Author Archives: Emmy Louise

Curzon Will Be Hoping to Edge Towards Playoff Contention by Beating Altrincham

Curzon’s brilliant unbeaten run finally came to an end last weekend. After a remarkable comeback against Alfreton the week before maybe it was time for another team to grab a bit of luck, and 4th place Brackley had both luck and a touch of confidence about their game that saw them beat the Nash in a fairly uneventful game with the final scoreline a 2-0 victory.

You can’t win every game so there is no point dwelling too heavily on one away defeat, after what has been an incredible 2019 so far for the Nash. Curzon are back at the Tameside Stadium on Saturday and taking on Altrincham who are currently hanging on precariously to a playoff spot but are only a mere 5 points ahead of the Nash, with the same amount of games played.

Altrincham’s league position is largely due to a remarkable start to the season, where they put four against the likes of Bradford Park Avenue and Nuneaton. However, since the festive period their league run has started to come apart a bit, they’ve played 11 games since the 22nd of December and have won only three and lost five.

Including against the likes of Leamington, a team they should easily outclass managed to put three past them, and in some increasingly frustrated play, Altrincham saw a player sent off with about ten minutes to go.

This recent decline in form should give Curzon, who are on a massive upward trajectory of improving confidence. They showed against Chester that they are capable of taking it to the opposition, and showed a remarkable amount of fighting spirit against Alfreton.

Back at home, where the fans are really starting to enjoy the momentum that’s been picked up this season, Curzon have a real chance of getting the wheels back in motion in their unlikely bid for the playoffs.

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Curzon Run Continues…On to The Cup Final

Curzon Ashton’s remarkable recovery in the league has been well documented, however they are carrying on their run of form elsewhere. 

The Frank Hannah Manchester Premier Cup may not trip off the tongue but it’s a great tournament for local clubs, with semi-professional and non-league clubs getting a chance at their day in the sun, or more accurately, evening in Oldham. Traditionally it’s been dominated by Tameside clubs however FC United have lifted it the last twice. 

There is no chance of them defending it this year following their expulsion from the competition for fielding an ineligible player, and the cup is sure to go back to Tameside with the results from last night leaving Curzon Ashton and Mossley in the last two spots. 

Curzon had to get past National League high-flyers and high-rollers Salford City to get to the semi-final, which is no mean feat. Their opposition this time around was Chadderton FC and therefore a short trip to Andrew Street. Which is a true non-league ground with limited infrastructure and tucked away on a terraced street, it’s worth a visit if you are decidedly anti concrete bowls, and according to a colleague when I mentioned the fixture to them, “is well near Asda.” Convenient. 

Curzon came into this game in a brilliant run of form, and this was a big chance for them, with Chadderton playing in North West Counties division one – two leagues below the Nash. Curzon came in with a brilliant attitude and were utterly dominant. Putting a remarkable 8 goals past Chad. The confidence from their rapid improvement in the league was evident, and they played fantastically throughout. The scoreline was thoroughly deserved, and credit to the players and coaches for deciding to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at this tournament, despite some important league games coming up. It will be fantastic for fans to get their trip to Oldham and guarantees a big game for the club even if they fail to make the playoffs. 

Mossley, who are in the same league as Chadderton saw off Radcliffe Borough on the same evening, with the final result being 3-2. So the traditional Tameside Derby will return to Boundary Park at a yet to be confirmed date. If Curzon are in their current run of form the Lilywhites, while deserving respect, could be a great chance for a bit of silverware for Curzon this season, and following on from a recent article about making sure that fans are really getting behind their team, I’ll make sure I’m there.

Play Off Dark Horses Curzon, Close the Gap to 4 Points

If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up. Curzon extended their remarkable unbeaten 2019, making it 6 unbeaten and a remarkable 5 wins.

Hereford was one of the lucky games on the fixture list that managed to get the go-ahead this weekend. After a quiet first half, Hereford went 1-0 up. Being the pessimist I am I thought, oh here we go, and I think the Nash of two months ago would have crumbled, however, Curzon remained composed, and 12 minutes later Lewis Reilly managed to get an equaliser.

Curzon was not happy with the point, and defended well, parking the bus when they needed to and attacking aggressively when they had a chance. Their tenacity was rewarded when Shaun Miller hit the most superb strike from 25 yards. There wouldn’t have been many better finishes than that in the league this weekend and, was one of the strikes of the season. It was a hard-fought but deserved win, and an excellent way to celebrate long-standing stopper Cam Mason’s 100th game in net for the Nash.

This weekend’s win has left Curzon, who barely 6 weeks ago were looking like getting embroiled in a relegation battle, are now sitting just 4 points off a play-off place. Alongside, Spennymore playing Bradford PA this weekend and Southport playing Chorley, some of the clubs in those desirable play-off places will inevitably be dropping points at the hands of each other.

With arguably the toughest games of the competition out of the way, having played Chorley both home and away, they have a slightly easier run to the end of the season and the playoff dream stays alive under Mark Bradshaw.

