The Champions of the National League North, Stockport County, are taking a step up to the National League, but what can they do to stay there next season?
As many long-serving Stockport County fans will despise to remember, this huge club was a Championship side until 2002. Due to the club falling into administration, it’s been a downhill slope for the club which has been playing in the sixth tier of English football for the past six years, until now.
This Greater Manchester based club will take the place of its neighbour, Salford City, in the National League next season. If Stockport can follow suit of Salford, they will find themselves alongside them in the EFL League Two, presuming that Salford is capable of remaining in the division.
Stockport County clinched their first league title in 52 years by finishing 1 point ahead of Chorley, but how can they ensure a finish the fans deserve in their new league in the 2019/20 season…
A sore subject for Stockport County would be finances. However, Jim Gannon himself said “Only the best clubs that are investing well or have strong management and teams have done well. So hopefully we can replicate the likes of Salford and Fylde, Harrogate and Halifax, who have consolidated at that level.”
This suggests that Stockport County’s investment over recent years hasn’t been enough to allow the club to grow, hence how they have stagnated in the National League North. But now that they have established themselves as real contenders, it may be time to invest in the future of the club and allow them to progress even further.
Stockport County were very impressive last season, scoring 77 goals. However, in the 2018/19 National League North, teams scored an average of 55.8 goals, whereas, in the 2018/19 National League season, teams scored an average of 57.3 goals. This demonstrates the higher quality and ability of teams in the league, and Stockport needs to be able to keep up with that next season.
Fortunately, Gannon has taken this into account. Stockport recently disclosed that they have signed the striker Alex Curran from Colne, a 20-year-old who bagged 22 goals in 44 appearances last season, and 22 goals in 46 the season before. This young talent will no doubt increase the rate of fire for his new club.
And the manager has some strong words to say about him, “With Alex, we think we have got a player with an outstanding C.V. Over the last two years he’s been one of the main players, he’s a regular goalscorer, provides regular assists and I think we’ve provided a great platform for him.”