One of the club’s all-time greats in Steve Orrell takes a glance back through his seven years with the club.
Name: Steve Orrell
Seasons: 7 – 1995/96 to 2001/02
How did you come to join Ramsbottom United?
I was playing at Leigh RMI – or rather keeping the bench warm – when I was getting pestered by assistant manager Gary Wilcox to join. I duly did in 1995 and enjoyed seven great seasons at the club, playing with a top bunch of lads and made many friends for life.
Winning North West Counties League Division Two and then going on to be promotion challengers in Division One. Also had a great run in the FA Cup in 1998 when we were followed by The Guardian newspaper and ended up losing to Southport from the Vauxhall Conference in the third qualifying round in front of nearly 1,000 spectators – such a wet and foul day we thought it might being them down to our level. Didn’t quite pan out like that as we were 4-0 down at half time but we only let one more in, and it was a surprise the River Irwell didn’t wipe us out. After we were knocked out, The Guardian reported that chairman Harry went home pleased because all the pies had sold out!!
Local derby against Haslingden – think it was an Easter Bank Holiday Monday. Big crowd, great atmosphere and we won 3-0. Managed to bag a couple that day (29 March 1997).
The death of Ken Bridge. Will never forget that awful night when he collapsed. Great bloke and so very well respected in football.
Best player you played with?
Russ Brierley. Made my wayward passes and flick-ons look good with his pace. Top finisher. Also played alongside an armoury of quality left-footers – Tommy Hulme, Mike Langhorn and Danny Goodall. And David Yorke-Robinson could smash the ball in from 25 yards with either his left or his right.
Player to avoid on the pitch?
Warren Brierley. First came across Warren when he played for Cheadle Town in a Cup Final at Darwen where he marked me so closely that you could not have got a slice of ham between us. He thankfully signed for Rammy and his will to win was second to none. So to answer the question, even though I was on the same team, if I ever saw him about to launch a full-blooded tackle, I got out of the way because it didn’t matter what shirt you were wearing, he just wanted to win that ball.
Harry turning off the floodlights before you’ve even had chance to shake your opponent’s hand and rival teams wondering how to get back to the dressing room. And always remember Danny Goodall, one of the quieter lads in the team, at Nantwich Town coming into the dressing room at the end of a game, cursing and slamming his boots on the floor, saying we should never have let that late goal. Granted, it was a soft goal but at least we still won. He looked at me funny and said: “Won? We’ve just drawn!”. I had to point out that we had scored three goals and they had only got two – and he had somehow miscounted!!!