Back the Bridge - A Trip Down Memory Lane (Stalybridge Celtic Football Club 1923-1976)
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Back the Bridge
Author: Michael Brierley - Sat 16 Sep 17

Stalybridge Celtic FC, elected to voluntarily relinquish membership of the Football League.

The decision to resign in such a manner created a little bit of folklore in footballing trivia history by becoming the first and so far only ones to ever do so.

Whilst the watchword of those early years had been all about ambition and progression, there was always an attitude whereby it had to be made a sustainable and viable proposition, something that still rings true to this day.

It is open to conjecture as to whether it was the correct decision or not. As results had begun to tail off then so naturally did attendances, it deemed that even gates of 3,000, were just plain not enough to keep things on an even keel. Conversely, had things been stuck out for just a little bit longer then maybe the rough times would have subsided given that football, at the time, did not operate under a clear pyramid structure.

One of the major stumbling blocks came about with the suggestion that in order for things to remain in place, an immediate injection of cash, to the tune of £2,000, plus what was already a significant great deal of local support had to increase even further. A potential solution was the idea of becoming a limited company which, if a further £10,000 could be raised, would also see a relocation of the ground to somewhere closer to the town centre.

Clearly, given the current financial situation this was an impossible amount of money to find, reportedly only £500 was done so. Given that at its height it was projected that around one in every five people in the town were attending games, which given local unemployment and attraction of other teams in the area was pretty good going, maybe the writing was on the wall.

Whatever the answer, what was of far more importance though was that existence still remained and survival had been guaranteed. For a town of this size to have even managed to get themselves into such a position in the first place was something that all could be very proud of.

The Cheshire County League was joined and although vision and ambition were still prevalent to do the journey all over again, honours and high league placings were very hard to come by. Despite generations recalling with fondness the exploits of many teams and players from the time then only a first success in the Cheshire Senior Cup spanned many years.

Stalybridge Celtic FC, from humble beginnings to the ultimate goal, was set for a new era in its history.

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