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Workington AFC > Rough Guides > Opposition > Workington

Club Details
Send hate mail to:

Borough Park
CA14 2DT

Tel: 01900 602871
Fax: 01900 67432

Matchday prices 11/12: Adults – £12
Coffin dodgers/student parasites – £7
Shites under 16 – £5
Shites under 5 - Gratis
Rephrase some shit about Workington you read on Wikipedia for me, big boy

Born in 1921, Workington AFC can trace their ancestry all the way back to a club formed in 1884 that played in the town before going bankrupt in 1911. Like many clubs formed in the very early days of football, the formative years of this first club were spent playing meaningless, non-competitive matches against token opposition in front of several hundred disinterested, poverty-stricken, pale-faced waifs more interested in staying alive in freezing conditions than actually watching the mud-wrestling before them. Pretty much like the current Scottish Premier League.

That all changed with the introduction of the Cumberland Association League, formed six years later in 1890, of which Workington became founder members until graduating to the Cumberland Senior league. Workington’s official history notes that the club enjoyed a 17-1 victory in this division, with even the goalkeeper managing to bag himself a Blue Square Bet GoalBang® Netscore™. That doesn’t say a great deal about the quality of the Cumberland Senior League, but Workington don’t appear to have taken that into consideration, for after a brief two year soirée with the Lancashire League, they went running back into the arms of their former keepers, all weepy and full of bitter regret.

But, like all liaisons with the ex, it didn’t take long for them to realise they’d made a colossal mistake, remembering that, despite the few good times they’d shared, the Cumberland Combination was jealous, possessive and, in general, a nasty shit. So off they toddled back to Lancashire, competing in the county Combination before switching to the North Eastern League and promptly going pop.

Ten years later, the current club was formed and immediately elected to restore the town’s presence in the North Eastern. Workington supports existed on a steady diet on non-league football until 1951 when the club was elected into the Football League at the expense of New Brighton. They joined Division Three (North) until dropping into the Fourth Division in 1958. Towards the end of the 70s, and with attendances as embarrassing at Crawley Town’s are today, the club’s league status was in a steady, terminal decline.

After finishing bottom, the Reds were replaced by Wimbledon - who had won the Southern League ahead of Minehead - and were dumped into the Northern Premier League along with us (reigning champions, naturally). And there they remained, resolutely mediocre, until dropping further down the pyramid, eventually reaching the depths of the North West Counties in 1998. They weren’t there for long, however, and the tale since has been of a club slowly but surely restoring former glories.

Claims to fame

In this section, like all the rest, we mine the official histories of clubs and, naturally, Wikipedia in the hope of unearthing something tenuous to link the backwater hellholes of the Conference North back to something approaching civilisation.

And congratulations to whoever’s been updating the Workington Wiki page, because they’ve unearthed some really obscure ones, presumably to make up for the fact that all Workington AFC can offer are a few assorted League Cup scalps (I mean, come on – even impsTALK’s knocked Everton out of the League Cup) and the fact John Burridge started his career at Borough Park. Wowsers.

So, reading on, it turns out – and please, try and contain your bodily fluids - the Leyland plant in Workington was responsible for manufacturing rail buses. Due to the fact we have to press on and find something interesting to say about Histon, we can’t really do the research that this exciting nugget of information truly merits, so we’re not quite sure whether this covers the Pacer Arriva buckets that can be found barely trundling along the rural lines up north.

Keep reading. This will make 12% more sense in a moment.

This is something of a shame, as knowing that the people of Workington have, in some way, contributed to the ongoing misery of commuters in the Leeds area would probably spare it the smug kicking we’re about to mete out further down.

Notable former residents? Well, you can’t find Isy Sutties everywhere we suppose, so we’ll have to make do with Joseph Thompson, the English Senior Amateur Billiards Champion of 1936, 1947 and 1948, Ethel Fisher, who, according to Wikipedia, received an MBE and was a ‘writer and poet, particularly of humorous verse in Cumbrian dialect’, and, finally, Troy Donockley, a man famous for playing uillean pipes.

