Stockport County Football Club
Stockport County were formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers FC by members of the Wycliffe Congressional Church, after a merger with Heaton Norris FC. They were first called Stockport County in 1890 to reflect Stockport’s status as a county borough, and played their first recorded game in October 1884.
Based in Greater Manchester, they play under the shadow of Manchester United and Manchester City, with Rochdale, Bury, Macclesfield Town their main League 2 rivals. They play their home matches at Edgeley Park, and currently share with Sale Sharks Rugby Union Club. Although more usually referred to as County, the club is nicknamed The Hatters due to Stockport’s contribution to the Victorian hat-making industry.
Heaton Norris Rovers originally played at the Heaton Norris Recreation Ground, then at different locations in Stockport until settling at a park on Green Lane, Heaton Norris in 1889. They moved to Edgeley Park at the start of the 1902-03 season, sharing with Stockport Rugby League Club, who went out of business three years later. Edgeley Park has been County’s home ever since, and the centenary of the ground was celebrated in 2002.
The Early Days
After playing in the Lancashire League, the club joined the Football League Second Division in 1900, but after finishing in the bottom three for their first four league seasons failed to gain re-election.
Having won the Lancashire Combination in 1904-05, they gained readmission to the Football League. Following their finish at the bottom of Second Division in 1921-22, County were placed into the newly created Third Division North, winning in their fledgling season.
They then struggled again in the Second Division and returned to the Third Division North, where they remained for the following 40 years (barring a couple of seasons).
Despite a lack of league success in the 1950s, they were notable for some fine goalscoring exploits by Jack Connor. He managed 140 goals, including 13 hat-tricks, and in two matches he tallied four goals and in two matches he bagged five.
After the 1957-58 season, the regional Third Divisions were combined into the national Third and Fourth Divisions. County ended the 1957-58 season in the top half of the Third Division North, and so were placed in the following season’s national Third Division. However, they were relegated just a year later, and didn’t return until winning the Fourth Division in 1966-67.
After dropping out of the Fourth Division in 1969-70, the 70s and 80s consisted primarily of mid-table mediocrity or relegation struggles. The launch of automatic promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Conference was an immediate omen for County.
In 1986-87, they managed a mere 6 points from 13 games and were in serious danger of plummeting into non-League football. This disastrous period was summed up when Stockport crashed out of the FA Cup to Caernarfon Town.
After drafting Colin Murphy in for his second spell as manager, County gained 45 points from their final 31 games and survived. Murphy left not long after the end of the season.
In March 1989, Danny Bergara was appointed manager, instantly improving the team. They were promoted to the Second Division in 1991, and then reached the play-offs for three consecutive seasons but never managed a further promotion under Bergara.
"There has never been a football manager quite like Danny Bergara. Passionate, hard-working and eccentric. The man who won County their first promotion in 24 years. The man who wrote the most incredible programme notes ever seen. Everyone connected with County in the early 1990s has a story to tell about him. Bergara cared. Even six years after leaving Stockport County, he still cared." Manchester Evening News, July 27th 2007
When the Uruguayan arrived at Edgeley Park from Rochdale, County had spent two decades festering in the troughs of the Fourth Division. During six breathless years under Bergara, County won a promotion, came agonisingly close to another – missing out in the play-offs three times – and took County to Wembley four times, a pitch they had never graced before his tenure. However, in March 1995, he was sacked after a bust-up with the then chairman Brendan Elwood.
League Cup Run 1996-97
After Danny Bergara’s departure, Dave Jones took over as boss, and was responsible for County’s most successful campaign in their history in 1996-97, finishing 2nd in the Second Division. They also reached the semi-final of the League Cup, knocking out three Premiership teams (Blackburn Rovers, Southampton and West Ham United) along the way, before eventually losing to Middlesbrough 2-1 on aggregate.
Jones left for Southampton, and a succession of managers were unable to build on the success of the 1990s. County were finally relegated from Division One in 2001-02 under former England international Carlton Palmer, and never threatened a return to the division under Palmer.
Sammy McIlroy, a winner of various honours with Manchester United, followed as manager in 2003, but a catalogue of poor results led to him being axed a year later.
Chris Turner was another manager to last just one season, and County, once again, found themselves in the fourth and bottom tier of English league football.
Turner stepped down after a 6-0 defeat to local rivals Macclesfield Town, which saw County five points adrift of safety and in danger of a third relegation in four years which would see them playing non-league football for the first time in their history.
Former player Jim Gannon became caretaker-manager in 2005-06, steering the club to safety. County even sustained a promotion challenge the next season, narrowly missing out on the League Two playoffs on goal difference.
In July 2005, Stockport County were taken over by new owners, the Stockport County Supporters Trust. They are one of the three football league clubs (Brentford and Notts County the others) owned by a supporters trust; a formal, democratic and non-profit organisation of fans. This has allowed County fans to have greater input into the club.
This is hardly surprising given County’s loyal support, with an ever-strong away following and the famous Cheadle End packed out for every home match at Edgeley Park. Stockport County have the most football chants in League Two, and are 8th in the English football standings, with The Scarf Me Father Wore the most famous.
Gannon’s Record Breakers
In March of the 2006-07 season, Stockport County broke the record for the most consecutive league victories without conceding a single goal. Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, kept all nine clean sheets in his first nine matches in professional football.
