Colne Fc Lancashire minnows to football league heroes

Jun 28, 2011
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Coates Leaves club by mutual Consent
Popular manager Nigel Coates has this week decided to step down from his role as head coach of Colne FC. He leaves the club with a number of fond memories, and having assured his status as a Colne footballing icon. Back in 1988 he wrote his name in colne's footballing history books. As part of the Colne Dynamo team that reached the fa vase final and beat Emley to claim the trophy at the old wembley. After his playing days were behind him he managed local teams such as Nelson, before taking the helm at the Colne FC the towns latest incarnation. There in his first season as manager, Colne won the North west counties div2(Now named div1) title and div 2 league cup in 2003/4. They also reached the semi final of the FA vase including a memorable win over AFC Wimbledon. Colne became mainstays in the NWCL Premier reaching their highest finish of 5th in 2007/8, and the next season their lowest of 18th the season after. Despite getting the club back to form finishing 8th last season, Nigel has decided to call time on his eight season reign as Colne boss.

"I think it's the right time to leave. I've had some great success at this club but I think i've taken it as far as I can. I'm going to take some time off from coaching for a while I think. I'll be looking to start again after i've took a break, recharged and taken stock. Colne will always have a place in my heart and I thank everybody at the club and the fans for everything we achieved in my time as manager".

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coates's farwell to XLCR stadium
This is my Chance...

This wasn't news to me...why?. Because I was the man taking over as manager... Seems hard to believe but a 26 year old rookie manager would be replacing a club stalwart. I'd got into contact with the chairman on returning to my hometown. I'd been a successful youth coach at non league level and now I was ready to make the step up. Plus this had been my dream job since being at school. I have been preparing ever since gaining my badges, gaining experience and contacts. Now I felt I was ready.

Nigel had given the board notice and they had sent out word to the coaching communities that there was a job up for grabs. I had been lucky enough to impress with my pitch. I had big plans for bringing in more sponsorship and more fans. There would also be a complete overhaul of the squad from top to bottom. Most importantly I was cheap... to give the club all the funds I could I was working for peanuts.

Now I had everything to do. My plans included bringing in all new coaching staff, a new squad, on top of that I had to look at bringing in as much cash as I could to the club. Sounds easy....time to kiss goodbye to my life....
Putting the pieces together...

Bringing in experience

A good old head can be a really useful asset. Some young managers can be put out by having players older than them at the club. I didn't have that problem, The one thing a young manager should use is experience. Having some leaders on the pitch can really help keep your team on track with what you've taught them when the going gets tough. Although at 26 players didn't even have to be grizzled veterans to be older than me..

With this in mind I brought in some players that had been around a bit.

Willie Boland The 35 year old had over 300 league appearances from the Prem to league 2 level, playing for the likes of Coventry, Cardiff and Hartlepool. Convinced to Sign from Guisborough.

Jamie Forrester 36 year old striker who has been all over in his time. 480 league apps and 150 goals. At his most clinical for Scunthorpe, Northampton and Lincoln city. Signed from Lincoln Moorlands.

David Duke 32. Having failed to make a league start for sunderland. He went on to have 240 apps for Swindon and Darlington. Left Jarrow to join up at Colne.

Mark Tinkler At 36 was again no spring chicken but I felt he could bring something to the team. Boland alerted me to his free status. Made over 370 league apps at Leeds, York, Southend and Hartlepool. where he was a former teammate of Boland.

Well that was some much need experience. But next I would need to fill out the squad and also put in place players for the future. I'd also arranged a small 2 game tour of the north east counties prem. Two other teams from the league would also visit our ground. That would give us exposure in another area of the country. While at the same time providing a challenge on a level with what we'd be facing week in week out during the league. For a higher test I'd also arranged to play Northen div 1 side Lancaster city and Scottish side Threave Rovers.

My next Aim would be to bring in the rest of my squad, then assemble my backstaff. But things were coming together soon I'd have a complete squad....
Building the squad..

Putting the parts together

In the first signings I had men who had played plenty of league football in England now I wanted to add to that. With mainly young hungry players. Players who had been released and were still had a desire to stay in the game. I was looking to add a mainly northern feel to my team. Partly because a team as small as ours would find it difficult to lure players from far away to come play for us. But not just that I wanted players who would feel at home here and would have an affinity with the area.

Saying that may next two signing were as far from that as you could get! lol.

Eric Farro At 34 he was another old player but he still had plenty of skill and guile. From the African island of reunion!. Having in found him and got in contact. I'd found him and a teammate were very interested in coming to England to see out their playing days and break into coaching over here. Had played in France's third tier before returning home to Reunion. Could play left wing or in defence, or as a striker.

Patrik Vaz Eric's FC Tamponnaise team mate. And former Bordeaux trainee. Played in French second tier before falling into the lower leagues. Then moving to Reunion. Was 32 now but I still felt he be a very good player for us. Could play on the left or in the centre of midfield.

Next I used my knowledge of the club I supported Burnley to search out former trainees of which I signed.

Richard Cowen 19 young centre back

Ed Williams 18 Full back who could player on the left or right.

Ollie Devanney 19 Centre mid.

From other sources I signed a whole host of young players who'd been released by various league clubs. It was hard going I had to fight with numbers of other non league clubs to get them to sign for us. With each player we signed it got a little easier to convince people as the what it was I was trying to achieve. But here are those that joined up.

