Teams - 1874 Northwich F.C.

An interview with Matt Woolley

Since signing for the club in the 2013/14 season, we’ve seen the performances of our Captain, Matt Woolley, improve year on year proving how much of a pivotal role he plays on and off the pitch at the club. Over the past week, I caught up with Matt to see how he’s coping with lockdown, his thoughts from the season that never got to be, and what he hopes to achieve in the future with the club.

When asked how he is dealing with lockdown, Matt revealed that although he is missing playing for 1874, he is still working so it hasn’t affected him as much. He said, “I think like everyone else, frustrated that there is no football but everyone understands the reasons why we are doing it and hoping football will be back soon. Personally, I am still working as the business I work for supplies engineering parts, tools, along with general maintenance and safety products to a lot of key industries, so that is keeping me occupied.”

The decision from the FA was one that disappointed everybody to see the hard work and dedication from the players and volunteers not given the end reward, however Matt believes it can give the players the belief that they can do it all again next season. He added, “At the start of season we are all motivated to achieve as much as we can and next season will be no different. If anything, I am sure it will give us the belief that we are capable of being at the top end of the table. That said, our success this season will drive other teams within the league and it will be as competitive as ever with any complacency proving to be costly.”

Looking back on last season, Woolley said he was “immensely proud,” of the performances each week from the players. “I believe everyone involved should be immensely proud of what we achieved. Everyone knows how competitive this league is and it’s a shame we didn’t get the chance to actually finish what we set out to do. Our consistency as a squad last year is what put us where we were at the time of the cancellation and if we want be as successful next season then consistence performances from everyone will be needed again.”

However, Woolley outlined that he hopes that they go much further in the FA Vase next season as he described last season’s exit to Prestwich Heys as “the biggest disappointment” of the campaign. He continued, “The biggest disappointment last year has to be the early exit from the FA Vase. It’s a competition that everyone wants to do well in and sets off at the start of the season with that dream of playing at Wembley. Next year gives us the opportunity to have a realistic go at it again!”

When discussing the decision from the FA to null and void the season, Matt said all the players are “disappointed,” but they understand the reasons why the decision was made. Woolley continued, “We as players are obviously disappointed with the decision as a lot of hard work had been done and it would have been nice to have something to show for the dedication and commitment that went in to last season. However, we are all more than aware of the reasons why the decision was made and had to be done. The health and safety of the everyone is far more important.”

Woolley, our record appearance holder, rounded off the interview with a message to all of our supporters.

“Firstly, on behalf of the players I hope you and your families are all safe and well in this difficult time. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support last season and i hope we as players gave you something to cheer! We wouldn’t have achieved what we did without seeing you all week in week out, come rain or shine, wherever we are playing! 

At this time more than ever it is important we return the favour and support you and your families! If any of you need anything, please do not hesitate to get in touch. 

We look forward to seeing and hearing you all again soon, hopefully it is sooner than later! 

COYG’s!”

Bowyer issues rallying call

With the Football Associations decision to null and void the season thus expunging all the results, I caught up with Co-Manager Paul Bowyer to discuss his time at 1874 so far, reflecting back on the season that never was and the transition between playing and management.

At 1874 we believe it’s crucial that we create a family like atmosphere not just within our club, but also the wider community, and Paul recognised the link between the players and fans plays a key part of this.  He said, “The link between the fans, players and staff and the level of support is something that makes this club stand out.  The way everyone at the club buys into the whole ethos and the sense of community and togetherness is brilliant.  There’s been lots of examples of this during the season, from the move to Barnton to the flags that have been purchased.  When Matt Russell walked out to see the flag the fans have had made for him was special.”

When discussing the transition of becoming a manager, Paul told me it was always something interested him. “Ian had a chat with me and offered me the opportunity to get involved and I felt I needed to work alongside someone with more experience so it suited us both.  I learnt a hell of a lot and enjoyed my time and when Ian decided it was time for him to move on, I really wanted to stay at the club.  The timing probably helped a bit as there were maybe 10 or so games left of the season and after a chat with Wayne, we both fancied it and the board said they were happy for us to take charge.”

Paul also paid tribute to the efforts put in from the players from last June right to the early close of last season. He continued, “We scored so many important late goals during the season that it wasn’t a fluke.  It was down to determination and belief and this all began in June when we returned to preseason training.  The players all listened and remained calm throughout.  I think there were a few games that made us believe even more – such as the win at Ashton with 10 men. The two of us had plenty of discussions during the season about how consistent the players performances were and it’s really hard to remember anyone having a bad game.”

He also believed that the way the players prepared themselves for the season not only had an impact on the superb performances, but it also brought them closer together. “The players were determined to come back fitter and stronger than ever last June and to their credit that’s what they did.  We’re lucky that the majority of lads look after themselves and do extra work in the gym.  We spoke to a few of the players we thought needed to do a bit more in the ‘off season’ and they listened.  Although there’s a real togetherness in the squad there’s been a massive sense of competition between the players to push each other on this is something we’ve really benefited from.”

Paul also revealed that the key so far to his managerial career alongside Wayne has been due to the style of football they’ve established. Bowyer added, “I think the key to it so far has been to establish a way of wanting to play that the players are capable of.  The quality of players we’ve got at the club mean we can play football ‘in the right way’.  The fact we’ve had a relatively settled squad for the past 18 months or so means the players understand each other’s game and have got better collectively.  In terms of how we work together, Wayne’s a very good coach and is excellent at getting across the tactical side of the game and coaching players to be in the right area.  I’m not always as calm as Wayne and probably get on at the lads a bit more so I guess you could say we’re quite balanced in many ways.”