And no, we had no idea what the hell uillean pipes are either. So, we Googled it, and found that they are in fact the national bagpipe of Ireland. Uilleann is derived from the Gaellic word for elbow, the pipes are generally found tuned to the key of D and a full-set of these fine, hand-crafted instruments will set you back a mere $7,260 from custom pipe-maker Brad Angus, with delivery from Vancouver in all probability turning that into a five figure sum.

And then, after you’ve written all that, you re-read Workington’s history and discover a barely-noticeable, passing reference to the fact the club was once managed by Bill Shankly, and wonder why you wasted your time talking about Troy fucking Donockley and his bastard bagpipes.

Last few seasons
2010/2011 - 11th in Conference North [see full table]
2009/2010 – 4th in Conference North [see full table]
2008/2009 – 12th in Conference North [see full table]

Where do they keep getting caught offside?
Borough Park: you'll find red is something of a theme here

Having visited Borough Park twice during the 2007/2008 season, impsTALK’s overriding memory of the ground is of a fierce wind that caused considerable problems for one local scrote who, after watching his side defeat Boston in the FA Cup, attempted pile on the hurt for the hapless Pilgrims by spitting on a Boston United flag.

And if there’s one thing more embarrassing than someone getting so worked up at an FA Qualifying Round match that they’ll try spitting on a flag owned by fellow non-league supporters, it’s their stringy stream of rancid dribble performing a wind-assisted free-return trajectory back into their face and dangling from their spotty chin while they try and style it out as if they meant it. A visit here in winter is not advised.

The stadium itself looks structurally deficient, hasn’t been painted since the Crimean War and is probably about as rusty as the Titanic, but in its own way it has a unique charm. What used to be the main stand is now something of a red-roofed runt, the majority of the structure having been hacked off on the advice of those health and safety jobsworths with far too much time on their hands who object to people burning to death. Ridiculous. The facilities are otherwise rudimentary, a fact Workington acknowledge on their website. Alarmingly, the club states that the floodlights were truncated by fifty feet because of 'erosion'. Erosion? We don't want to know.

We can’t vouch for the food as we didn’t try any – last time we were there, refreshments were being served by a burger van parked in a position so exposed that punters were having their half-time tea sucked out of their cups and turned into a Tetley-flavoured aerosol by the wind.

The town
Wow, Workington's a long way.

Driving up the M6 towards Penrith, you stop off at Tebay Services. Served by a delightful youngsters, you buy yourself some gourmet macaroni cheese, the macaroni having been hand-reared from an early age on a macaroni farmed owned by hippies. You look out of the window at the Cumbrian mountains.

Oooh. It’s lovely.
You continue to Penrith, turn left and carry on towards your destination, passing through delightful villages in the shadows of towering lumps of beautiful rock. You pass bubbling brooks. Lakes. Forests. Cosy tea-shop tourist traps. Happy hikers. You stop off in Kendal and buy some mint cake. Because that’s what you do. And then you dive on – past country pubs, trails, picnic areas and more lakes. Beautiful.

Then you hit a roundabout. Then you’re in Workington.

Like most towns dominated by industry over the last century, the decline has been apocalyptic, and no amount of regeneration is going to make the people there look any more cheerful. The heart of the place has been bulldozed to make way for something made of glass and concrete and as depressingly indentikit as it is, it no doubt replaced some hideous monstrosity tossed up by some half-wits in the 60s.

The best thing we can say about it is that while it’s a lot like Goole, it’s not quite as bad as Goole. And, to be fair, can Boston boast a Debenhams? It. Fucking. Wishes.

Where to eat and drink
Arriving with the newshounds on our last visit, far too early to bother anyone in the Shankly Bar, we set off in search of somewhere to have a cheeky Diet Coke. Forty minutes later, having trawled some deserted back streets, we found nothing and made the bonkers decision to nip into a blue shack by the railway station that may or may not be the Railwaymens Working Club.

Do not go here. Just arrive on time and have a swift one in the bar. If you want food, the Tesco cafe over the road is about as good as it gets.

Any suggestions? E-mail us if you have found anywhere better.


Official site - usual gubbins
Get Goulding On - fan site and forum thing
Official Conference North guide for away fans - it has actual useful info and everything

Anything to add?
Spotted anything inaccurate? Offended by anything? Profoundly disappointed we neglected to mention your uncle’s pencil sanctuary? E-mail and let us know what a bunch of 'tards we are!

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