Matt Waters | 1874 Northwich F.C.

NLS restructure statement

The FA Alliance and Leagues Committee have today announced that they have made a recommendation to the FA Council that the planned restructure of the National League System from steps four to six should take place.

This means that 110 clubs between steps five to seven will be upwardly moved through an invitational system using the combined Points Per Game of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons to rank teams.

The FA Council will be considering the proposal in the coming days and we will keep our supporters updated once such meetings have taken place.

Based upon the criteria set out following today’s announcement we anticipate that the club will be approached to apply for upwards movement.

The 1874 board would like to place on record that should we be invited by the FA to apply for upwards movement into the Northern Premier League then it is our intention to do so.

We would also like to communicate our appreciation of the management, players, members, and supporters of the club who have stuck resolutely with the club throughout last year.

This opportunity would be testament to all those who work hard to make this club what it is, and we look forward to having the chance to reap the benefits of everyone’s hard work at a higher level

In a statement on behalf of our board by Chairman Steve Richardson, he said that the club is “honoured,” to be considered for the restructure.

He added: “We are pleased that the FA Alliance and Leagues Committee have come to a decision after two years of uncertainty.

“Should 1874 be invited by the FA to apply for a place in the new league at step four then we would be honoured to fill that position and we would represent the league to the best of our ability.

“This decision rewards the efforts that the supporters, players and managers have put into the club since our inception.”

We will make a further statement once we have received more news from the FA in due course.

F.A. Cup preview

Ahead of Tuesday’s FA Cup clash against Warrington Rylands, we caught up with Wayne Goodison to discuss preseason so far and preview next week’s tie.

When asked for his reaction to the draw, Wayne told me “it’s one of the most difficult games we could have and it’s the exact same for them.”

He continued, “I’m really looking forward to the game and so are the players. We had two really good games against them last year and we know they’ll come and play good football against us. They’ve got some good players; we get on well with their management and with fans allowed back it should be a great occasion. The way we see it, if you’re going to do anything in the FA Cup, then you have to go through at least two or three difficult games in the process and this is one of them.”

It was clear from speaking to Wayne that he believes it’ll come down to “who can impose their style better on each other on the day.”

“We expect them to pose a similar threat to last year. We like the way they play and we’re sure they’ll feel the same about the way we do. They play good football with a high tempo and have obviously strengthened their side, but so have we.  The signings we’ve made have improved us and we want to do better than we did last season so Tuesday will be a good test for us. I believe it will come down to who can impose their style better on each other on the day.

The main thing for us is that it brings back some more normality. I’ve said it many times before that both sides won’t be totally ready, but the FA Cup gives us and the players an extra level of focus especially against tough opposition.”

Wayne highlighted our pressing ability could be the difference between the two sides on Tuesday night.

“It took us a long while to get this right, even before last season. We looked at what we could do better and we felt playing a high tempo game in and out of possession would be fundamental.  No matter what people say about how well we supposedly did last year, it all comes down to how committed the lads are too each other, with and without the ball. For us, it’s vital to play that way because without that energy, we aren’t the team we can be. We’ve worked on certain elements of this throughout preseason and I’m sure they have too.”

To get your tickets to our Extra Preliminary round tie vs Warrington Rylands, head over to our club shop to purchase them to limit cash handling on the day.

2020 Home kit launched

Earlier today, we proudly released our new home shirt which we will wear for the 2020/21 and the 2021/2022 seasons.  The shirt itself is an evolution on past kits we’ve worn whilst maintaining the club’s progressive values.

The kit features a fusion between an adaption of a kit submitted by designers Mockup FC to our open competition inviting kit ideas, whilst incorporating the clubs brief regarding keeping it ‘1874’. Once again, the shirt has been made by Ian Senior at SK Kits, our long-standing kit supplier. During the last week, I spoke to the man behind the creative process Luke Bushnell-Wye.

Luke started the interview by telling me how “stunned,” he and other board members were to the response of the initial kit competition.

