Oh lovely, an evening game in County Durham. One for the super-keen, masochist and far-flung exiles. The 4 supporters who have been to every game will no doubt be there. You can judge which category they fit into. That’s media team members Frank, Ruth and Andy plus Rob Bullock. Do let me know if others also are ever-presents.
Spennymoor isn’t a venue which has previously rewarded our travelling. The match was postponed earlier this season as our team coach got to Sheffield and not many years ago, our coach pulled up with suspected covid cases on board and basically had to turn around and head home – presumably with the unwell players in the boot.
Spennymoor, despite having a generous benefactor in Brad Groves are in their sixth season at this level and a seventh season will surely follow. Since missing promotion in 2019 after a Play-off Final penalty shoot-out, Moors have consistently just fallen short of the play offs. Being mid-table, they are currently well short.
Brad Groves is the benefactor, guarantor and the entire board – all other directors having resigned. The club have 53 paid staff despite their last accounts to end July 2021 showing a deficit of £530,000, an 80% increase on the 2020 data. Both the English Sports Council and The Football Stadia Improvement Fund are both owed serious money.
Moors offers a salutary tale of what can happen when a popular, multi-trophy winning and long serving manager is given the boot in the name of “ambition”. Jason Ainsley had 9 years as a player and 14 as a manager before his ejection in December 2020. His replacement, former assistant Tommy Miller lasted a year. The Salford TV pair of Morley and Johnson, the self-styled “most successful managers in non-league” lasted 9 months. After two years of learning that the grass isn’t always greener, the ousted manager returns amid some red faces. Ainsley appointed one of his senior players Jamie Chandler as his assistant.
The change of Gaffer chopping is not unconnected to their early poor home record. Spenny drew their first four home games and couldn’t buy a win until beating Banbury on October 22. Their record to date has improved strongly to have won 5, drawn 4 and lost 4 so they have found new ways to beat struggling visitors. The division’s most consistent striker Glen Taylor has 11 goals in his 25 games. He’s played every minute of every game in what is his seventh season with Town.
On a positive note, attendances have held up remarkably well. With an average of 1,316 Town have become the 7th best supported club in our division. That’s for a town of 21,000 people. Lowest gate is 1,064 v Gloucester, our match may push that figure lower.
In our previous 7 matches home and away against the County Durham crew, we’ve only won once – a 2-0 away win in March 2019. In our subsequent visits we lost 4-0 just before covid finished the season and 1-0 last season.
Admission is £15 for adults, £10 concessions. For any Northern-based exiles visiting for the first time, Spenny is car park-less but there are lots of nearby free street parking.
One thought on “Spennymoor here we come!”
Read your article on Spenny with interest. I won’t comment on your analysis of our financial situation but do have to comment on your take on our recent managerial changes. If your comments are accurate then you clearly must have been a party to discussions between Brad Groves and Jason Ainsley. As I assume you weren’t I put your comments down to journalistic licence, why let the facts spoil a good story?
Fact is Jason has a career outwith football, a senior teaching position, so he had worked his magic over many years as a part-time manager and was clearly therefore putting in many hours a week in the dual roles. As the club improved on and off the pitch and established in the NLN it was clear the manager’s job needed to become full-time. I don’t know what the conversation between Brad and Jason was as, unlike you, I wasn’t party to it but I’m guessing it was amicable as Jason remained involved behind the scenes. Had he been “unceremoniously dumped”, if I quote you correctly, then I doubt he’d still have been so involved. Unceremoniously dumped more accurately applies to the Salford Sunday leaguers as they were mince but we won’t dwell on that period. To the best of my knowledge Jason is again filling in till the end of this season to try to repair the damage those two did. He’s had more comebacks than Frank Sinatra!
As always we will welcome your travelling support to the Brewery Field tomorrow night, I salute in advance those undertaking the journey. It is perhaps indicative of the absurd set up we have that you are having to travel to Spenny on a Tuesday night, what’s north about Hereford, Gloucester, Brackley etc.? Barmy.
Final point, you didn’t write that famous Sunday Sport article about the London bus being found on the moon, did you? I only occasionally read it of course for the political coverage.
Yours in Mooarism
John Magill, current Spenny Supporters Club Chairman