>> 2008/09 >> Rough
Guide > Nantwich Town
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the hell are Nantwich Town?
you that Nantwich are ‘on a roll’ would be a bit of
an understatement. Imagine, instead, a rocket-propelled snow plough
with a couple of Rolls-Royce jet engines attached to the roof, some
alloys and blue neons on the undertray and you’re close to
the meteoric rise experienced by this lot.
successive promotions and a move to a shiny new pad means Nantwich
arrive in the Northern Premier League brimming with confidence.
Unlike Bradford, it’s a gracious confidence laced with dignified
optimism. Of course, you could argue that the emergence of FCUM
has overshadowed the rise of Nantwich and you would, to a certain
degree, be right. But FCUM, as their fans keep reminding us, are
‘different’ – a little bit, y’know, ‘special’.
Nantwich, on the other hand, are old. Very old. A matured, frayed-round-the-edges,
vintage non-league club with a long and distinguished history.
how old? Well, Nantwich were formed back in 1884, playing their
first competitive games in the Shropshire and District league.
They hit the ground running, finishing as runners-up in their
first season. In October 1892, Nantwich played host as Liverpool
made their debut in the FA Cup. The visitors emerged as easy winners,
by four goals to nil, as a number of young scallywags rifled through
the homes of the Liverpool players back in Merseyside.
played in a variety of leagues before settling down in the Cheshire
County League after the First World War. This spell saw the club
pick up the odd county cup before they made the sideways step
to the Mid-Cheshire League after the Second World War.
upstairs thought it would be a marvellous idea to enter into the
FA Youth Cup but were swiftly encouraged to revise that after
being drawn against Manchester United – a team that could
call upon the likes of Duncan Edwards. 90 minutes and 23 [TWENTY
THREE] goals later, the cup dream was over.
days, Nantwich are enjoying altogether more successful times,
thanks mainly to their current manager Steve Davies. After his
appointment in 2004, Davies wasted little time in leading his
new charges to FA Vase glory in 2006. In 2007, Nantwich finished
third in the North West Counties and won promotion to the NPL
South. They followed that up with a second successive promotion
last season – albeit one after finishing a massive twenty
points behind NPL South champions Retford in, yes, third place.
Insert pun about ‘third time lucky’ here.
their early years, Nantwich were honoured to call A.N. Hornby as
their President. Hornby captained England at rugby and cricket and,
as well as being President, turned out for the club on a number
The club gave Freddie Worrall his first chance in senior football
in April 1927, the youngster going to become a pre-war England international
as well as playing in two FA Cup finals for Portsmouth.
last three seasons
- 3rd in Northern Premier Div One South (Promoted)
2006/2007 – 3rd in North West Counties Div One (Promoted)
2005/2006 – 4th in North West Counties Div One
123 years at their comfy old Jackson Avenue ground, Nantwich Town
moved to play at the new Weaver Stadium in 2007. Aerial reconnaissance
reveals a very simple affair: a railing around the pitch and one
big main stand and a bit of covered terracing. Of course, if the
pitch was actually playable, the ground might be even better (cheap,
bitter dig – ed)
the ‘wich’ (or, wych) part of the town’s name
suggests, Nantwich’s origins can be traced back to its importance
as a producer of salt for Roman garrisons.
Romans used salt for everything. They built forts, defensive walls
and roads out of salt. Their solders carried shields made of salt.
Their body armour was made of salt. Their helmets? Salt. Roman swords?
Salt, my friend. Where do you think the old phrase about ‘rubbing
salt into the wound’ originated from? Getting slashed by a
three foot blade was demonstrably more painful in Roman-era Cheshire
than anywhere else, at any time, in recorded history.
great empires, just like Leeds United, inevitably crumble into
dust. The Romans eventually vanished and although the salt industry
was still going strong as recently as the 16th century, nothing
now remains of it. The last salt-house closed over 150 years ago,
a couple of decades after Newcastle United last won a major trophy.
has been the victim of a number of unfortunate incidents
over the centuries, incidents such as The
Great Fire of Nantwich. With a name
like that, you’d be right in thinking this wasn’t
a case of someone raising the alarm after slightly burning
their toast. The Great Fire of Nantwich was in fact a blaze
that raged for TWENTY days in 1593, reducing the vast majority
of the town to a pile of glowing, popping cinders. Perfect
for fire walking and toasting marshmallows, but not so great
for living in.
wasn’t the first fire to level the town, as Norman
arsonists had presided over the first many centuries earlier,
but the town was much bigger in the 16th century thus the
damage was far more extensive. So extensive, in fact, that
even Cate Blanchett lookalike Queen Elizabeth 1st was moved
to dip into her considerable funds to aid the reconstruction.
An artist's impression of the Great Fire of Nantwich
its sweeping, wind-fuelled hell storm levelling the town, the
Great Fire ranks only behind the pre-season visit of Hereford
United* several years ago in the ‘cataclysmic disaster’
stakes – but then the town is accustomed to oddballs from
across the border embarking on sprees of wanton violence. The
town was repeatedly attacked by raiding bandits after the first
fire in Norman times, attacks that continue to this day if Welsh
football fans ever catch sight of a local lad prancing down the
street clutching an iphone.
us more about Nantwich, recommend a pub or try and obtain our bank
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have no idea if Hereford have indeed played Nantwich in a pre-season
fixture, but we had to shoehorn a joke about the Welsh in somewhere
on this rough guide, even if it meant abandoning our otherwise impeccable