Sean Pike 20. Left back from Liverpool moving back north after his club Port Vale released him.

John Bateman 22. Former west brom trainee goalkeeper. Moved to Aberdeen released after failing to make the first team.

Dominic Merella 21. Young winger from Chorley. Released by Blackpool as a youth. Moved to non lea with Burscough and Weymouth, then a second spell with Burscough.

Chris Oldfeild 20. Former Liverpool youth keeper. Moved on to Rochdale then Bangor city before finding himself without a club.

Jasiah Donaldson 17 Younger brother of Brentford player Clayton. Signed as a schoolboy for leeds. Also been on Bradford and Huddersfield's youth teams before his release. Great young prospect for this club.

Daniel Wilkinson 19 Former Hull Youth defender plays CB.

Liam Davidson 19 Former Carlise youth midfielder from Ashington.

I then brought in a number of Irish youngsters who had found themselves without a club.

Ger Rafter 21 CB released by Sligo Rovers.

Jason Sheehan 21 Right winger released by Bohemians. Not the best crosser but had some skill and was willing to work hard.

Marc Hughes 22 Talented young striker released by Bohemians. Didn't play many first team games. Even so he still has silverware. He picked up a League of Ireland cup winners medal playing in the final. Also while on loan at Shelbourne a league down, He also picked up a Leinster senior cup winners medal. I just hope his luck continues at our club!.
Building the squad continued

The finishing touches.

Well I had a good squad together now but I now needed to fill it out. Partly as a insurance against bans and injuries, also as competition for places.

Leeroy Chinthengah 18 year old Striker released by Oldham. Spent a loan spell at Leigh Genesis

Matt Lomas 20 Former Burnley trainee from Bolton. Plays at LB

Kingsley Williams 18 Released Sheffield utd youth. Plays mainly CM

Alec Hague 19 My second former Port Vale youth. Left winger from Manchester

Jorden Bowen 19 Former Blackburn rovers trainee. Spent fives years at the club before his release.Plays on the Left wing.

Aiden Sherlock 18. Former reserve at Ebbsfleet. Also pent some time at Maidstone. Plays CB but could also learn to serve at CM.

Jack Brierley 20. Another former Blackburn youth. Also played for local clubs Rossendale and clitheroe. Plays as a striker.

Well that was me more or less done building my squad. I was pleased I been able to totally rebuild the team. Yes it was hard to tell the former players they wouldn't be in the team this year, But this was for the good of the club. I'd managed to do what I wanted to do too. Which was to bring in a good percentage of local talent. I felt I had talent to work with that would take the club forward for the next few years.

Another task now was to bring in the people to help me get the most out of these players. While I was busying myself signing players I was also searching for my staff. Time to name the team.

Neil Hall Assistant manager

The 39 year old defender from Manchester had player for a number of teams around the Manchester area. Spending time at Hyde, long spells at Drolysden, Witton, Flixton and had moved to Salford as Assistant manager in his first coaching role. I did really well convincing him to take a step down a level to join me at Colne as my Assistant.

Gareth Hamlet Coach

The 31 year old from Huddersfield had played most of his football in Yorkshire with small spells across the border. Playing for Halifax, Barrow, Wakefield, Stocksbridge, Liversedge, Mossley and finally Ossett albion. At ossett he start his coaching career as player coach before leaving. Brings his knowledge of football in the Yorkshire area, as well as being a good non league coach as I found out when I met him. Ossett's loss will be our gain I'm sure.

John Hanson Fitness Coach

I knew I need to build and maintain high fitness levels to have a good advantage at this level as football. And found a good fitness coach in John. The 34 year old from Leigh will find Colne as his first football position. With Leigh being more a Rugby town he had wanted to enter coaching in that sport. It was my job to convince him of the appeal of the beautiful game...

Jack Riley Scout

I needed a good scout to help find more players in the future and in places I wasn't too knowledgeable on. So Jack being from down south in Exeter would do nicely. He would help me keep tabs on player who would become available down south and be willing to come up to the grim north..

Lisa Hebdon Physio

The most unusual of my back staff additions. I'd had no idea that Lisa who worked on Soccer A.M had a skill in Sports Physiotherapy. Being the best candidate I could find she was brought on board.

So that was all the staff I needed for now. I had the support network of staff, I had the talent of the players to put on the pitch. All that was left to do was get to training. Then get stuck in to the pre-seas

Next stop Thackley!!!

So here was my first chance to see the players in action in an actual match. Training could show me some of the picture. To have a true view of how my coaching was going though I'd need to see them working together against another team.

Thackley 1-7 Colne

The first match was a perfect start to the pre-season. Eric faro showed what hopefully will be his form in the league bagging a hat-trick. Two of which were absolute worldies from long distance. Marc hughes also got a brace proving his goal scoring threat. The other two came via local lad on trial Brad Willits, and Patrick Vaz. Man of match Eric Farro. Was everywhere and took Thackley apart from his supporting striker role.

Parkgate 2-4 Colne

Another fine attacking performance, although there were defending lapses that cost us a bigger lead. Veterans Boland and Forrester got on the score sheet. Also Vaz made it two in two, with young winger Marella getting his first goal in a red shirt. Man of the match. Dominic Merella. Ran his **** off all game and well deserved his goal.

