After picking up points at both Nuneaton and Curzon Ashton in the first week of the new Vanarama National League North season, the Bulls next away game sees Peter Beadle’s side travelling to Chorley on Saturday, 18th August.
Simon Wright and Ruth Walkden have joined forces to compile this Talking Bull Away Guide which contains information useful to supporters who will be making the trip up to the North-West.
Chorley FC: Saturday, 18th August.
Chorley, a market town in Lancashire, sits near the M61 and A6, north of Wigan and Bolton, south of Preston and Blackburn. Notable folks born in the borough include Ken Morley, Bill Beaumont and our very own Andy Walkden. Formerly a mill town, the only tell-tale chimney left is now part of a Morrisons supermarket. Non-football related “things to do” include a visit to Astley Park (including Astley Hall), Yarrow Valley Country Park and Chorley market, all within easy walking distance. Trip Advisor also recommends a visit to the nearby Mormon Temple (easily spotted from the M61 junction). Whilst it is the largest of its kind in Europe, unless you are a member of the church, you won’t be allowed in.
Chorley FC (The Magpies) were founded in 1875 initially as a rugby union team, before seeing the error of their ways in 1883. Perhaps their most famous result was to defeat Wolves 3-0 in the first round of the FA Cup in 1986. It took a second replay (happy days!) at nearby Burnden Park (Home of Bolton Wanderers) to settle it.
Chorley play at a traditional style ground at Victory Park (Full title: Chorley Group Victory Park Stadium) just south of the town centre. Victory Park has been the home of the Magpies since 1920 when it was named to commemorate the end of the First World War.
Famous names from the past include Paul Mariner who started his career at Chorley and Frank Worthington who played for the Magpies at the end of his. The current squad includes a name familiar to HUFC fans (with mixed emotions) Josh O’Keefe.
We were shown round by Josh Vosper who acts as commercial manager, press officer, programme editor and photographer! He confirmed the ground capacity as 4300 with 900 seats though attendances last season were around 1,150.
The record attendance was set in 1923 when neighbours Darwen visited for a FA Cup game – 9679 attended the match.
Josh doesn’t expect the game to be segregated so all facilities will be available to travelling Bulls fans. Prices: Adults £12, Concessions £9, Students £7, 12-16 years £5, U11 free with accompanying adult.
With no segregation, the social club is open to all. One beer will be available on hand pump and the usual types of food served at the Magpies Nest.
Disabulls will be fine, with good disabled access to the ground, If you have mobility issues it is strongly recommended that you phone the club in advance on 01257-263406. There is disabled parking at the ground but best to reserve it.
The ground is signposted “Chorley Sporting Club” Street parking is available nearby on a first come first served basis, providing you can negotiate the one-way system. The two largest handy car parks are limited to 2 hrs at Asda and Morrisons. The town centre has lots of small car parks – https://en.parkopedia.co.uk/parking/chorley
Two handy tips for those not used to northern ways. Firstly pies – a staple for this part of the world. Best pies are from Bowens from Adlington, just a couple of miles south of Chorley, however in town choose one you like the look of (chunky steak is my favourite) and chuck the diet out of the window. You won’t regret it. Secondly, bread rolls – in this part of the world it’s a “barm cake” (as in bacon barm, sausage barm).
By Road: (PR7 3DU) 290 /300 miles return dependent on route. Google maps suggest allowing 3½ hours, probably a bit optimistic. Having done this route many times, there are two options with many little variations. The motorway – M5, M6 to Standish (j27) is the straightforward one and fine when it works but can be a total nightmare, not just with an accident en-route but if there is one on a nearby motorway. Alternative (and better) is A49 to Warrington. Join M56 then tM6 as above. From the motorway follow Pepper Lane, Preston Rd (A49) and Chorley Lane into Chorley. If your chosen option is via the M61, come off at Chorley (you can’t miss the Mormon Temple) and make your way to the town centre. Once in Chorley park up in the town centre (see above) and make your way to the ground.
By Train: Should be easy, however the imbroglio of Northern Rail (Northern Fail to those who use it) continues beyond August. Best option: the train from Hereford at 8:53 goes straight through to Manchester Piccadilly.
On arrival at Piccadilly don’t follow the masses to the front exit. Turn around and go back towards the rear of the train. Go up steps towards the high-level platforms, for the train to Chorley, the one I mention gets you there at 12:35.
That’s the only real option at the moment, unless you like sitting on buses. Returning trains involve either a bus to Piccadilly or going to Preston and returning via Crewe.
Comment from Nigel Preece: You omitted to mention former Talking Bull editor Elaine Harrison was also born in Chorley. Other train options are Wigan, regularly bus service to Chorley, the Wigan Central pub by North Western station is good, or catch a local train to Euxton, which only a couple of miles from Chorley.