Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Abstainers

Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds  2  Crewe  1

Cheshire Football League - Premier Division

Imagine the scenario for one moment, you are the football team affiliated to a brewery, and as a result you ply your trade at their sports and social club. You progress, you make a few headlines, and then you are forced to disband because you don't drink enough!

Hard to believe isn't it? But that's the general gist of what happened to Tetley Walker Football Club. Tetley Walker Brewery was a significant employer in Warrington, and the football team that represented them at their Long Lane social facility was ambling along quite nicely in the local Warrington League.

The Facilities - With The Tetley Club To The Right
In 1994 they took the plunge and moved into the North West Counties League Second Division, where they lasted for seven seasons, finishing runners up once, and also both winning and finishing runners up the the Divisional Cup. The FA Vase also provided success with a run to the Fourth Round in 1997. Life was pretty good.

But, it all went wrong very quickly, Carlsberg Tetley Brewery (as they were now known) decided to stop them from playing at the ground, not because they didn't pay their way, but because they weren't using and contributing to the social facilities! In other words, they weren't buying the beer!

Tetley Walker Football Club folded, and what was effectively a Step 6 ground lay empty, but then along came another team to fill the void.

Padgate - But No Brewery, School Or Church To Be Seen
Greenalls Padgate St Oswalds FC is a bit of a mouthful. The Greenalls element is a link to another alcohol manufacturer in Warrington, Padgate is the area to the East of where the Tetleys Social Club lies, and St Oswalds is the name of a Catholic Church and School in the vicinity. So yes, we have a football club with a geographical base, linked to the church, a school and a brewery / distiller. I guess they don't want anyone to feel left out!

So then, competing in the Cheshire Football League are GPSO (much easier to type) and with games rapidly running out now, I decided to end my season with a visit, partly because I'd never been, but also out of curiosity in terms of what I was going to find when it came to the facilities.

Located on the North side of Warrington, not a million miles from the home of Warrington Wolves RLFC, the Tetley Social Club is on the A50 and upon arriving you soon get a feel for the size of the complex. It has a large car park, and the two leveled Social Club is a vast premise. Two funerals were taking place when I arrived and it was particularly busy, but still the public bar (members only - but no one asked) was open, and that was where I took up residence. The prices were very attractive as you would expect, and yes, they sold both Tetleys and Carlsberg.

Just prior to kick off I took a walk through the gate to the rear of the club, where the remnants of a pay booth stood. To the right of which was a small pavilion that contained dressing rooms, while next to this was a modest stand that was made up of a high roof structure over some concrete terracing. The pitch was railed and there was hard standing all around it. It would have been absolutely fine for the level Tetley Walker were at, given the period they were playing at that level, but to play a similar level of football on it now would require some work, but not a vast amount in my view. As a current Step 7 ground, this
was one of the better equipped.

The game itself had nothing on it, but you wouldn't have thought that from the way both teams went about it. The hosts took the initiative but Crewe always looked a dangerous outfit on the break. It was GPSO who took the lead thanks to a clear penalty, and then just before half time they netted again with a very close range header.

The game started to get a bit spiky with Crewe doing their best to get into the faces of the home side but to be fair both teams were kept in check thanks to an assured refereeing display. Crewe got a goal back early in the second half and looked to have the upper hand, but the GPSO back four stayed firm, and indeed it was the Warrington based side that looked likely to grab a third goal as Crewe pushed forward.

As the final whistle blew the curtain came down on the season for both clubs, and indeed for myself after a steady 152 games! I'm sure they were all probably planning to head for a well earned post match drink, and based on the history lesson, I've got a fairly good idea where they'd be going for it!

The Keeper Contemplates A Pint Of......

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