Tadcaster 0-4 Colne
A complete all round performance from the team. Every area worked well together and was a very pleasing game to watch. Hughes started off the scoring, Followed by a second by Forrester. Centre back Cowen added to a fine showing at the back by hitting a thundering header into the net from a corner. Young striker Chinthengah capped of the match with a well taken goal in the 89th minute after coming on as a second half sub. An injury to Forrester was another blow though.Man of the match Marc Hughes. Had a clinical game scoring two and gave Tadcaster's defence a torrid time.

Colne 5-1 Lancaster
The Colne squad stepped up to the challenge of higher league opponent wonderfully. This was also a proud first home Appearance for me at holt house, or the XLCR stadium as it's now know. You'd have though we were the Evo stick league team as we totally outplayed Lancaster. Eric Farro shined again this time in his preferred left winger role . He bagged a brace and also supplied Marc Hughes with his goal. Jack Brierley stole Hughes's thunder in his supporting role upfront bagging a brace, one of which was a real screamer front a tight angle just inside the area. The one more was losing Boland for a few weeks due to injury... Man of the man Eric Farro Ran the game and left the Lancaster defence traumatised, scored and set up goals and chances couldn't ask for more really.

Colne 2-1 Threave Rovers

Our toughest game of the pre-season to date. Threave put up a good fight despite being on the back foot for most of the match. The bright spot of the match was young Jasiah Donaldson. The seventeen year old had a fine game and emphatically converted a Vaz cross for the opener. Marshall got a leveller and managed to keep us out for a time. But after bringing Hughes on he showed he could be a game changer. Coming on on 70 mins he took only five minutes to turn the game around and bag the winner. Man of the match Jasiah Donaldson. Tried to catch my eye with Marella having good showings. He did just that, put himself about caused trouble and made chances, then finished one.

Colne 6-1 Selby

We ended the pre-season on a high. Everything come together nicely to give everybody involve with the club a real feel good feeling. The first half saw us dominate with Farro, Hughes and Marella sharing the goals. Just before the half time whistle another injury blow. Hughes had to come off as a precaution, which turned out to be wise as he'll only be out of action for two weeks. The second we carried on the good work despite conceding a goal. Subs Chinthengah, Brierley and Vaz got the second half goals. Man of the match Dominic Marella.
Had another fine game and is staking his claim for the right wing spot.

Well it turned out to be a good pre-season. The only down point was missing three players for the opening games. Boland and Forrester's experience would have been useful. While Hughes is looking like being this seasons star striker for Colne. The rest of the team have proved they can step in and come up with the goods though. I'm feeling really optimistic about how this season will turn out with every day that passes.
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Monaghan aims high with the reds

New Colne boss Andrew Monaghan has given a highly confident stance as the new NWCP season rolls up. When asked what his aims were this season he gave this answer.

"Promotion, I think I've brought in players capable of delivering that, so that will definitely be the aim. The town has some history with Colne Dynamos climbing to the pinnacle of the non-league, Also winning the FA vase at Wembley in 88. It's an achievement I would like to emulate."

It's a pretty tall order for a rookie manager who has only coached at youth level for his appointment. But there was real conviction in the young managers words.

"Everybody starts somewhere...Even the great Alex Ferguson started at Amateur level. I want to build something here at Colne. I'm not just here to bring in a team, I'm looking to build a footballing community and institution. All the players who are here are putting on the Colne shirt because they want to be here, and want to help with what I'm trying to achieve. It's certainly not for the money!. I'm really lucky with the players who have took a chance and come on board there was host of clubs they could have chosen over us."

So what kind of changes can we expect to see in how the club is run and how they'll play.

"I believe in youth but I'm also a big believer in having experience there , you have to have a good balance. At the moment I think we've got that. Players like Boland and Forrester will bring great experience, whilst young players like Marella or Hughes will bring great hunger and energy. I'll be looking to play some good attacking football with his team. Just because it's the non league I think we should still try to give the town some good football to watch while still getting the result at the end of the 90 mins".

The young manager certainly came across well in his first set of interviews and had a fine pre-season with Colne. Still it's early days yet and it will still remain to be seen if he can deliver on his many promises...

Aston Athletic 1-6 Colne
The season got off to a great start. Youngster Kingley thrown in action due to injuries score his debut. An on fire farro bagged a over a hat-trick in an amazing four goal display, one of which was an excellent free-kick from the edge of the area. Vaz also got on the scoresheet along with some fine assists. MoM Eric Farro with four goals how could it be anybody else?.

Colne 3-0 Maine Road
A perfect home league debut. Totally shut out the Manchester team, Then finished them off with goals from Vaz, Cowen and Brierley. MOM Richard Cowen. Had a fine day at the back and also scored with a bullet header from a corner.

Extra man in. David Lee.
Bringing in an extra striker who I had also been in talks with. Although I now had a number of forwards we could still stretch the finances for a player of his quality. The 28 year old Irishman was a former Shelbourne, Monaghan Utd, Kilkenny, Longford and Mt Merrion striker. Plus a player for a team called Monaghan? that had to be an omen!.

Runcorn Linnets 0-3 Colne
Another game another win and another clean sheet for Bateman. Runcorn shot themselves in the foot with a red card for a horror challenge on 10 mins. From then on we totally ran the show. Jorden Bowen got the opener from a Vaz cross. New signing Lee had a perfect debut with a goal. And wasting no time Marc Hughes came back from his pre-season injury as a sub on 76 mins to score the third on 83 mins. MOM Patrik Vaz. Didn't score but made two of them and tore Runcorn to shreds.

