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Matlock Town >> 2008/09 >> Rough Guide > Matlock Town

Club Details
Send hate mail to: Causeway Lane

Telephone: 01629 583866

Matchday prices: Adults - TBA
Concessions - TBA
Who the hell are Matlock Forest?
Matlock’s exact date of formation is, frustratingly, something of a mystery. The best their official history can offer is ‘probably’ about 125 years ago. Maybe. Perhaps. Well, fine. If we’re playing that game, Matlock, we’re ‘probably’ not a Lincoln City website, Gordon Brown is ‘probably’ a semi-competent politician and Bradford Park Avenue are ‘probably’ solvent.

After initially knocking the ball about for shits and giggles, Matlock finally got serious and joined the local Derbyshire League in search of some meaningful, competitive football. They got it, won two successive championship triumphs in the 1890s and, brimming with misplaced confidence, moved into the much stronger Midland League. “We’ll urinate on that tin-pot league, old chap!” a club official told the local newspaper at the time.

Big mistake. Matlock’s 1902/1903 campaign must surely rank as one of the more embarrassingly inept ever seen in English football. They lost every single one of their games, scoring a pathetic nine goals while shipping a whopping 130. It’s enough to make even Derby County fans weep. In an admirable display of effortless understatement, Matlock’s official history notes ‘it goes without saying that they were relegated’. Which is, we suppose, an improvement on saying ‘they were probably relegated’.

Disbanding and then reforming over the war years, Matlock competed with some success in various leagues before moving into the Northern Premier League in 1969. At the time it was a top flight non-league division, and although its stature has been diminished somewhat with pyramid reshuffles over the decades, Matlock have remained within its sweaty grasp ever since.

Of course, being NPL stalwarts ourselves, we’ve crossed swords with Matlock on a fair number of occasions, and in many of the games that really matter Boston have often emerged as second best. Indeed, Matlock’s cup exploits appear to outstrip our own. They actually won the FA Trophy ten years before our own trip to Wembley, spanking some long-defunct outfit called Scarborough by four clear goals, trampled over us on the way to NPL Shield glory two years later and, as lower league underdogs, dumped us out of the FA Cup in 89/90 on their way to a place third round exit at the hands of Scunthorpe.

But fear not - revenge lurks in the annuls of seasons past, for in 1996 Matlock were relegated into the NPL Division One under the less-than-astute stewardship of Imre Varadi, fresh from his disastrous stint at York Street. Karma. Probably.

Claims to fame
Again, we’re struggling to find any noteworthy famous ex-players or managers (unless you count Ernie Moss as famous) so we’ll instead truncate the section about the town by harvesting a couple of FACTS from that altogether more fertile territory.

First up: Isy Suttie, the singing comic who played Dobbie in the last series of Peep Show. Suttie spent much of her childhood growing up in Matlock after she was born in Hull, although distressingly for fans of comedy - and those tragic young men who have entirely unrealistic fantasies fuelled by comedy shows that feature attractive women who don’t recoil in horrified revulsion at the very idea of sitting in front of World of Warcraft for 562 consecutive hours - there is absolutely no evidence to suggest she is a season ticket holder at Matlock Town.

Not a Matlock fan
Another notable former resident is Geoffrey Hinsliff, the actor who played one-legged alcoholic malcontent Don Brennan in Coronation Street – notable as one of just 0.00032% of Corrie actors who were not born and bred in Ashton.

And, er, that’s it.

Where do they keep getting caught offside?

Matlock have, like many other teams, sold their soul for, well, one presumes an absolute bucketload of hard cash. And who, really, can blame them?

What's Matlock like?
Matlock is the Grantham of the Peak District. And we mean that in an entirely traffic related sense, because (a) no miner-crushing, despotic tyrants were born here and (b) Matlock isn’t populated by cannibalistic lunatics.

It is, however, in a state of perpetual gridlock. At least, it is whenever your humble impsTALK scribe attempts to drive through it on his way to Manchester after taking yet another wrong turn up the A6.

But it’s worth enduring the chronic, fume-spewing congestion, for behind the cosy tea-rooms and seaside feel lies a genuinely agreeable town in a very agreeable part of the world, right in the middle of the Peak District and within a short distance of Chatsworth, Castleton’s caverns - and several million restored mills and waterwheels, including the one at Whatstandwell.

The town lies on the River Derwent and owes much to its historical popularity as a spa town. These days, many flock to the town because of its ideal location, not to mention to enjoy the views from the Heights of Abraham. A small hill with a cable car ride to the top never fails to excite us Brits.


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