needed cover, it has also helped boost the atmosphere within the ground. However, it does have a number of supporting pillars running across the front of it. Also of interest is the stadium entrance which has some wrought ironwork gates.

WHERE TO DRINK?

There is the Victory Social Club at the ground which welcomes visiting supporters. Otherwise, a few minutes walk from the ground on the Pall Mall Road is a small pub called the Plough. ‘There are two pubs less than five minutes away from Victory Park on Bolton Street, that both welcome away fans. These are the Duke of York and right next door the Eagle Hotel. The Eagle hotel is small and rather basic but does do real ale. The Duke of York is bigger, has two bars and has BT and Sky Sports.’ Also on Bolton Street is a small micropub called Bootleggers.

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The Duke Of York

A large pub on the main road south of the town centre. It features a large central bar serving all areas, and a separate pool room with two tables.

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The Plough

A friendly no frills locals’ pub. The bar is in the large lounge with a hatch through to a second area containing the pool table. There is a large rear beer garden with covered smoking area. Live bands and karaoke at weekends, darts and dominoes on Thursdays and pool on Mondays. Bar snacks/food is now served daily from 1-7 pm.

If you like your real ales then around a ten minute walk away on Brooke Street is the Potters Arms which was formerly listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

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The Bootleggers

This is one of Chorley’s first micropubs, having opened in August 2016 and is a welcome additional to the real ale scene in the town. Spread over three distinct levels, there is a small drinking area with stools towards the entrance. A few steps lead up to the bar itself with a flight of stairs to the upper lounge area.

Up to four cask ales are available, mainly from local breweries. A full range of other drinks are served including a good selection of bottled beers and gins.

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Potters Arms

Small, friendly free house named after the owners, at the bottom of Brooke Street alongside the railway bridge. The central bar serves two games areas, while two comfortable lounges are popular with locals and visitors alike. The pub displays a fine selection of photographs from the world of music, as well as vintage local scenes. Regular darts and dominoes nights are well attended and the chip butties go down a treat. The smoking area is covered.

If arriving by train then near to the station is the Ale Station micropub which is located on Chapel Street. Also on Chapel Street, there is another small pub called the Shepherds Hall Ale House, as well as the Crown. All three of these pubs are CAMRA Beer Guide listed.

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Shepherd’s Hall

Friendly and welcoming bar next door to the bus station. This was the first micropub in Chorley, opening at the beginning of August 2014.

Up to five beers are served, mainly from micro breweries from across the country, although a LocAle or two should normally be expected. To ensure a good range of ales, each pump will serve a distinct style of beer and a printed menu is produced showing what is coming up on each pump in the immediate future. 3 x third of a pint beer paddles are available.

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Ale Station

The third micropub to open in Chorley, this bar is conveniently situated adjacent to the bus station and just across the road from the railway station. A modern looking venue with a wine bar feel, this inviting pub offers a full range of drinks. Six changing real ales are served mainly sourced from north western micro breweries, although expect to find others from far and wide. There are also two changing real ciders. A state of the art digital display board provides full price information and real ale details, in addition to updated train times for the railway traveller. Pictures of old Chorley adorn the walls.

Fellow fan Preston Shot also adds this one:

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The Malt ‘n’ Hops

Converted from an old shop in 1989, it is handily situated for both the railway and bus stations. A single L-shaped bar on two levels with a bright yet traditional feel. A genuine free house; there are up to seven guest ales usually sourced from Lancashire and Yorkshire micros, with Rat, Ossett, Elland, Lancaster and Blackedge often featuring. Good value filled rolls and pork pies are usually available.

Also in Chorley town centre, which is around a 10-15 minute walk away from Victory Park, is a Wetherspoons outlet on New Market Street, called the Sir Henry Tate.

Though almost a decade ago now, Chorley was voted the unhappiest place in the UK…

Let’s hope it will be a happy away day for us as three points will help pull us away from the trapdoor.

WHAT A WASTE

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL

We’re sure to win with my track record of watching Shots this season. Oh hang on…

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bye

 

 

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