Nelson FC are a non league club formed in 1881 from the East Lancashire mill town east of Burnley who were once members of the Football League.
After playing local football 'The Admirals' or 'The Blues' became founder members of the Lancashire League in 1889, before moving to the Lancashire Combination in 1902. They closed in 1916 after the bailiffs came calling, before reforming in 1918 at the end of World War One.
|Seedhill towards the end|
A record crowd of 14,143 saw the game with Bradford Park Avenue in 1927, which was a remarkable figure in a town with a population of just 40,000. However, the club started to struggle financially and were voted out of the League in 1931 to be replaced by Chester after having to apply for re-election for a second consecutive season.
They rejoined the Lancashire Combination but folded in 1936 when the hastily formed Nelson Town FC took over in local football. They joined the West Lancashire League but had their spell cut short after just two games as World War Two abandoned the season.
In 1946 the club were once again reformed as Nelson FC and rejoining the Lancashire Combination. They were successful and won the title on a couple of occasions with future Liverpool manager Joe Fagan at the helm, as well as reaching the FA Cup Second Round for the first time as a non league club. In 1968 Nelson left Seedhill as it was purchased for the construction of the M65 and moved to their new Victoria Park home. Seedhill wasn't demolished until 1980.
The Admirals were founder members of the North West Counties League in 1982, joining the third division. From 1987 until 1992 they were forced to play in the West Lancashire League as Victoria Park wasn't of the required standard. Once upgraded, they were readmitted.
In 2006 the club won their first promotion in eighty three years but then dropped out of the league for a season, while continuing to field junior teams in 2010. A year previously the club had announced plans to return to the site where Seedhill once stood as the motorway hadn't used as much land as originally intended.
An application was made to the FA to return to the North West Counties League for 2011, which was accepted. Mark Fell was appointed as team boss in November 2012 as he gradually set about building an improving team.
Fell took the side to the Division One title in his first season in charge and promotion to the Premier Division. Crowds increased as Nelson consolidated at the new level under manager Paul Fildes.
Nelson FC will play in the North West Counties League Premier Division in the 2015-16 season.
Wednesday 14th September 2011
I awoke in a very budget Burnley hotel after spending the previous evening at the Accrington Stanley v Rotherham United match. The weather was still windy with occasional heavy showers peppering the rugged landscape and old stone buildings.
My original plan was to go to Colne first and then stop off at Nelson on my way back. However, curiosity got the better of me so I jumped out at the St Mary's Church stop on Manchester Road and headed for Victoria Park. Te walk took me down terraced streets and then underneath the M65 motorway onto Lomeshaye Way. From there I walked down the lane to the ground.
Victoria Park was locked up but the banks around it afforded me a good view of everything. The near end had turnstiles and the main gate, was flat open gravel used mainly for car parking. The right hand side had the only covered accommodation by way of a neat stand containing seats and standing room. The left hand side of the ground was bordered by the back gardens of the terrace houses of Ecroyd Street. If any householders happened to be Nelson fans they would have the best views of the action! The far corner contained the changing rooms and the clubhouse. The rest of the ground consisted of open flat grass and hard standing. It was a functional ground, pretty in some ways, but a fair walk out of the town centre.
I walked back along the lane to the site where Nelson's old Seedhill ground once stood. There is certainly still scope for a return if the money was available. The location is definitely more favourable. That said it was still a good stiff walk up the hill to the town, of maybe ten minutes.
|Seedhill in 2011|