Hello, welcome to this new website which will cover Ramsbottom United’s statistics and records and will look through some of the players who have played for our great club over the years. I hope you enjoy it.
My Ramsbottom United story is something of a strange one but, like so many stories involving the club, it heavily involves our Chairman and founder Harry Williams.
It all started for me in 2007 when my father, Victor and I bumped into Harry in the Mason Arms. Dad was scoring for Ramsbottom Cricket Club having moved up to be closer to me after I moved north in 2003 and was living in Summerseat. Mum, Dad and sister found a place in Bury and Dad, who had scored for Hampshire CCC for 31 years, started scoring for the 1st XI on the other side of the fence. We saw Harry a few times and he mentioned, in passing, just as the 2007/08 season was starting that we should come along and watch the football team.
We were much more rugby people, having watched Bath and all manner of local rugby back in Hampshire before we moved up. We watched Rossendale RUFC a few times but decided, after a particularly very cold trip up to their ground, to give Rammy a try. We weren’t committed supporters, just passing followers really. If there was nothing better to do, we would wrap up warm and head to the Riverside or wherever the Rams were at and have an afternoon out.
As any Rammy supporter will know, once you go and watch, you do get rather hooked and, given our history of being ‘do-ers’, the opportunity came along to take over the Ramsbottom United FC website, which has sadly fallen behind and needed a bit of TLC. And the rest, as they say, is history!
I moved back to Southampton in 2010 but carried on supporting the Rams, becoming programme editor, photographer, twitter operator when twitter become a thing and general helper, getting to know so many great people over the last 13 years or so. The early days watching were a bit of a challenge as we stumbled from one ordinary season to another ordinary season. Things changed when Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley came in and took over the joint managerial reigns. I do remember running a poll on the website at the time whether people thought it was a good idea or not that they should be given the position and it was 50-50. A 0-5 loss on the opening day of that 2009/10 season had tongue wagging that the 50% of people who thought it was a good idea were barking mad!
They transformed our club from generally no-hoper also-rans to title chasing hopefuls. Three seasons later, after fourth and second place finishes, 548 spectators saw us beat Winsford United 5-2 and step into the Northern Premier League for the first time. What a day that was.
Those sorts of days kept on coming ever since and I would like to regale my stories of three of them.
The first two came in the same week, at the end of April 2014 and start of May 2014. I was living back in Southampton at this point but, after the 0-0 draw with Bamber Bridge the Saturday before, we qualified for the play-offs for promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division. Yes, little Rammy United looking to go into step 3 of non-league football. On the Wednesday, I had a meeting at Durham’s cricket ground ahead of the 2014 cricket season that I was working with Sky for. It was very handy that I did have that meeting that day, nearly 300 miles from home as Rammy were away at Darlington that evening. How convenient! What a night! 1,926 supporters packed into the ground at Bishop Auckland and only about 50 of those were Rammy fans. How can forget Owen Roberts’ early tackle, Billy Priestley creating a party but scoring the opener and Jordan Hulme adding a second nine minutes later. The much vaunted Darlington had been beaten – yet again as they had been twice in the league that season – and we were off to Bamber Bridge again for the final. And I set off for home – scarf hanging out of the window in get glee.
The opening game of the 2014 cricket season was a one-day match at Durham on the Sunday. Rather frustratingly, I was required to be at the ground the day before to make sure everything was in order and working. Of course, there was only one place I wanted to be. Bamber Bridge. After a lengthy wait for everyone to arrive, I discover they were stuck on a train so I asked, as I had done everything I need to, whether it was ok if I went. At 1.30pm, I was given the nod to go. How far is Durham to the south of Preston? It is further than you think!! It was something like a two-hour drive but it really didn’t matter as there was only one destination that afternoon. I drove to the speed limit to get there … but, with over 1,000 people at the ground, I was worried about finding somewhere to park. I phoned ahead to ask what the situation was about parking and was told there wasn’t much. A few minutes later, a call came back to say that a space had been reserved for me. Wow, how did that happen? “I told them that Sky Sports were coming” came the reply! It wasn’t a fib …. just a stretch of the truth! I got there about 3.30pm, scarf, coat and woolly hat in hand and there I was. It is a day that I will never forget. I couldn’t stay to celebrate as much as I wanted to – I had to get back to Durham ahead of the next day’s game.
When Bernard and Jonno left, we hit the buffers again and suffered our only relegation a couple of seasons after that epic day in Preston. The crowds dwindled a bit and all of the momentum that the two lads had created had faltered as they headed off to Celebrity City (as seen on TV) FC down the road and took so many of our players and staff with them. They had created such a unique squad, a full XI with over 100 appearances for the club, that they would always have that pull to join them wherever they went.
It has only been recently, under Chris Wilcock, who played for the club and knows it from experience, that things have turned around again and the other great memorable night will always be the game that was played closest to my home – the Tuesday night in Weymouth.
The 17 intrepid Rammy supporters! 16 who had travelled all day from East Lancashire and me, who had an hour and a half trip along the A35. I had been on BBC Radio Solent that morning as they wanted to know who the hell Ramsbottom United were. I told them all about us and at the end of the interview, the presenter said “well, I hope you get absolutely stuffed”. That was nice, eh! Our 3-1 win that night against the side who are now playing in the National League after two successive promotions, matched the feelings of Darlington and Bamber Bridge back in 2014.
Listening to the commentary of the 5-5 draw with AFC Fylde was incredible as I sat here at my desk at home, jumping up with every goal and slumping back down with every response.
Rammy lives with you forever. I get more satisfaction with a Rammy win than I do with a Southampton one in the Premier League. Give me watching Rammy up north or Saints up north – it’s Rammy every time. It didn’t used to be, I did go and watch Saints at Oldham Athletic when Rammy were home to Alsager Town once. Now, it would also be the Rams.
The chance to stand in the Jack Wolfenden Stand or the Railway End stand shouting YOOOOOOOOOOOU RAAAAAAAAAMS!!!! is too much of a draw.
So to wrap up, this website has been created by myself and my very good mate Alan, who had been hosting the original website since back in 2008. In fact this site you are now reading was going to be the basis for the new official website we were planning to launch this summer until the current new website was created for the club instead. But anyway, this is my effort, an unofficial site but one that I hope you will enjoy as I speak to players and supporters of yesteryear and look at stats going back over the years.