Colne 5-1 Squires Gate
The blackpool team was the latest team to fall to our exciting new team. Bowen got his second in two games. Merella got two and Rafter and Vaz competed the scoring. MOM Dominc Marella ran himself into the ground this match and fully deserve his brace.

Alsagar 0-3 Colne
Three must definatley be the magic number for us, As we got another 3-0 win to end the month. Hughes opened the scoring. Bowen yet again found the net from the centre of midefield and is proving a real find. Finally a super sub appearance from David Lee who got the third, after coming on in the 76th min. MOM Ger Rafter. Had a great defensive outing while also contributing to the attack when he could. His free kick from inside our own half gave Hughes his second league goal and our opener.

I couldn't have asked for a better opening month. We beat every team put in front of us. With plenty of real positives in terms of players and our strength in depth, I had a real hope of challenging on multiple fronts this season. Farro, Vaz, and Bowen were real standouts at the moment. The rest of the team were good also, so it was a hard to pick out of the whole team though.

Player of the month

Patrik Vaz/ Dominic Marella
It was hard to choose one player after all the players worked so well as a team. But had to be between these two I think. Both gave teams nightmares from the wings. Both may have not got the most goals with each getting two. But they made plenty of goals 5 assist from Vaz and 6 from Marella. Plus shear hard works almost nobody else on the pitch did as much running as these two.
Following this one, practically always sign Farro and Vaz on my lower-league saves so it's nice to see them working elsewhere! I don't know if he's on your database, but if you need a right winger Yohan Guichard is a great one! Story's great by the way :)
Thanks same here always sign Farro and vaz. Marc Hughes is a goal machine at this level too. I know him but don't think he'll join for the kind of money I've got.
September Review

The first plaudits role in

Well the month got off to a good start as I proudly picked up the Manager of the month award for August, due to Colne's unbeaten month. Colne got a double swoop with Patrik Vaz picking up the player of the month for an amazing run of games at left wing for the club. Both awards were a great reward for the work both me and the players had put in over the last couple of months. Dominic Marella also got the runner up spot to show how well all of our team had done. With two awards proudly in our camp along with a host of team of the week appearances, I hoped we could continue our sterling form into the next month.

Colne 5-3Silsden
A game in which we dominated then let in 3 very sloppy goals all in the last 10 mins. Vaz opened the scoring, with Hughes bagging a very impressive hat-trick. Farro hat a goal back in the last 10 mins to take some panic of our little attempt at self destruction. MOM Patrik Vaz. Again had an excellent game really pulled the strings in most of our attacks today.

Stone Dominoes 2-4 Colne
Had to show a little bit of character to come from behind twice. Marella first cancelled out a 16th min Kyle Martin goal on 28 mins. Martin then popped up again to score two minutes later to put us 2-1 down. But you could keep a good team down. Another two minutes later and Hughes got us level. Before the veteran Forrester Making his league debut after an unlucky pre-season injury, Gained a penalty and converted just before the HT whistle. Marella then made it sure with our fourth in the second half. MOM Dominic Marella. Scored twice and run himself ragged to help us win this game.

Colne 4-1 Barnoldswick

A win to savour over our local rivals and by a good margin!. Hughes, Vaz, Captain Willie Boland with his first league goal for the Club, Then finally David Lee completed the rout. Even though it was not the biggest derby crowd in England with 222 fans turning up. The atmosphere was really good and we seemed to be gaining a good following for the league we were in.MOMPatrik Vaz. Again picks up a man of the match, scored assisted and ran Barnoldswick ragged.

Colne 4-0 Glossop
A very impressive win over third placed Glossop which sees them drop a place. Watertight at the back and deadly up front. Farro bagged a brace before Hughes added to his goal tally. Ger Rafter added to his clean sheet with strikers placement after pouncing on a rebound from a corner. MOM Ger Rafter. Earned with his dogged defending and his well took goal.

Colne 4-2 Sevenoaks
Our first cup test was our entry into the FA Vase. It was a good challenge Kent premier league leaders Sevenoaks. They hit us with a sucker punch on 24 mins with a goal against the run of form. We dug deep and we rewarded with a goal from Hughes with number ten of the season. Then we were left reeling when keeper Bateman spilled a cross and allowed Craig Lumden to put us behind just before half time. Heads were down for the half time break. But I let the lads know they had the quality to go out there and take this match back!. They were all good enough to do so go out there and prove to me and them that they just had a couple of lucky breaks and we were the better team. The lads responded with just was I wanted which was some fire and drive to get back in the game and then power on and win it...No more so that the Irish lads. Sheehan got the leveller after some tireless work and a perfect cross from Hughes. Hughes then got on the end of a long ball and powered home our third to put us in front. A horro tackle saw Farro have to come off. David Lee came on and harried Sevenoak's until he finally forced and own goal due to a bullet header from him at a corner to seal our win. MOMMarc Hughes. Refused to be beat and was the catalyst of our comeback. Two goals and an assist and an all round perfect game.