“We were stunned with the response that we got, and when the time came to whittle them down at the start of 2020 it was a tremendously difficult job. In the end, we narrowed it down to two, and then one which we just felt would be more versatile as a design. Having adapted the pattern in the original design to suit us and just as lockdown was starting, I got some templates made up with Ian at SK. I had to present these over virtual board meetings and we picked the application of the pattern that we liked the best – a slightly toned-down version with the fade.”

It is clear that from the outset that he and the rest of the board made a conscious effort not to emulate the bold away kit design.

 “There’s more freedom with an away kit to do something different, whereas the home kit has to represent the club and not stray too far from tradition. I think we’ve produced something that is strikingly different, and yet instantly recognisable as an 1874 Northwich kit, and that was the aim.”

One of the aims that Luke spoke about was making sure that the kit matched the overall ethos and ambition of the club.

 “It is absolutely crucial that the kit matches the ethos of the club. A club’s brand isn’t just what colours you play in and what kind of football you play, it’s also what you stand for off the pitch and what kind of club you want to be. People know the story of 1874; forward thinking is in our DNA.”

The shirt has several subtle details to it, one of which is to pay tribute to our NHS and Social Care workers with the rainbow pattern on the hem of the shirt.

“The NHS and other frontline workers have been crucial and I’m happy to pay tribute to them with the rainbow symbol on the hem. It’s a simple gesture, but the rainbow also represents hope at the end of the storm, and when we see our players on the pitch wearing this kit, it will be thanks in part to the efforts of those vital workers that we will have reached that point.”

Another detail is the Roman Numerals representing the formation of the club and Luke felt it was vital to acknowledge that moment.

“The numbers on the side represent the foundation date of the club, the meeting at which members voted to start their own club. Without the decisive steps taken at that meeting, we wouldn’t be here talking about this kit today, so I’m delighted to have the chance to include a reference to it in this shirt. I think of it like a reminder to strike out, be bold, and take responsibility. I find it inspiring to think of, so I hope the players do too when they wear it. I’m delighted with the overall design. I set out to take the best elements from the winning design and bring them into a kit that is quintessentially ’74’, and I think the result speaks for itself.”

Making a shirt “quintessentially 74,” was something that Co-manager Wayne Goodison also felt was crucial.

“We all really like it. For me, Paul and the players we have been involved in the process and seen how its developed and we feel it captures our identity. The players have been consulted on certain aspects of the kit because they have to be comfortable in the shirt and they’re looking forward to wearing it!”

New Home Kit Sponsorship for 1874

As the launch of our new home kit draws nearer, we are delighted to announce our brand new 2-year shirt sponsorship deal with OXYL-PRO by Chemiteq Ltd. As a company, Chemiteq Ltd have sponsored and supported the club ever since we were formed back in 2012 and we are thrilled they are our new shirt sponsors.

Their main product OXYL-PRO, offers a complete range of ecological disinfectants which leave no harmful residues.  It is odourless, biodegradable and is proven effective against viruses and bacteria including coronavirus.  It has been instrumental to the way our players have returned to training over the past 8 weeks and will be even more critical once friendlies are allowed to take place.

This deal will see closure on our excellent partnership with Britannia Carpets who have been our First Team Shirt sponsors since the club’s inception and we would like to thank them for their support over the years. We are delighted that Britannia Carpets will continue to be our Away Shirt Sponsor for the coming season.

Ourselves and Chemiteq Ltd share both progressive and community values. Their product ensures our players can return in a safe environment and it’s fantastic they chose to become our new shirt sponsors for the next two seasons. As time progresses, they will also be fundamental in the return of all our football community once we have the green light to welcome our supporters back.

When speaking to Chairman Steve Richardson, he told me he was “extremely excited,” for the new partnership with OXYL-PRO. He said, “Chemiteq and OXYL-PRO have always supported the club right from the beginning. It’s a product that is owned by supporters of the club and they will be crucial now football can return. We should also add our thanks to our friends at Britannia Carpets, they have been with us since the beginning and we are grateful for everything they have done for the club. For now, it’s about how can we keep the club evolving and we believe our partnership with OXYL-PRO can do exactly that.

