Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Elbow Grease and Scarification !

Well…..momentum is beginning to build and we are hardly a week or so into the current close season!

No matter…..Help the Hatters have been engaged with a purpose inside Edgeley Park starting the process of getting the old place ship shape and ready for another season!

The progress so far has been amazing, and  great credit goes to the 20 or so Help the Hatters supporters who have turned out, and their efforts so far have seen the clean up polished off in a remarkable 2 sessions!

That was simply excellent and we now move onto painting where painting is required , and in this respect plans are in an advanced stage to ensure paint and brushes are in place and ready for the Working Party next Thursday May 19, and at this juncture Help the Hatters would like to thank Paintmaster , Bredbury for there support with the supply of paint!  

And John G along with Alan, David and the Man in a Hat( scarily not wearing one!)  got stuck in with prep work on Monday morning. Alan went into overdrive turning his attention to doing a power clean of the Railway End ( muttering oaths about FCUM  and other recent visitors as he went).

 So it will be ready for Thursdays  first coat of paint ….we need a big turn out ,from 6pm onwards on Thursday  to get the job started!

We had Jim Gannon ,young County player George West and County Director Gary Burton with us this week and very welcome visitors they were too! Jim said a few words and introduced George, to the gathering.
Help the Hatters have agreed to sponsor 2 young County players in the coming season, one of whom is George, in the continuation of our policy of encouraging good young County talent. In this respect the bequest to Help the Hatters by the late Pauline Coddington was most helpful.

We have been talking to the Club and agreed to also support them in the effort to prepare the pitch for the new season and in  addition….the ongoing maintenance of same.

The pitch today ( 16 May 2016)
 You will perhaps be aware that Mike O’Brien of Help the Hatters has been working on the pitch during season 2015/16 and I am sure you will agree that those who worked on the pitch last season did a terrific job ensuring it stood up to many challenging situations. The pitch team   were out today ( Monday) starting the process of preparing the playing surface for season 2016/17, with an initial scarification of same.
I took a quick photo of the gang along with the machinery to be used....

..........and was delighted to note the first hole dug in the pitch was to locate and remove the remnants of the rugby posts!

Yo....the rugby posts go !

The Club has already earmarked moneys to cover the cost of pitch prep and maintenance, but  Help the Hatters would like to support this further , by covering the cost of the provision of one regular pitch worker. 

John Fitzpatrick, Chair of Help the Hatters, has therefore asked me to  invite  supporters to make donations  to Help the Hatters ,if they are able, to help us help the Club ensure the most immaculate playing surface possible is available to Jim’s team come the start of the pre season friendlies. 

In this respect please send cheques, payable to Help the Hatters .... to the Treasurer, 99 Cherry Tree Lane, STOCKPORT,Cheshire.

Donations can also be made direct to the Help the Hatters main account with the Cooperative Bank. Details of the account are....

Sort Code; 08 92 99
A/c no :  65333220

Please quote ` Pitch Donation'  when sending , and accept our thanks for your support.


Ian Brown

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Stockport County v SV Hamburg- 10 May 1966

May 10, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of, arguably, the most prestigious friendly game played at Edgeley Park, when County took on West Germany’s world-famous SV Hamburg.

Despite County finishing bottom of the Fourth Division the previous season, FSV Frankfurt had already graced EP and, during the summer of 1965, County had embarked on an ambitious three-game tour of Germany, which included a return game in Frankfurt.

County’s relationship with West Germany was linked directly to the Hatters’ General Manager, the legendary German goalkeeper Bert Trautmann.

County on tour 1965 style.

Even allowing for Trautmann’s reputation in his homeland, though, the arrival of Hamburg in SK3 was considered a real coup – their previous visit to England five years earlier had seen them take on Burnley in the European Cup quarter-finals where the Germans triumphed over two legs before narrowly losing to Barcelona in the semis.

Bert Trautmann

The West German national side actually had a game against Northern Ireland three days before the County game, and the Hatters arranged for the three Hamburg players involved, Uwe Seeler – who scored in the German’s 2-0 win - Willie Schulz and Jurgen Kurbjuhn, to fly from Belfast to Manchester Airport on the Sunday, 24 hours before the rest of their teammates arrived from Germany.

The build up to the game saw a press conference take place at Edgeley Park before a civic reception in honour of the German visitors, hosted by the Mayor, Alderman Vernon Parry, on the Tuesday morning.

Due to a chronic injury list running up to the game County secured the services of four guest players including three from Stoke City, Eric Skeels, John Ritchie and Peter Dobing. The fourth, Blackpool’s John Prentis, actually signed for County the following season.