The Rough with the smooth
It had turned out to be another very good month. We were top of the league and still unbeaten. Also in the FA vase we'd got past our first hurdle. On the downside we'd conceded some sloppy goals which could have cost us big. On the plus, The team had shown real resilience to fight back from behind to not just draw but win games. I decided it was a good thing we had been tested and had responded. A blow was the loss of Eric Farro for four to five weeks. He'd been a great worker and finisher so to lose a player of his skill would be a blow. Hopefully the other strikers and wingers could step up their efforts to stake their claim to a starting place...

The fixtures would soon start coming thick and fast with the North west counties league cup, FA vase and FA cup qualifiers all coming up. Not to mention a busy league schedule. No time to rest in this job....
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October Review

The season's momentum was building, we were going great guns in the league and it was now time to start our cup campaigns. I added to my honours by picking up the NWCL manager of the month award for September making it back to back awards. Patrik Vaz also joined me in this feat by again being named player of the month for September. The team was getting on and playing for each other. I just had to hope it stayed that way as the pressure of keeping up this fantastic season piled on.

The cup runs were going to be instrumental to my plans for the club. They had to go well...The tickets revenue we got couldn't cover the costs of running the club, so the prize money would be badly needed. Firstly to help cover our costs and also to gather what we could to help build the club up. I had managed to get a real boost to this by getting in touch with local business men in order to secure funding . Amongst these was David Fishwick who had his van business in Colne, and like me was a Burnley fan. He put money into Burnley football club, and after telling him about what I was trying to do with Colne he agreed to help out a little. It would be performance based so if we won the league he would add some money to boost the prize money. He also agreed to do this for cup progression. Also I was trying to secure us new sponsorship deals with local companies for next season, as our shirt sponsorship contract runs out this season. So it would be a good chance to try and get the best deal we could. These coming months will be key to how the future of this club takes shape...

Arnold 0-1 Colne. FA CUP
First up was a FA cup qualifier against the North east counties prem outfit Arnold. There were few chances in this match as both teams kept it tight. But we had the better of them and made them pay off. First a Hughes tap in ruled out as the ref (wrongly!!) deemed the supplier young Jasiah Donaldson to be offside. Later on Hughes helped him get justice by providing a prefect cross for Donaldson to stroke home for the winner. MOM Marc Hughes. Unlucky to have his goal ruled out, was involved in every threat to Arnolds goal.

Colne 4-0 Maine Road. NWCL League CUP
This was our entry into the NWCL League Challenge cup. Jorden Bowen opened the scoring with a fine penalty. Before we put them to the sword in the second half with a brace frome Hughes, Before David Lee finished them off with the fourth. MOM Marc Hughes. Yet again the driving force going forward

Atherton LR 1-2 Colne

Back to the league with this game which saw cb Rafter head home his third of the season from a vaz free kick. Charlie Welch then thought he'd rescued Atherton a point by heading in a goal on 82 mins. Only for my lads to press forward and play Hughes though on goal who blasted in the winner in the 89th min. MOM Richard Cowen. Did well in defence and help to hit back on the counter with some good passing forward.

Winsford 1-5 Colne
The match that proved to be Winsford manager Lee streets last, as he was later sacked. The Irish striking pair had a little competition with Hughes and Lee both getting two a piece. Winger Marella also got in on the action getting the other. MOM Marc Hughes. On fire now and looking deadly in front of goal.

Colne 4-2 Armthorpe Wellfare. FA CUP
We got the next qualifying round at home to yet another north east counties team. With the pre-season and now two cup games we'd got a lot of experience of this league!. Yet again Hughes scored a brace. The pick of the goals went to the returning Jamie Forrester. Who after Marella headed a Vaz cross back into the box finish the move with a piledriver that almost broke the net. Rafter again showed he was a danger at set pieces with another great headed goal from a vaz free kick. MOM Patrik Vaz. Made most of the goals today had a lot of joy down the left flank.

Ramsbottom 1-4 Colne

Went behind to a Boto freekick on 5 minutes, but came back with a vengeance!. First a Marella cross found it's way into the heart of the box to provide Forrester an easy tap in. Forrester then earned a pen close to the by line. Which he coolly converted to put us ahead at half time. Great strike from Vaz and Hughes sealed the deal and the tree points. MOM Jamie Forrester. The veteran striker is sure making up for lost time with a wonderful performance.

Colne 4-2 Erith Town. FA VASE
The kent premier team had us shell shocked as they hit two wonder strikes in 11 minutes to leave us 2-0 down and facing an upset. Made of stern stuff we didn't lay down though. And after several attacks made the breakthrough on 19 mins. Patrik Vaz running in the box and scoring after a fine string of passes. Half time saw us still a goal down. In the second we redoubled our efforts. David Lee found the leveller pouncing on a rebound from a Marella shot. The with Hughes played though by Lee he put us in front with the 3rd. It was Erith's turn to be shell shocked as the win was ripped out of their hands. Finally a great Moment for Eric Farro as he came off the bench after his time out through injury to put the icing on the cake. A well taken goal after the keeper parried a David Lee shot into his path. MOM Patrik Vaz. Started the fight and kept providing the ammunition to blow Erith away.

