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Story posted: Tuesday, 11th May 2004

Know your opposition
A thumbnail sketch of some of the new sides we will be meeting next season in the UniBond League.
Note - the mileage (approx) is from Swadlincote. Directions will be available from the start of the new season.

Belper Town (23 miles) - The Nailors
Belper take no introducing having faced Gresley in numerous cup competitions over the years.

We last met in the 3rd round of the Derbyshire Cup at the Moat Ground back in November 2003 winning 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Belper have not had the best of seasons finishing 20th in the UniBond Division One.

Brigg Town (102 miles) - The Zebras
As far as I can find out we have never met Brigg Town in any competition.

Based in Lincolnshire Brigg are one of the oldest clubs in England formed in 1864.

Known as the Zebras, Brig have done well in cup competitions notably winning the FA Vase in 1995-96 season beating Clitheroe 3-0 at Wembley Stadium.

In 2001-2002 the Zebras won their way to the FA Cup 1st round proper losing to Tranmere Rovers 4-1.

2003-2004 they finished 3rd in the Northern Counties League East.

Chorley (98 miles) - The Magpies
We last met Chorley in October in the Preliminary round of the FA Trophy winning 2-1 with Leon Doughty and Steve Lenagh getting the goals.

Chorley, the soccer arm of Chorley Sporting Club, an organisation that also includes Chorley Lynx Rugby League Football Club, was founded as a rugby club in and officially switched to association football in 1883. They joined the Lancashire Junior League in season 1889/90.

In 1968 they became founder members of the Northern Premier League left in 1969 only to re-join in for the 1970-71 season.

1972-73 saw them in the Cheshire County League where they remained until 1982-83 when they re-joined Northern Premier League.

1988-89 Chorley were promoted to the Football Conference after winning the Northern League Championship only to be relegated back to the Northern Premier after just one season.

Chorley lost their Premier status at the end of the 1998-99 season relegated to Division One.

2003-2004 Chorley finished 18th in the UniBond Division One.

Clitheroe (98 miles) - The Blues
The Lancashire based club was formed as Clitheroe Central in 1877 and played in the Lancashire leagues until the Lancashire Combination amalgamated with the Cheshire County League to become the North West Counties League in 1982-83.

2003-2004 Clitheroe became champions of the North West Counties League.

Colwyn Bay (115 miles) - The Bay
Formed over 100 years ago little is known of the early history.

Colwyn were members of North Wales Football Combination in the late 1920's and in 1931 joined the Birmingham & District League. Five years later they joined the Welsh League (North).

In the 1990's Bay joined the Northern Premier League and kept that status until 2002-2003 when they were relegated for the first time in their history.

2003-2004 Colwyn Bay finished 16th in the UniBond Division One.

Eastwood Town (31 miles) - The Badgers
Eastwood Town have been old adversaries when we were both members of the Central Alliance Premier and East Midlands Regional Leagues in the 60's.

The last game we played was at Eastwood in the FA Cup Preliminary round on 21st August 1999 when we lost 1-0.
2003-2004 Eastwood finished as runners-up in the Northern Counties East League.

Kendal Town (146 miles) - Town
The longest journey for a league match will be to Kendal Town in Cumbria.

Originally formed as Netherfield AFC and playing in the Lancashire Leagues.

In 1968 they became a founder member of the Northern Premier League. However, the 1970s were not kind to Netherfield as they languished around the bottom of the Northern Premier League for most of the decade and in 1987 joined the newly formed Northern League Division One.

In 2000 the club changed its name to Kendal Town FC.

2003-2004 Kendal finished 21st in the UniBond Division One.

Kidsgrove Athletic (43 miles) - The Grove
A club playing under the same name of Kidsgrove Athletic was in existence at the turn of the century. However, the present club in 1952 playing in the Staffordshire League and then the Mid Cheshire League.

In 1991 Kidsgrove joined the North West Counties League and Division One of that league in 1992-93.

In 1997/98 the club won the championship and League Challenge Cup and reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase.

In 2002-2003 Kidsgrove joined the UniBond Division One narrowly avoiding relegation and they continued to struggle finishing bottom of the league in 2003-2004.

However, due to the re-structuring they avoided relegation.

Mossley (90 miles) - Lilywhites
Mossley were formed in 1903 as Park Villa competing in local competitions. After one season the club's name was changed to Mossley Juniors and again in 1909 they became Mossley AFC.

After more than fifty years in the Cheshire League, the Lilywhites were elected to the Northern Premier League in 1972.

In 1995 Mossley were relegated to North West Counties League and in 2003-2004 they finished runners-up gaining promotion.

North Ferriby United (114 miles) - United
North Ferriby is located 8 miles west of Hull. They were formed in 1934 playing in the local East Riding Church League and, in 1938, they won the Division One title.
The club was re-formed after the Second World War joining the East Riding Amateur League.

In 1982 they joined the newly formed Northern Counties East League, finishing as runners-op in Division One North.
1996/97 saw them appear in the F.A. Vase Final at Wembley Stadium losing 3-0 to Whitby Town.

In 1999/2000 season they won the Northern Counties East League Championship gaining promotion to the UniBond League.
2003-2004 North Ferriby finished 17th in Division One.