Ritchie, in fact, had a couple of chances, to put County in front before Seeler opened the scoring with a wonderful goal five minutes before the interval.

What an honour it was for the 6,000 plus crowd to watch the little striker in action. A full international when aged just 17, Seeler won 72 caps for West Germany, scoring 43 goals. Hamburg-born, Uwe resisted many attempts from other European giants to take him away from his beloved-hometown club, and by the time of his retirement in 1972 he had more than 700 appearances to his name, which had yielded more than 550 goals!

He is also one of just two players who have scored at four world cups – the other? The great Brazilian, Pele!

Uwe Seeler with Pele.
Three-times German Player-of-the-Year, Uwe also captained his country on that unforgettable afternoon at Wembley in July 1966 when England were crowned World Champions.

Seeler added a second goal after the interval, and there were also two goals from Gert Dorfel and another from Pohiachimdt as the Germans turned on the style, a performance described as, “truly world class, the finest exhibition of soccer prowess ever witnessed at Edgeley Park.”

Seeler v Bobby Moore in the 1966 World Cup Final.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, though, as the exuberance of Johnny Price and the inimitable soccer craft of Len Allchurch commanded respect from the Hamburg defenders.

And the goal of the night belonged to Len White, surely the greatest of all County players in living memory?

The Stockport Advertiser’s Tom Turton captured the moment perfectly. “Finally, Len White striding onto a ball outside the area hit a shot of international class, a shot so fierce that goalkeeper Horst Schnoor as left standing at the ball went through off the underside of the bar.”

So good was the goal, Seeler said later he would have been proud to score it himself!

Len White

County: Fleet (Mulhearn); Prentis, Goodwin, (Clarke), Skeels, Sykes, Shawcross, Allchurch, White, Ritchie, Dobing, Price.

Hamburg: Schnoor; Dieckmann, Kurbjuhn, Schulz, Horst, Krug, Dorfel B. Pohiachimdt, Seeler, Wulf, Dorfel G.

More than 300 people packed the Belgrade Hotel for a post-match banquet that included a host of national journalists and TV celebrities, including many of the Coronation Street cast who regularly visited Edgeley Park when Friday night really was County night during the halcyon GO GO GO County era.

Whilst Trautmann’s connections are, rightly, acknowledged for attracting Hamburg to Edgeley Park, it’s equally true that flamboyant chairman Vic Bernard gorged on the publicity the astonishing friendly created – he even brought a red-coated toastmaster from London for the post-match celebrations!

Vic Bernard.

The overall cost of the Hamburg experience cost County £2,000 – worth £35,000 in today’s money - but, according to Alderman Parry the game was worth every penny.

Speaking at the banquet, the Mayor said: “This was an historic football match for Stockport County. Its value to the local club’s reputation is beyond price.”

Responding for the visitors, Dr Kurt Fischer said: “I think you are a big family and in this family we feel at home.”

The final words, though, belong to the inimitable Bernard. Exuding pride and ambition, he said. “Four years ago they said County were finished. This is not so and we will prove that in 12 months when we get promotion to the Third Division – and then, eventually, to the First Division.”

The incredible Hamburg story doesn’t end here, though.  A month ago County secretary, Mark Lockyear, received an email from, Dirk Mansen, the curator of HSV’s museum, asking about the whereabouts of billboard advert promoting the game back in 1966!

Passing the enquiry onto Hatters’ historians, Dirk was delighted to learn the advertisement was alive and well!

County fanatic, Glynn Knowles, who actually followed County on their tour of Germany in 1965, had kept the item safely for more than 40 years until it was displayed in the major exhibition to celebrate County’ 125th anniversary in 2008.

Glynn then decided to generously donate it to the Supporters’ Co-op to help raise funds. The winner of the auction was, unsurprisingly, Ian Lancashire, the font of 1960s knowledge!

With the poster being so fragile it was too risky to take it out of the frame so a visit to club photographer Mike Petch’s studio in Bredbury followed. With the clever use of lighting Mike was able to take a high-quality image without any glare from the glass.

The image was sent to Hamburg where Dirk is in the process of having it printed before going on permanent display in their museum.

Des Hinks

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Help the Hatters Update 71

Some body got me thinking recently…..” County must be the unluckiest team in the country” said he……and I wondered…..about luck…..
Cats tend to be thought of as lucky ( think nine lives and stuff like that), but the available evidence does not convince. Take a look for instance at the feline comings and goings in and around Downing Street.
The Prime Minister’s cat ( Larry) has no less than 47500 Twitter followers, thus must be doing OK, but just one door away , the Chancellors cat ( Freya) just could not wait to put distance twixt her and the other inhabitants of number 11, and was `rescued ‘ by a passer by a mile or so away from Downing Street, quite badly injured. So….what are the prospects for Palmeston of the F.O.?