On their way to nine straight wins and nine straight clean sheets, County defeated Boston United (2-0), Peterborough United (2-0), Wycombe Wanderers (3-0), Hereford United (2-0), Wrexham (1-0), Mansfield Town (1-0), Accrington Stanley (1-0), Walsall (1-0) and Swindon Town (3-0), before eventually losing 3-1 at Barnet.
Now relatively settled in League Two under the guidance of Jim Gannon, County strive for promotion, and perhaps a return to the Championship (formerly known as Division One), where they enjoyed their most successful years.
However, as the club crest says in Latin (Animo et Fide) – the Blue and White Army will still need to watch their beloved team with courage and faith. As the population of Stockport well knows, there will be highs and there will be lows, but the fans will continue to wear the scarves their fathers wore.
- (Old) Division Two – Runners Up (1997)
- (Old) Division Three (North) – Winners (1922, 1937), Runners-up (1929, 1930)
- Division Four – Winners (1967), Runners-up (1991)
- Autoglass Trophy – Finalists (1992, 1993)
- Division Three (North) Cup Winners (1935), Finalists (1934)
- Manchester Senior Cup – Winners (1898, 1899, 1915, 1923)
- Cheshire Medal – Winners (1923, 1925, 1929, 1930, 1931)
- Cheshire Bowl – Winners (1934, 1949, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963)
- Cheshire Friendly Trophy – Winners (1966, 1967)
- Cheshire Premier Cup – Winners (1970, 1971)
For club enquiries and ticket information/applications please contact:
- Stockport County Football Club
- Edgeley Park
- Hardcastle Road
- SK3 9DD
- Tel: 0161 286 8888 (Main Switchboard), 08456 885 799 (Ticket Office)
- Fax: 0161 286 8900
- Website: Stockport County FC
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ticket Office opening hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. It is open from 9am on Saturdays for home matches.
Main Stand and Pop Side
Adults – £18.00
Senior Citizens / Students/Leisure Key – £11.00
Under-16s – £5.00
The Famous Cheadle End
Adults – £16.00
Senior Citizens / Students/Leisure Key – £11.00
Under-16s – £5.00
Admission for disabled supporters in each stand at Edgeley Park is £10 – a copy of disability living allowance may be required.
From the South (M6) – Exit the M6 at Junction 19 (sign-posted ‘Manchester Airport, Stockport A55, M56 East’) and at the roundabout turn right onto the A556. At the Bowden roundabout after 4.2 miles, turn right (sign-posted ‘Manchester M56′) onto the M56 motorway. Exit the M56 motorway after 6.9 miles (sign-posted ‘Stockport M60, Sheffield M67′) onto the M60. Exit the M60 at Junction 1 (sign-posted ‘Stockport Town Centre’). At the roundabout, take note of the signs to ‘Cheadle A560′, also ‘Stockport County FC’, into Hollywood Way. Go straight on at the first set of traffic lights and turn right at the next (sign-posted ‘Cheadle A560, Stockport County FC’) onto the A560 towards ‘Ye Olde Woolpack’ pub. After 1.1 miles, turn left (no signpost, by the ‘Farmers Arms’) onto the B5465 Edgeley Road. After approximately 1 mile turn right into Dale Street at the traffic lights and take the second left into Hardcastle Road for the stadium.
From the North (M62 from Leeds) – Follow the M62 onto the M60 and continue south. Exit the M60 at Junction 1 (which you will see is signposted ‘Stockport Town Centre’). At the roundabout, turn left following signs to Cheadle A560 into Hollywood Way. At the roundabout, follow signs to ‘Cheadle A560′ also ‘Stockport County FC’ into Hollywood Way. After reaching this point, you should go straight on at the traffic lights (first set) and turn right at the next (sign-posted ‘Cheadle A560, Stockport County FC’) onto the A560 towards ‘Ye Olde Woolpack’ pub. After 1.1 miles, turn left (no signpost, by the ‘Farmers Arms’) onto the B5465 Edgeley Road. After approximately 1 mile, turn right into Dale Street at the traffic lights and take the second left into Hardcastle Road for the stadium.
From South/East (A6/A523 over Peak District) – Follow the A6 towards Stockport/Manchester. Continue along A6 until you reach the major traffic lights at Hazel Grove alongside the ‘Rising Sun’ pub. Follow the signs for Stockport Town Centre along the A6 for approximately 2.8 miles, until you reach the traffic lights by ‘The Nelson Tavern’ and the Town Hall. Turn left (sign-posted ‘Cheadle, Stockport County FC’) into Greek Street. At the roundabout after 0.3 miles, take the second exit (sign-posted ‘Cheadle A5465′) onto Mercian Way. Take the second left turning into Caroline Street for the stadium.
Trains serve Stockport from Manchester Piccadilly, Buxton, Cleethorpes, Sheffield, South Wales and London Euston.
Stockport Railway Station is situated approximately 0.5 miles from Edgeley Park. Walk down the steps from the platform and turn left. Walk up Station Road, cross the main road at ‘The Blue Bell’ and continue up the hill towards the roundabout. Take the A5464 (Mercian Way) and turn left into Caroline Street for the stadium.