Weston Super-Mare 2-4 Colne. FA CUP.
We'd drawn the blue square south team and made the 220 odd mile journey to play the team 3 levels above. WSM were having a poor season and their nervousness showed as we picked up a famous victory here!. They went ahead on 14 mins with a kane Ingram goal. It all went down hill from there for them though. Former Bristol city Trainee Martin Slocombe earned a red card and an early shower for a vicous tackle on Marc Hughes who was in mid raid down the right flank. Sensing blood we took of the lease and went for them. David Lee put Patrik Vaz through who made his way into the box and powered home his shot into the net. Lee then put us ahead converting a penalty after Jorden Bowen was taken out as he made his way onto a vaz through ball into the box. Luck then went WSM's way as Ben kirk put away a penalty. From a soft decision of a foul from Liam Davidson defending a free kick. Then that cb turned up again Ger Rafter rose up like a salmon and saw his header curl into the top left corner from a Jorden Bowen Corner. We then took control of the game as WSM lost it. They conceded a free kick on the edge of the area. Vaz took it and laid it off to the edge of the area where sub Jason Sheehan was waiting he took a touch and curled a fantastic shot into the net to cap an unforgettable game for the club. MOM Patrik Vaz. Again mr consistent always trying to make something happen and scored a great goal himself to get us level.

Well the month couldn't have gone any better we'd now gone three months unbeaten!!!. We really were going into every game believing we could beat whoever was put in front of us. I could have no complaints at the moment. Any time one or some of the lads let the team down. They'd be right back there trying to make it right and redeem themselves. It had made for a few amazing fight backs. It was also some entertaining stuff hopefully we would see more crowds like the 500+ at the Armthorpe game. In time I wanted to eclipse that and see a full holt house and if we keep playing like we are we eventually will...
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November Review

We were fast approaching the mid season mark,yet already there had been many comings and going in the world of football management. In our own humble league a manager had been shown the door. Ian Street of Winsford last month after a heavy loss to us was the final straw. Meanwhile in the football league no fewer than 9 managers had been shown the door. In league 2 Paul Sturrock was sacked by Southend. In league 1 Lee bradbury at Bournemouth and Phil Brown at Preston also lost their jobs. The high pressure of the championship saw Eriksson leave Leicester, Nigel Pearson leave Hull, Nigel Adkins part ways with Southampton, Nigel Clough be sacked by Derby and Simon Grayson Leave Leeds. Who replaced him with Brian Laws (bet leeds fans are loving that..). And in the prem the venkys at Blackburn had sacked Steve Kean.

This showed that I had to keep focused and give this my all. Ian street showed no matter what league your in you could face the sack if results are not up to scratch. Results however had been good for me and with my determination not to let the title positon from Colne's grasp, I headed into the month with new zeal.

Since the start of the season i had also been putting working in in every area of the team. While I had moulded my own first team from stratch, I had also begun reshaping the youth squad. Slowly over the weeks and months i had been scouting and bringing in young talent from where I could find it. Most were young lads just leaving local youth teams who I thought had some potential. Amongst those to make the grade and agree t play for us where Jeremy Ford a 17 year old CB from Droylsden. Tristan Mottram a 16 year old winger from Ellesmere Port. Harry Jones a young CB from liverpool who I had high hopes for. Rob Morton another young defender from Fleetwood. Finally Keith Rogers a young winger from Sheffield. Young trialist from the local area made up our numbers for fixtures and one who had impressed enough to get a spot was Matty Lee who actually lived in Colne. Also some young players had found themselves still without a club after their parent club had let them go. So I managed to convince some to come over the carry on the careers at Colne. Sam Turner and 18 year old winger had been on the books at Lincoln City. Anil Singh a 17 year old striker had been at Bradford. Finally Kallum O'Kane an 18 year old RB who I thought had some promise had been a youth player at Sheffield United.

There was a good buzz about the place as the first team had really gelled together. Now the youth team was taking shape and in the many matchs I had arranged got some great results, Including a 5-1 win over Chorley's youth who were a team two levels above us. I just wanted to keep those good results coming so I could continue to build on what I was doing here. I wanted to make a team the town could be proud of,that and the people who had already come on board and invest their time in this.

Colne 2-1 Bootle
Not the best home performance we've put out. Never the less the team managed to rip the point from bootles grim fingers a minute after they had rescued it. Captain Boland got a rare goal.Forrester slotted home the winning goal in a game where the veterans stood up to be counted. MOM. Willie Boland. Had a perfect captains performance lead the troops and ran the game.

Colne 2-0 St Helens
In this game we were more focus and keep the game in our control. That resulted in a clean sheet for ever present Bateman. David Lee added another to the tally, While winger Marella chiped fromt he flanks.Aiden Sherlock's red card the only mar on a solid performance. MOM, Domonic Marella. Gave the St Helens defence the worst 90 mins of their lives, putting the area under contant fire.

Colne 5-1 Bacup
We just look unstopable at the moment as we swept Bacup aside. Forrester started us off. David Lee then showed no mercy putting away a fantastic hat-trick. Phillip Lampkin pilled on the misery for Bacup with an own Goal. On a bad note for the second game in a row we had a player sent off. This time Ger Rafter heading for an early shower. MOM, David Lee. No contest hands down the best player on the pitch today.

Colne 1-0 AFC Liverpool
No as a dominating as we can be but a solid workman like perfomance. David Lee again added a goal which proved to be all we needed. Was also a day to give the youth team hope. As Kallum O'Kane made his debut and had a fine start to his Colne career. MOM, Aiden Sherlock. Redeemed his red card with a perfect CB demonstration. Also put in some quality passing up the field to top it off.
Colne 3-1 Hucknall F.A Cup Qualifier.