Director of Chemiteq Alan Riding added “When the chance of sponsoring the new 1874 home shirt came up, we jumped at the opportunity. We have sponsored the club ever since 2012, we have an advertising board and we are excited to see the logo of our main product OXYL-PRO on the shirt. Hopefully over the coming years we will continue to develop our relationship with the club further and keep us both progressing.”

“In addition to the sponsorship of 1874, last week Chemiteq offered OXYL-PRO Hand and Surface disinfectant to all clubs in the North West Counties and Cheshire leagues free of charge. To date more than 30 clubs have taken up the offer and we are happy to assist in helping local teams get back onto the pitch.”

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled on social media for news of our forthcoming home kit launch!

Matt Woolley on the season ahead

After recent guidance from the North West Counties, they announced they intend to start the season on the 3rd of October with fans (This is subject to change as it could be brought forward or delayed further).  Over the weekend I caught up with our Captain Matt Woolley to discuss how our preparations are going ahead of the new campaign . However, when speaking to Matt, it became clear that there are more challenges than ever to be ready for the new season.

“It’s difficult because we now have a confirmed date, but it still seems as if it may go on and on where we don’t have sufficient information as players to prepare to hit our peak once the season is up and running.  I think we all need a final date confirmed, which we thought we had so it removes the uncertainty that we are currently experiencing. We don’t want to go on and on playing friendlies without knowing when the season will start because the whole benefit of those games will run out.”

Despite this, Woolley told me that the intensity in the training sessions has to rise ahead of the planned date of the 1st of September in the FA Cup .

“The sessions so far have been good, it’s great being around the lads and ultimately whether the season starts on the target date or not, we have to plan on that being the case. Over the next few weeks, we’ll see the intensity in the sessions increase and become more competitive. The only way we are going to become sharper and get our match fitness back is by playing friendlies so hopefully that can happen in a Covid secure manner.”

One potential challenge that Matt raised was the issue of playing games against sides situated in a local lockdown.

“I personally don’t think you can start a season if local lockdowns are going to be in place. If people can only see their households, can they still play games and come to training or is that also now not allowed. It’s only going to prolong a season. If these situations are going to occur, what you’ll find is teams will have players at different stages; some will be fit, others may be getting to fitness and there will be those that are completely unfit. If we start playing games in these situations, the quality of those will be reduced and may not be reflective of a somewhat ‘normal season.’

With FA and Government guidance ruling that any pre-season games will be played behind closed doors, Matt explained that one of the biggest concerns for players is the matchday experience they will encounter.

“For me none of my family are high risk, so I can be confident that I won’t be affecting anybody close to me, but that can’t be generalised for everybody. There could be some players who can’t commit to playing a full season at this stage because they can’t put loved ones at risk. However, the biggest concern for us as players is the matchday experience. For example, changing facilities will be unavailable, we won’t be able to shower after games. Everybody will be sweating, which can potentially carry the virus and we will have to go home in the same kit we’ve just played 90 minutes in. That’s why for me personally, it’s much more difficult to say let’s play football again, if the conditions we are playing under aren’t clear.”

However, in preparation for the forthcoming season, Woolley said that they need to be more clinical in front of goal and also tighter as a defensive unit.

“One of the things we have been working on so far is our shape and the way we play our games. We saw a lot of times last season there were games where teams decided to sit back and protect either their lead or trying to take a point against us, so this season we have to become more clinical. Even though we were the best side in terms of goals scored and least conceded, there’s always ways to improve and Wayne and Paul have been helping us with that so far in pre-season. We’re learning to take our chances even more so when they come because that’s what is going to propel us to the next level in our hunt for promotion.”

1874 at Home: No.7 Ian Street

In this weeks 1874 At Home we catch up with our first ever manager Ian Street!

A huge thank you to Ian who gave an incredibly honest reflection of his time at the club!