20 Years: How It Feels To Be a Man City Fan Through The Rollercoaster Two Decades

Manchester City of 2019 are barely recognisable from the team of 1999. Twice on the bounce relegations are something fans could barely imagine nowadays.

In 1999 City were in the Football League Second Division, or for those of you young enough to not have a clue what VHS is – League 1. Joe Royle, who had made 99 appearances for City in the 70s was the manager, tasked with getting City into the First Division, or Championship as it is now known.

The ground wasn’t the behemoth that is the Etihad Campus, but instead Maine Road. Tucked away down terraced streets in the much-maligned Moss Side area of the city. Rather than the enormity that stands now in East Manchester, it was mish-mashed, expanded at different times, with four stands that didn’t match at all. The stadium isn’t there anymore, in its stead after a lengthy planning permission battle is some new build housing, with little evidence of what had gone before it, with the exception of road names Blue Moon Way and Citizens Place. However, I’m sure most city fans remember the iconic roof of the Kippax and the temporary stand which was not set up to deal with the west Manchester weather at all.

It may be rose-tinted glasses, but the last few seasons of the Maine Road days were the best days to be a city fan. The season culminating in a Wembley penalty shootout against Gillingham, two promotions on the bounce only to go straight back down, and winning the first Manchester Derby in my lifetime.

Many weekends spent in my dad’s golf, putting up with his bizarre taste in music, to watch city put 6 past Sheffield Wednesday, or indeed lose 4-0 to West Bromwich Albion defined my early teens.

We had inflatable bananas, and away fans didn’t sing “Where were you when you where Sh*t” they sang “City are a Massive Club” which had more versions than I care to remember but the one referencing Curly Watts as a celebrity fan was by far and away the best.

The move from Moss Side to Beswick to Eastlands or the City of Manchester stadium (it wasn’t the Etihad in those days) saw an unremarkable season, despite a strong start and hammering Bolton 6-2, we had tailed off by November and had little to talk about with the exception of another win in the Manchester Derby.

And so entered Stuart Pearce as manager and a long run of wilderness years for Manchester City, finishing a few places out of the relegation zone ever season, players like Samaras, Joey Barton and Sylvain Distin were on the books. It’s hard to see now that a midfielder in the side would moon the home fans while playing at Goodison Park, but that happened.

Eventually, money arrived, out went Mark Hughes and in came Mancini, out went mid-table finishes and into the Champions League spots, the big four of Chelsea, United, Liverpool and Arsenal now all see City as the team to beat. The exciting moments are not winning penalty shootouts for promotion but winning the Premier League in injury time and becoming the first team to pick up 100 points.

Out are the hard Psycho tackles which simply wouldn’t stand in today’s game, and in the remarkable touch of De Bruyne. No more feeding the goat and in with Aguero’s devastating accuracy. Veteran players are no longer the likes of Hamann, and now the likes of Kompany. Keegan’s determination would be no match for Pep’s tactical brilliance.

City have gone from noisy neighbours to one of the best teams in Europe in an incredibly short space of time (via an enormous cash injection). There is no denying that they are an absolute joy to watch, and when the wheels get turning they are incredible, the balls you think have been overhit have someone waiting at the end of it who has it in control and on the floor in one touch, carving up the defences of good teams, (lest we forget we beat Liverpool 5-1 last season) and utterly destroying lesser opposition as some of this season’s scorelines have shown.

I may be alone in this opinion, but I miss the difficult years. With City’s dominance is the expectation that they will win every single game, 15 years ago when you expect to lose everything, winning a game would cause utter delirium, especially if it happened to fall against a certain team based in Stretford. If you lost you weren’t disappointed because you expected to, you’d just sing “MCFC OK” even louder. Now I find myself feeling slightly put out that City might not win the Premier League for a season.

It’s been a remarkable 20 years for English football, let alone for Manchester City. Filled with both agony and ecstasy, and complain though I might about not enjoying their success as much as I should, I look forward to seeing what they do in the next 20 years.

The Ups and Downs of Supporting Your Local Team

If I am being a) somewhat facetious b) trusting of google maps, my local team is Manchester United.

Apologies to any Reds reading this article – it won’t be about them.

When I think local football I don’t think Manchester United, I think West Didsbury and Chorlton, who play a shade over a mile away from Old Trafford.

I think teams who probably aren’t the only team you follow, teams you might not have heard of outside of the local area and teams who are totally based and dependent on the community around them.

I have followed “local football” for a long time and there are some dizzying highs and some fairly flat moments too.

I think for everyone the biggest high you will ever get supporting a lower level “local” team is that of a giant-killing. I’ve made no secret of my fondness of Curzon Ashton who have had some good FA cup runs in the past. It’s a real buzz and the atmosphere around the club and local area is tangible. Just think of the build-up to Sutton’s FA cup fixture with Arsenal a few seasons ago. You simply don’t have that anticipation around watching Manchester City play Arsenal.

The community around the clubs is incredible, match days are staffed by volunteers, I’ve been to several games where the players know a few of the fans either as they are regular faces, or because they work together (seriously).