Ossett Albion (88 miles) - Albion
Ossett Albion were formed as a junior club in 1944 playing in local leagues.

In 1956 they applied to join Yorkshire League Division 2 and in 1982 became founder members of the Northern Counties East League.

20001 2002 saw Albion promoted to the UniBond Division One but were relegated at the end of that season. But in 2003-2004 Ossett Albion became champions of that league gaining promotion to the UniBond League once more.

Ossett Town (88 miles) - Town
Ossett Town was founded in 1936 playing in local leagues.
In 1982 they joined Division 2 of the newly formed Northern Counties East League.

During the 1990's they gained successive promotions culminating in 1999 when they gained promotion to the UniBond League finishing as runners-up in Division One However, they were denied promotion to the Premier Division due to ground grading.

2003-2004 Town finished 14th in the UniBond Division One.

Rossendale United (105 miles) - The Stags
Formed in 1898 playing in the Lancashire Combination. They remained in that league until 1970 when they joined the Cheshire League winning it at the first attempt.

Also in the early 70's they reached the 2nd round of the FA Cup in 1971-72 being beaten by Bolton Wanderers and the 1st round in 1975-76 beaten by Shrewsbury Town.

In 1982 Rossendale United became founder members of the North West Counties Football League being placed in the Second Division due to ground grading.

In 1988-89 United won the league and were promoted to the Northern League Division One.

1992-93 saw them relegated to North West Counties Football League. In 2000-01 they were again promoted to the UniBond League.

2003-2004 United finished 15th in Division One.

Spalding United (72 miles) - The Tulips
Gresley Rovers and Spalding United last met in league competition back in 1960-61 season when we played in the Central Alliance Division 1 (South). Spalding handed out a stern footballing lesson to Gresley beating them home and away by 6-0 and 8-0 respectively.

The Club was formed back in 1921 playing in the Spalding League.

In the 1950's Spalding played in the United Counties League winning the league in 1955 after being runners-up for 3 consecutive seasons.

They joined the Eastern Counties League before joining the Central Alliance League in 1960. They stayed there for just one season before joining the Midland League when it reformed in 1961.

In 1968 they rejoined the United Counties League and changed competitions once more in 1982, joining the Northern Counties (East) League. They rejoined the United Counties League in 1986.

In 1989 they were promoted to the Southern League Midland Division. 1990-91 saw them relegated to the United Counties League winning the title in 1998-99.

This time they were promoted to the Southern League Eastern Division. Unfortunately their stay didn't last long and they found themselves back in the United Counties League once more.

2003-2004 saw The Tulips gain promotion to UniBond Division One as champions of the UCL.

Stocksbridge Park Steels (75 miles) - Steels
Stocksbridge Park Steels was created in 1986 with the merger of Stocksbridge Works F.C. and another Stocksbridge Club Oxley Park Sports F.C.

They won the Northern Counties East Premier Division in 1993-94 but were not allowed promotion due to ground grading.

However, in 1995-96 they were promoted as runners-up and have remained in the UniBond League since.

2003-2004 they finished 19th in Division One.

Warrington Town (72 miles) - The Town
We played Warrington (away) in the FA Vase on 24th January 1987 losing 4-3. Brian Beresford (2)and Martin Devaney got our goals. A report of this match is in the archive.
Warrington began life as Stockton Heath Albion in 1949 playing in the local league.

1953 saw them join the Mid Cheshire league and in 1961 they changed names to Warrington Town.

They joined the North West Counties League at its formation in 1982.

2003-2004 although only reaching 5th place in their league they were promoted to the UniBond Division One.

Willenhall Town (31 miles) - Reds
To fans of a certain age Willenhall will need no introduction, as they were rivals of Gresley back in the West Midlands League days.

The last league games against Willenhall were in 1981-82 season when we beat them at the Moat Ground on 25th August 3-2 with Kim White (2) and Geoff Kemm getting the goals but Willenhall got their revenge beating us 2-1 on 23 January 1982. That was the first game Gresley had played since December 5th due to the severe weather conditions. Chris Howitt got our goal.

Founded in 1953 they first played in the Wolverhampton League Premier Division remaining in that league until the end of the 1967/68 season when they joined the Staffordshire County League.

In 1974/75 Willenhall joined the newly-formed Staffordshire Premier League 1975-76 Promotion saw them promoted to the West Midlands (Regional) League Division One winning the league at their first attempt and with it promotion to the Premier League.

In 1980-81 they reached the final of the FA Vase at Wembley losing to Whickham in extra time.

1982-83 saw them join the Southern League Midland Division being promoted as champions in 1983-84.

For the next few seasons their fortunes fluctuated moving between the Premier and Midland Divisions.

But in 1990-91 the were relegated from the Southern League back into the West Midlands Premier were they remained until joining the newly founded Midland Alliance in 1994-94.
2003-2004 saw them finish runners-up and promoted to the UniBond Division One.

Woodley Sports (64 miles)
Woodley Sports Social club was formed in 1970 as Woodley Athletic and played in the Lancashire and Cheshire league.

In 1997 they joined the North West Counties Division 2 and were promoted to Division 1 in 1999-2000 as champions.

2003-2004 saw them promoted to UniBond Division One although only finishing in 4th position in their league.
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