Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Identity crisis

Tuesday 9th March 2010
Southern League Premier Division
Liberty Way

A week off from work has allowed me time to take in a rare midweek fixture now days, and with not wanting to travel too far a home game for Nuneaton Town fitted the bill perfectly. Nuneaton is a half hour drive down the A47 from Leicester, while the ground itself is on the eastern side of the town, adjacent to the ring road on the edge of Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate.

The current Nuneaton Town Football Club were formed in 2008 after their predecessors Nuneaton Borough went into liquidation after were forced to drop two divisions from the Conference North to the Southern League Midland Division. Borough themselves were formed in 1937 after (I believe) an earlier incarnation of Nuneaton Town suffered financial problems themselves and were wound up. The earliest record I have seen for the original Town club is for the 1899/1900 season when they competed in the Leicestershire Senior League and finished in 4th place in the nine team division. They did though fail to complete their last two away games at Burton Swifts Reserves and Gresley Rovers. The next records I have are that in 1906 they left the Coventry & North Warwickshire League and joined the Birmingham & District Junior League and were crowned champions at the 1st attempt. In 1908 the league changed name to the Birmingham Combination and Town remained there until football was suspended following the outbreak of the First World War. The last season before the war saw Town take the title winning twenty of their thirty league games. When football resumed after the war Town joined the Birmingham & District League (which later became the West Midlands (Regional) League and spent five years in the competition. In 1924 the club made the switch to the Southern League but only two seasons were spent in the league before returning to the Birmingham Combination. Two more championships were achieved before they rejoined the Birmingham & District League in 1933. The club were to last just four more seasons before being wound up and a new club Nuneaton Borough was formed in 1937. The clubs inaugural campaign was in the Central Amateur League where a 4th place finish was recorded in their one and only season before switching to the Birmingham Combination. Borough played in the Combination until 1952 before joining the more prestigious Birmingham & District League. Six seasons were spent in the Birmingham League before the club made the move the Southern League. Twenty years were spent in the Southern League before becoming founder members of the Alliance Premier League (now Conference) in 1979. Borough spent their time between the Conference and Southern League before becoming into financial problems themselves, just like their ancestors some seventy one years ago.
Liberty Way has only been home to football in Nuneaton for a few seasons as their previous home was Manor Park on the other side of town. After the sale of Manor Park the club agreed to ground share / become joint tenants with Nuneaton RFC at Liberty Way, but had to bring it up to the standard required for semi-professional football. Two sets of covered terracing are behind both goals, while the only seating is on the far side of the ground along with changing rooms, sports bar and club shop. A few steps of uncovered terracing run along the near side of the ground.

This evening sees Nuneaton looking for a second successive promotion against relegation threatened Bedford Town. At the moment the Southern League championship looks like it is Farnborough’s to lose with the four play-off spots at present occupied by Brackley Town, Bashley, Leamington and Nuneaton. Bedford sit one place above the relegation zone though have a four point cushion over Hemel Hempstead but have played two games less.

The match itself was hit and miss, as at times it was very good and equally at times it was very poor. Chances were created by both sides with the majority (and possession) coming from the home side, but were given a few scares by Bedford. The opening goal came just a minute before the half time interval when Kyle Storer hit an unstoppable from the right hand corner of the penalty area. Just a minute later and it was 2-0 when Stuart Pierpoint scrambled the ball home from a few yards out. Six minutes after the restart and it was all over as a contest as Gareth Dean headed in from a corner. It wasn’t until ten minutes from the end that the fourth and final goal was added through Lee Moore.

The club itself I felt were and are suffering from an identity crisis as the only references to Nuneaton Town are on official signage etc. There is no reference to the team from the supporters as Town only Borough. This seems to me that they think they are the same club and if that is the case why not pay off all the creditors owed money from Nuneaton Borough and revert the name back.

Admission: £9
Programme: £2 – over priced
Badge: £2.50
Attendance: 659
Match rating: 3*

Nuneaton Town
Bedford Town
Southern League
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