Tag: Northwich Victoria

Keith Alexander: 1956-2010

At the time of writing, England are about to kick off against Egypt in their first friendly match of 2010. This is football as a peculiar mix of Hollywood and pantomime, a story that often seems to have very little to do with what goes on during the matches themselves. It’s a world that frequently feels alien. Away from this, however, there is a whole other world of football going on, a world in which people give up their youth, their other aspirations, relationships and families because they believe in the game. Often away from the spotlight and the wilder excesses of the game, the people that inhabit this world are often easily dismissed as “journeymen”, but they are crucial to our narrative of football. We lost one of them last night. Neither Keith Alexander’s playing career nor his managerial career scaled, as some might put it, the heights. As a player, he spent fourteen years in non-league football before going on to enjoy something of an Indian summer in the Football League with Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town, whilst winning a handful of caps at international level for St Lucia. It was not, however, his playing career that marks out his significance in the game, rather the managerial career that followed it, a managerial career that lasted from 1993 until right up until his death at the tragically...

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Match Of The Week: Northwich Victoria 1-0 Charlton

Charlton were in the Premier League not so long ago, but their decline has been into sharp focus by a trip to Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup this afternoon. Northwich, meanwhile, have endured a hideous twelve months and their continuing existence is little short of a miracle.

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Vics Back From The Brink. Again.

Football supporters perusing the website of the commercial and retail property company GVA Grimley might have recently spotted something that would take their fancy. “The property comprises a purpose built non-league football stadium. The stadium, its immediate surroundings and surfaced car parking stand on 1.93 hectares (4.78 acres) of the site. The remainder being currently undeveloped, is loose stone covered, resulting from derelict land reclamation carried out by Cheshire County Council”, the accompanying blurb says. The site is a little less forthcoming about one of the other minor details, although it does mention it in passing. The site is occupied by a seemingly perennially cash-starved non-league club called Northwich Victoria have, yet again, survived the axe at the last minute. The last time we reported from Northwich, the club was playing its home matches at nearby Altrincham after the owner of The Victoria Stadium, former chairman Mike Connett, locked the gates, cut off the electricity and barred the club for entering in display of such extraordinary petulance that the most rational explanation for it would have been to assume that he was having some sort of nervous breakdown. Connett now seems to be removed from the equation. The stadium was finally taken over by Deloitte & Touche in February after Connett’s company, Beaconet, was wound up after failing to pay a five figure sum owed to the Royal Bank...

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Sitting Tenants

It was one of those facts that everyone knew. The Drill Field, home of Northwich Victoria, was the oldest continually used football stadium in the world. Indeed, the Vics even managed a couple of years in the Football League there in the 1890s. However, they decided to leave for a new stadium, The Victoria Stadium, in 2005, and it’s probably fair to say that this is decision that many people at the club have come to regret. The Victoria Stadium has hung like a millstone around the club’s neck over the last three and a half years, and this week the crisis turned into a farce with possibly the most petulant behaviour ever recorded by someone involved in the management of a club. In all honesty, the warning signs were there from the beginning. It was pretty obvious from the outset that chairman Mike Connett couldn’t really give much of a damn about the club, frequently describing Victoria Stadium as his “pension fund”, having swiftly moved ownership of it from the club itself to a holding company, Beaconnett, which he owned. Northwich effectively became tenants at their own stadium, with a twenty-five year long lease to play there. There was, however, onw small problem with this. Connett couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay the bills. He offloaded the club itself to local businessman Jim Rushe, although he did, of course, keep...

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