The football isn’t as pretty as “Sari ball” or tippy tappy Guardiola football, it’s often hard and physical and can often make for great watching for very different reasons.

There are of course lows, as there are with following every team, and I sometimes find following watching National League and National League North football frustrating. Money is as big a factor here as it is in the top echelons of the game, and these are tough leagues to get out of. If you support a team who seem to get stuck at a level and simply cannot afford to invest in a squad that other clubs do (here’s looking at you Salford City). It can be tedious to watch your team nearly make the playoffs or finish mid-table when they could have done better.

However as much as I do moan at games that I’m cold or that the Tameside stadium is a tedious walk from Ashton train station, I try not to dwell on the odd frustration. I love football at this level, the rising stars leaving to go to bigger and better things, the old stalwarts who have been playing at this level forever and a day, the die-hard fans, or the locals who popped in for a game to see what all the fuss is about.

The very best thing about football at this level, that watching Premier League, or even EFL football can never give you is, you feel you are a part of it all.

Curzon’s Key Matches In February in Quest for Unlikely Playoff Hunt

Curzon’s most recent result of a 1-1 draw leaves them unbeaten this year and hopefully won’t put the breaks on too heavily on their chances of a playoff place.

There are two games this February I think are crucial to the Nash’s hopes this season…

The first falls this weekend against Hereford away at the utter beauty of a football ground that is Edgar Street. Curzon are comfortably clear of Hereford in the National League North so you might wonder why I think this is an important game. Well, years of supporting Manchester City in their difficult years in the 90s and 00s have taught me many things, mainly about staying warm and the location of chip shops in Reading, but also that you cannot get complacent against any team.

Hereford should be easy for a team playing as well as Curzon who are currently hard to beat, however, if they go in with that attitude and Hereford go in battling in an attempt to avoid the drop, they could drop points that they shouldn’t be.

Staying focussed against this opposition is crucial. On paper, it looks an easy three points for the Nash, and if they come away with that it could be a huge step to their playoff dreams. However, taking a point from this would mean a lot to Hereford and I imagine they will be throwing the kitchen sink at this game. Curzon need to make sure they go into this respecting this opposition, keeping the upward curve in improvement with their back line and hopefully walking away with the points they deserve.

The other game I think could have a huge baring is Altrincham at home at the end of the month. This is for two reasons, the first of which is that Altrincham are floating far higher up the league than they are, currently in the playoff, and a good performance against them is a real statement that Curzon are playing better than they ever have and are a team to be taken seriously at this level.

The second is that playing well would be a confidence boost to the team itself who will have a tough game away against Bradford Park Avenue for their first March game. Bradford PA are almost certainties for the playoff spots and I saw them pull York apart earlier this season, they will be tough opposition on home turf. However, if they have performed well against Altrincham it will be a bit of hope that they can head to Horsfall Stadium with a real chance of taking something from one of their toughest remaining games this season.

Bring the Noise! Can an increase in crowd numbers help Curzon’s unbeaten run?

The games I remember well are the ones with an electric atmosphere.
An FC United game where the home fans mocked each other depending on what stand they were in for a full 90 minutes, a more recent trip to Doncaster v Sunderland; they may have cried on Netflix but the travelling band of Sunderland away fans are incredible. And of course, every City fan from the bad old days remembers Helen Turner and her bell.

People bemoaning the lack of atmosphere in modern football definitely have a point, at the top level neutrals want to go and see the likes of De Brunye, Sane and Hazard play, and ticket prices have seen off some fans.

However in the National League and National League North, with the exception of a few groundhoppers, most people there are fans, or at least have a passing interest in the team.

There was a post in the Curzon Ashton fan group about getting home games like they used to be, scarves, flags and a lot of noise.

The Nash have had a difficult 12 months, which does put people off going to games. However, with the momentum behind them and remaining unbeaten in 2019 so far, a glimmer of hope of reaching the playoffs, hopefully, we will see a few more locals heading to the ground and getting behind their team. There is no denying that an atmosphere makes a ground a more intimidating place to go for opposition fans, and can give players themselves a bit of a lift, there’s a reason the term, “12th man” exists in the first place.

Curzon have an excellent stadium for a ground at this level, it’s a short hop from Ashton Train station (and Ikea, cheer on the Nash, buy a Sjalland chair on your way out, everyone’s a winner), it has the infrastructure to host bigger crowds than it currently pulls. When you get to the ground the shop near the entrance sells a host of old programmes, as well as various Curzon scarves, badges and shirts.

We are well and truly in the business end of the season now, and Curzon’s miraculous recovery from staring down the barrel of Northern Premiership football to potentially making the playoffs is an achievement in itself.

Curzon still have some tough games home games ahead, against the likes of Altrincham, Spennymoor and Stockport, who are all sitting pretty, higher up the league and will be trying to make sure they aren’t dropping points at this late stage in the competition.

Curzon have a real chance of the highest league position finish in their history this season, and not only that but a real chance of a playoff place, so jump on the bandwagon, grab a scarf and come and cheer on the best team in Tameside.

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