Tissues at the ready as Droylsden FC return

ONE THING is certain, there will be no water shortage at the Butchers Arms at about 3pm on Saturday, July 8.

For that is when Droylsden FC take to their home turf for the first time in three years.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic – and its lockdowns and restrictions – meant owner Dave Pace had to take drastic action.
To effectively mothball the club until the world recovered enough for it to be in position to trade again.
After resigning from the Northern Premier League before the start of the 2020/21 season, the Bloods are back in North West Counties League Division One South.
And secretary Nigel Barlow admits emotions will run high when the players take to the field for the pre-season friendly against Stretford Paddock.
A moment he feared he may never see again.
He said: “I am not ashamed to say there will be tears in my eyes when those players run out and I am pretty sure I won’t be the only one.
“I think we all feared that the club would not come back.
“You keep the faith because of the presence of the club, its history, its fans and most importantly, the drive from the community once the first moves were made to get the club going again
“Did belief waver? Yes many times.
“I personally thought the project would take a lot longer and would see us returning next season.”
After Droylsden were handed a place back in the non-league footballing pyramid, work started to get the Butchers Arms good enough to accommodate fans.
As part of a fundraising drive, Take That star Howard Donald, who hails from the town, offered gold circle gig tickets as prizes.
Pace, who will also be in the dugout, has been joined by former Denton Town boss Phill Cooper and the almost 150 players who turned up for a trial have been whittled down to a squad of about 30.
The owner said: “We had to make a decision as we would have gone under very quickly if we hadn’t.
“We made that decision for the good of the club to protect its entity as we didn’t want to go into administration or come back as a phoenix club, so we looked at the options and did what we had to do.
“I had buried my head in the sand a bit after we stepped out of football and my outlook had been negative for some time but I had made conscious efforts to keep the club out of debt as much as possible and in such a position that when we could come back – we would.”
Nigel, who has helped co-ordinate the revival, will be joined by hundreds of other supporters, who are likely to be equally emotional.
Despite that, he could not resist letting ambition enter his thinking.
He added: “Three years without seeing football at the Butchers Arms meant so much had to be done to get the club up and running again plus whether the FA would accept us back after so long out.
“The application to join the North West Counties League was made almost after the first meeting in January, although we didn’t get confirmation until the end of April that we were back.
“We have to thank the league for all their support.
“There was a lot to do to get the ground up and running and a great deal of money and time and effort has gone into that.
“In fact, only this week were we able to say that the ground was ready to play a game
“It means everything for the town and the wider community to come back -We we’re taken aback by the level of support.
“And how far can we go? The basis for this season is to get a sustainable position at the club and yes of course we would like to be pushing for promotion at the back end of the season.”

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