The Evo Stick first division south team were our next challenge on our way to plum cup game against a football league team. And we didn't let the 1,049 crowd down (well apart from the few Hucknall fans). David Lee, Dominic Marella and grizzled captain Willie Boland scored to send our fans home happy and hopefull for the next round. We were totally on song again and just overpowered Hucknall with our attacks. The only downer was Jamie Forrester picking up an injury. MOM, Dominic Marella. Once again it was his killer runs down the wing followed by a killer cross that helped win a game.

Colne 4-1 Greenwood Meadows F.A Vase
The East midlands counties club found out it isn't safe to visit the XLCR stadium at the moment. We proceeded to teach them the lesson. A David Foster own goal started us off, Before David Lee, Patrik Vaz and a returning Marc Hughes put them to the sword. Despite the win we had a real blow as Jordan Bowen came off injured after making a CM spot his with some brilliant showings. MOM, Patrik Vaz. Another MOM showing from Vaz who can run a game with his passing and kill a defence with his cross.

AFC Blackpool 0-2 Colne
It turned out to be a good trip to Blackpool as our fantastic form continued on our travels. After international duty with Reunion Eric Farro come back to have a fine game scoring the opener. Marc Hughes scored the second to carry on the contest with David Lee for the number one striker spot. MOM, David Lee. Didn't score but made all the good work possible from his switch to a supporting striker role.

Padiham 0-0 Colne
The fatigue started to show as we went into this match with one of our local rivals. A cagey and unremarkable derby in which the only plus point was keeping Padiham out. MOM, Matt Lomas. Made a good cross at times. Not much in this decision.

Colne 2-0 Barnoldswick
A home derby match to savour against our main rivals. Despite it being a derby we had a tough F.A qualfier with BSP Gateshead looming, so a lot of players were rested. Even so David Lee made his stock rise ever higher with the Colne faithful scoring both the goals that sunk Barnoldswick. MOM, David Lee. Quickly becoming a folk hero with some important goals and wonderful performances.

So that was another great month, Still unbeaten. I picked up my second manager of the month. While for the forth time in a row a Colne player picked up player of the month, this time David Lee for a truly remarkable month. Things are only just hotting up though as next we face Blue square premier Gateshead for a shot at a football league team...
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December review

Colne 2-2 Gateshead FA Cup, Final Qualifier

An almost full capacity Home crowd saw us take on BSP opposition in Gatehead. It was a nightmare start with James Curtis putting away a header from a corner on 5mins. We show the same fighting spirit we'd shown all season. On 7mins after a fine set of passes David Lee put Liam Davidson through to slot the ball into the bottom left corner. His first competitve Colne goal had been saved for a big occasion. We then settled into the game and both sides traded blows until half time. Gateshead again came out of the traps flying, Again a corner hurting us as Chris Carruthers this time got on the end of the set piece. We aquited ourselves well though and continued to really give Gateshead a game. They were standing firm though and were holding us at bay. With time running down It was just getting to the time where they might me able to hold on to the result. Then a fine passing move that went from Bowen and Boland through to Davidson who Layed it off to Marc Hughes, Who ran onto the pass and duely slotted it home. That gave us and the fans a real boost. Gateshead didn't give up though and for the last ten minute we both fought for the winner. In the end though we both had to settle for a replay. Next up a tough trip up north to the international stadium. MOM, Liam Davidson. Gave me something to think about and will be breathing down Marella's neck if he puts in more perfomances like this.

Gateshead 0-1(ET) Colne Fa cup, Final Qualifier Replay
A result that will live long in the memory of the Colne faithful. We executed our counter attacking tactic perfectly. Holding possession and keeping Gateshead closed down contantly. We keep them from making many clear cut chances while having the occational hit on the break. The further the game went on the more desparate they got to try and get more of a foothold in the game. On 82 mins the fustration reached boiling point when Eddie Odhiambo made a horror challenge for an instant dissmissal. Gateshead managed to regroup and survive until full time. Sensing blood in extra time we went out to steal the win. We made a constant assault of their area but they managed to hold us off. Just as they look as though they had held out for the penalty shoot-out. A great cross from Marella was about to meet sub Donaldson in the centre of the area. James Curtis lead with an elbow knocking Donaldson to the floor. Penalty! and a yellow card which was Curtis's second after a fouled in the first half, so off he went too. Eric Farro steeped up to take the kick with 2 mins of time left. He took a deep breath made his run up.. and slammed it into the bottom left corner, out of the keeper's reach!. The 150+ travelling crowd went mad!. The whole bench leapt into the air to join the celebration!. You couldn't have made it up, we had 2 mins to hold on we had already gone further than Colne had ever gone in the FA Cup before. But this would take us a step even further. The last ten minutes were tense. Gateshead had enough time to gain a corner and make a couple of runs. We held out though and after Jorden Bowen picked up a yellow to halt the gateshead advance the whistle blew...
We'd done it...For the first time in it's history Colne had reached the FA Cup proper. Maybe not such a big thing in the grand scale of the English game. For myself and the team though there was a great sense of pride. We had all come together to make this possible and it was a great feeling seeing our hard work pay off in such a way. The season was far from over but for now we could bask in this victory...