Finally, Paul rounded off the interview with a strong rallying call expressing that “Everyone at the club needs to improve.” Paul continued, “We’ve said it for the past couple of seasons now but standards need to be raised and we’ve all got to look to improve.  There can be no complacency around the club that things will just happen for us and it’s our job to make sure this doesn’t happen. Whatever the frustrations and disappointment that we’re all feeling at the moment, these will need to be forgotten about over time and we need to get back to performances on the pitch.  We know it will be tougher than ever now as every club will be more determined to beat us so I’m expecting the biggest challenge we’ve faced at the club to try and do it all again.  I wouldn’t mind a little run in the FA Vase too as the one disappointment from last season was losing in this.”

Club statement re end of the season

We must start by saying that the biggest challenge and greatest priority for us all at this time is in helping stop and eradicate Covid-19. We must all adopt a responsible approach to manage this the right way to keep our families safe and get through these difficult times.

This crisis put into context and reaffirms that the most important thing in life are our families, partners, children, relatives and friends.

1874 Northwich FC recognises the amazing work, dedication and effort being put in by everyone working in the NHS and our service industries. Without these people we would not be able to see our way through this pandemic, and to these people we are truly grateful.

This week, the Football Association announced the decision to terminate the 2019/20 season at all levels below step 3 of the non league pyramid and to declare all results null and void. Given the obvious uncertainty as to when or if the season could be safely resumed, we appreciate the decision to end the season now. However, the decision to expunge all records with no recognition for the many thousands of man hours that have been put into the last 9 months by players, coaches, club officials, volunteers and supporters is something that we find totally unacceptable.

We believe that this decision has been made in haste, without proper consultation and that fairer more workable solutions should be considered prior to a final decision being made.

To this end 1874 Northwich FC are placing our full support behind the growing list of non league clubs from all over the country who are currently petitioning the Football Association to reconsider this ill thought out decision.

Football particularly at non league and grassroots level has a massive positive effect on many peoples lives and well-being and as a club we will doing all that we can to support our football family through these uncertain times.

We would like to place on record our immense appreciation to all our players, management and coaching staff, volunteers and supporters for the manner in which they have represented the club this season. To completely disregard the efforts and financial contribution of all these people is totally unacceptable and 1874 Northwich FC will be challenging the FA’s decision in the strongest possible terms. We offer our full support to League Chairman Paul Lawler and his management team whom we know are extremely unhappy with the current situation.

1874 Northwich FC will always recognise the achievements of our 2019/20 playing squad. Their performance during this season will be forever a part of our history, whatever the final outcome of the season is.

On behalf of the football club board I would again wish to recognise the efforts and sacrifices made by our 1874 family. At some point football will start again, and we look forward to many more good times.

Look after yourselves, be safe until we meet again.

Stephen Richardson

Chairman
1874 Northwich FC.

Whitchurch match postponed

MATCH POSTPONED. Today’s game vs Whitchurch Alport has fallen foul to the weather again. This weather is wrecking so many plans and we’re sorry to those who were making the effort to join us today. We had loads going on today which we can hopefully rearrange soon.

Alternative plans are in place – a friendly has been arranged against Alsager Town 3pm KO.

Alsager Sports Hub, Dunnocksfold Road, off Hassall Road, ST7 2TL. It is a 3G facility, so game definitely on. All supporters are welcome

Match information update

The Club would like to let 1874 supporters know, of the updated match arrangements for the games at Northwich Vics and Padiham. 

Northwich Victoria FC v 1874 Northwich FC

Match arrangements – Wednesday 12 February Kick Off 7.45pm

The Clubs have discussed details of the rearranged match at Wincham Park and have agreed that the initial segregation arrangements will remain in place.    

Northwich Victoria supporters will be allocated the Lostock end of the ground and the seats in the main stand up to the players entrance.

1874 Northwich supporters will be allocated the Wincham end of the ground, along with the seats in the main stand, up to the players entrance.  They will also be able to use some of the terracing, to the side of the pitch. 

The Social Club bar will be open before and after the game however it will remain closed at half time.   

Both clubs would like to remind their supporters of the following very important ground regulations

  • Supporters are not allowed to encroach onto the pitch or surrounding area before, during or after the game. 
  • The following articles must not be brought within the ground – fireworks, smoke cannisters, flares, glass bottles, or any articles that are prohibited by the rules and regulations which could compromise public safety. 
  • The use of threatening behaviour and/or foul or abusive language is strictly forbidden.

Any person found in possession of such items or behaving inappropriately, will be asked to leave the ground.  Should supporters not adhere to these important regulations, then the clubs will be reported to the relevant authorities and sanctions will be taken against both clubs as a result.     

Officials and stewards of both clubs will be on hand, to provide guidance and support therefore if anyone has concerns or requires assistance, they should speak to one of them.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Padiham

Following the abandonment of our game at Padiham on Saturday 11 January, we have received communication from the League Management Committee that we are required to replay the game.  As ever, 1874 Northwich will comply fully with a League decision and therefore the rearranged match will take place on Saturday 28 March 3pm.

Scott McGowan

The club are pleased to inform supporters that following a successful appeal, the red card shown to Scott at the game against Ashton Athletic has been overturned.

The club would like to place on record their thanks to everyone who provided both written and video evidence in support of the appeal.