Good luck Palmeston !

 This chirpy little character took up residence about a month ago in the Foreign Office, having been genuinely rescued by those fine folks in Battersea ……I can only wish him well!
But….having rabbited on on the subject, and whilst acknowledging that luck is an intangible element, I have to declare that although it cannot be denied that ill fortune has played some part in County’s demise , it is the things that people do, or do not do, that shape our footballing destinies! The past is just that though…the past , and we should learn from our past mistakes, but also get on with ensuring there is no repetition of same. In this respect I am heartened. Both on and off the field County have people in place with a County pedigree and County’s best interests at heart, and in the Supporters Cooperative supporters have the ideal organisation to monitor progress and keep County supporters interests at the centre of everyone’s attention.
That said….we are where we are , and much will need to be done to get us back to where we want to be, and  that is where Help the Hatters come in. All the words in the world ultimately amount to no more than the proverbial hill of beans without someone rolling up their sleeves and doing the hard graft.

`Doers….not talkers’ has been the Help the Hatters mantra  for as long as I have been involved with the organisation, and despite the season coming to an end just a few days ago Help the Hatters have been in action again.
Yes….It’s been a busy week or so for Help the Hatters, a flavour of which we gave you via the emailed `April Catch Up’ where we touched, amongst other things, on the recent efforts made by a couple of dozen Help the Hatters supporters, who turned up for the `Lit Pics’ at Booth Street, ahead of the fund raising staples…our Car Boot Sales.

It was a magnificent effort, undertaken mostly whilst experiencing bog standard weather, so many….many thanks to all of you….you know who you are!
As a rider to the `Lit Pit’ activity Fitzy, along with  Mike O’Brien and John Gaskin tackled the issue of placing a welcoming sign at the exit point on the Car Park where it allows people to gain access to Hardcastle Road. 

The weather was impossibly bad again…..snow…sleet …rain….high winds….

...........but the dedicated trio sorted the job nicely and the sign was in place when Car Boot 2 took place on Sunday 2 May.

There was even a nifty swivelling sign directing folks in distress to the toilets, which the Club kindly allows us to use on Car Boot days, but I note that this had lost its swivel by May 2.

On to May 2 then, and Car Boot 2........

I asked for angst and tension....they gave me hillarity !

...... and although the monsoon rains held off until around 11, the high winds were in evidence from the moment the site was opened circa 6 am.

There was a great turn out for the early shift.....

........ but it was slightly disconcerting to see the eternally optimistic Hopski don his sun glasses early doors!

“Cake…….cake…..what about the cake?” I hear you clamour, and indeed there was some! Yes…..Angela did the biz again producing a tasty chocolate cake that went almost as soon as it came- great stuff.

It was another brilliant effort by Angela and the various shifts of helpers who worked wonders in trying conditions to raise the dosh that keeps us going!

On then to Thursday 5th and the first Edgeley Park Working Party....

Well.....there was a magnifcent turn out  , as 19 Help the Hatters supporters spread themselves about around  the stadium.

Team Photo.

3 of the 4 stands got the treatment which on this the first EPWP of the close season meant  clearing up litter left by supporters all around the place!
While Ralph savaged the greenery.......

....the early arrivals tackled the Cheadle End clearing a dozen bags of detritus.....

Others busied themselves in the Danny Bergara Stand.....

The Railway End was not forgotten either and it was just incredible to see the amount of graft put in by the lads....

It fell to Natalie to sort refreshments at break time and this proved just what was required for the 19...

So....overall....the first effort was a brilliant success and all who turned out should be congratulated. We have decided to ease ourselves into the WP close season , limiting WP's to one per week  ( Thursday) for the first week or so. Watch out for hedgegrowers updates for additional information.

So....some dates going forward.....
Help the Hatters EPWP `s every  Thursday from 6pm

The Supporters Cooperative dates to remember are....

Thursday 2 June 2016; County Night at the Beer Festival.( Tickets £2 proceeds to Guardian Account if bought from Coop)
Sunday 4 September 2016: Stockport Hatters Half Marathon, starts 9.30 from 

Hardcastle Road.Details via  http://hattershalf.co.uk/ 

And finally........

Fitzy asked me to include this item, enjoy !




Ian Brown