Going To Northwich?

Last updated : 24 November 2009 By Gary Hutchinson

Northwich Victoria FC are actually based in the village of Wincham just three miles from Northwich, and currently play in the Blue Square North, the same league as AFC Telford and Gainsborough Trinity. On paper the tie looks winnable, but after watching The Vic’s despatch Charlton in the last round, one has to wonder.

Northwich are an old club, with records going back to 1874. They played at the same Drill Field ground for over 125 years, but after a ground sharing period with local rivals Witton Albion they started the new 2005-06 season in their new Victoria Stadium..

The club were briefly members of the second division from 1892 to 1894, but otherwise haven’t featured in League football. They will be familiar to Imps fans with us having faced them twice in our GMVC season.

The season 1976-77 warrants a special mention in the history of the club, being their best FA Cup run in modern times. In November 1976 they beat Rochdale 2-1 in an FA Cup first round 2nd replay at Maine Road, the then home of Manchester City after drawing 1-1 at Spotland and 0-0 at home, beat Peterborough United 4-0 in the 2nd round and beat Elton John's Watford 3-2 in a pulsating cup tie at the Drill Field in the third round.. All hopes of a dream draw in the 4th round were foundered when Oldham Athletic at home came out of the hat. The match was moved to Maine Road to get more fans in and 29,000 witnessed the Vics going down 3-1.

During the same season Northwich and our local rivals Boston United were fighting it out for the Northern Premier League. The Vics went to Scarborough on the last day of the season knowing a win won bring them the title. They drew 1-1 effectively handing our carrot crunching rivals the title, albeit 12 years before winning the title brought league football.

In 1979, Northwich were founder members of yet another league, when the Alliance Premier League (later the Football Conference) was formed, and were the last club to be ever-present in that league 1979-2005. They finished last in the 2003-04 season and were slated for relegation to the Conference North division as part of the National League System restructuring, but circumstances including the bankruptcy of our first round rivals Telford Utd led to Northwich Victoria being allowed to remain at the Conference National level. In the 2004-05 season, the team went into administration, and thus were deducted 10 points under National League rules, which left them in relegation trouble. However, they recovered and finished in 19th place, nine points clear of the relegation zone (had they not had a points deduction, they would have finished 14th).

Unfortunately for the Vics, this turned out to be for nothing, as they were voluntarily demoted from the Conference National due to legal problems (after going into administration they renamed the club Northwich Victoria 2005 and FA deadlines over the transfer of their Conference membership to the club's new owners were not met) (the alternative would have been outright expulsion from the Conference, which would have forced them into starting again in one of the lower regional divisions).

In the 2005-06 FA Cup, Northwich reached the 3rd round with over 4,000 fans travelling to Sunderland to watch the game. The Vics battled valiantly but ended up losing by 3 goals to 0

. However at the end of the season, compensation came in the form of the Conference North Championship. In the penultimate game the team beat their nearest rivals, Stafford Rangers, in front of more than 3,000 supporters to guarantee an immediate return to the Conference National.

In October 2007 it was reported that the club was up for sale, and that the club could fold due to an unpaid tax bill. The club had applied to go into administration to stave off closure. In December 2007 a consortium led by Jim Rushe completed a takeover, and Rushe became the chairman of the club. In January 2009 with stadium owners Beaconet in receivership, safety equipment was removed from the stadium, causing the club to move temporarily to Altrincham's Moss Lane ground.

On 19 May 2009 the club went into administration for the second time in five years following their relegation from the Conference National; they owe around £500,000 in unpaid bills to creditors. They were threatened with a double relegation to the Northern Premier League as a result of this, but ultimately won an appeal to be placed into the Conference North for the 2009-10 season, which is where they now reside.

The Victoria Stadium is located in Wincham, Northwich. The ground is also known as the Marston's Arena. It has been the home ground for The Vics since 2005 since moving from their historic ground. The Vics played their first competitive match at the stadium on 17 August 2005 when they beat our local friends from Gainsborough Trinity by 2 goals to 0.

The main Victoria Stand has a seating capacity of just 1,180 supporters. It houses the club offices, shop, changing rooms for players and match officials, kit room, medical facilities, treatment room, fitness centre, staff and public toilets. The stand is also home to a bar and two restaurants.

The terraced Dane Bank Stand was moved from the club's original ground, the 125 year old Drill Field.

Wincham the village is a little civil parish in Cheshire, England. It is situated about three miles north of Northwich. The Trent and Mersey Canal runs through the parish.

The whole area surrounding Wincham was the site of salt mining for many years, with the Lion Salt Works at nearby Marston. This industry finally ceased in the village in 2005 when New Cheshire Salt Works was purchased by British Salt and closed down.

The population is estimated at around 1,200 people.