FA Cup First Round Draw
This was it the team waited to see which team we would have to face next. Maybe a plum tie with a football league club. Even one of the other lower level non-league clubs could provide us with a chance to progress and gain a tie against championship opposition. Finally our number came up and we had been drawn at home!. We waited with baited breath to see who would we visiting our ground.....Huddersfield!!. One of the in form league one teams and now highly tipped for promotion. They currently stood second in League 1 only to Sheffield United who occupied to top spot. This would be our greatest challenge yet. On the plus side it spread the Colne name further than it currently was.

We had also added to the squad with the arrival of released West ham trainee Andrea Zola. The son of Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola. He had some talent and came from a good pedigree. I was hpoing he could be a major coup for us.

Congleton 0-6 Colne
Poor Congleton caught us on a high following our FA cup success. Prolific strikers David lee and Marc Hughes got a brace each. Old war horse Mark Tinkler also put in a stella performance and scored his first ever Colne goal.Under the constant pressure David Pryde got on the score sheet for Congleton the only problem being it was past his own keeper..MOM, Mark Hughes. Was a complete striker today scored and assisted.

Colne 2-1 Flixton
The second placed team gave us a good run for our money today. After Marc Hughes got us the lead on 14 mins, Flixton equalised just before half time. They looked like they would walk away with hard earned point too. The team had other plans though and on earning a corner on 82 mins, Daniel Wilkinson thundered in a header from the set piece. That was his first ever in a red shirt. The frustration of losing the lead so close to full time was too much for Flixton and Aaron Brooks was sent off with 3 minutes to go. MOM, Eric Farro. At his maurading best today make plenty ofr chances.

Colne 3-0 Runcorn Town
Another great home result. David Lee kept up the goal scoring competition with Hughes, bagging another two goals. Eric Farro completed the scoring. MOM, David Lee. Although the whold team put on a good show the two goal tip it david's way.

Hartley Wintney 0-3 Colne. Fa Vase
The next round of the FA vase we faced off against English Conbined Counties Div 1 Hartley Wintney. We easily took care of the lower tier side. Lee, Hughes and Farro again getting on the scoresheet. Also new signing Zola really impressed in his second game resulting in him assisting in a goal. MOM, Eric Farro. Had yet another great game this guy very rarely lets the team down scoring one and providing another.

Next up the big game with Huddersfield.....

Colne 0-1 Huddersfield. FA Cup

Well the fairytale run had ended... But I couldn't have been proud of every man out there. The whole game we closed them down stayed tight at the back ground it out, also making a more than a few chances ourselves. Our down fall came from one lapse Callum Woods playing through Lee Novak who buried the shot. The testament to how we aquited ourselves was the fact that man of the match went to Alex Smithies who unfortunately made some outstanding saves. It was our first loss this season...There was no shame in this whatsoever Huddersfield are a fine team, second in league one and one of the front runners for propmotion this season. It had been a great cup run and had gained us some valuble experience, cash and fans. MOM, Ger Rafter. For a Colne player I'd have to go with Rafter. Really threw himself into keeping Hudderfield out and limiting their chances. Also played some great long passes upfield.

Colne 6-1 Aston Athletic
The players showed they were not suffering any hangover from the end of our cup run. We absolutely mauled Aston Athletic, Even with Lee missing penalty. Despite that he still scored a hat-trick. Hughes also got on the score sheet, Along with defenders Rafter and Lomas. MOM, David Lee. Had to be the hat trick hero!, also making an assist.
Well that was the month and the year at an end. Colne had seen a resurgance, still in two cups and the league title well on course. Fans were singing my praises chanting non-league Mourinho!. That was maybe taking it far. The hard part had been the chasing down of the players and getting the team together and on the kind of shoestring budget we had. I knew at this level they would get the job done.

Unlike most our new years resolution was to stay exactly the same...
January Review

Into the new year and things were looking rosy for Colne. The lads were all playing well together and we had a great team spirt forged. As the weeks and months roll on,with the league, Fa vase and NWC league cup all coming to a head. We now had to see if we could keep our runaway run of success on track..

7th Jan Maine Road 2-4 Colne
Our first match of the year saw us make the trip to Manchester and Maine Road. The team struck the first blow Ashley Chapman scoring. That woke us up and we scored the leveller within five minutes David Lee giving us parity. Maine Road reeling we scored another two within 6 minutes Marella and Hughes getting them. We paid the price for our all out attacking by conceding again just before the break to make it 3-2, Their main goal source Ali Holden bagging this one. Jorden Bowen then put the game to bed in the second half. MOM, Jorden Bowen. The ex Blackburn youngster had become a key centre mid for us this season. A goal and an assist highlights of another tireless performance.

11th Jan Colne 5-1 Runcorn Linnets
Our first home match of the season saw us put on a real performance. Veteran Jamie Forrester got himself a brace. Whilst Lee got another two on his quest for top league scorer. Daniel Wilkinson also chipped in from defence for the fifth. Gareth Adams got the Linnits only goal the first of the match which ultimately served only to awake the wrath of the league leaders. MOM, David Lee. Even though old boy Forrester pulled back the years. There is no beating Lee when he is in full flow, showed Runcorn no mercy.

20th Jan Shortwood 2-2 Colne. FA Vase
Here we were held to a draw after a long trip to Nailworth, Gloucestershire . Callum kelly got the Hellenic League Prem side in the lead on 34 mins. We regrouped And Liam Davidson again popped up in a cup match to put us level. While we had them on the backfoot that man Lee again got a goal to put us ahead just before half time. Shortwood would be put out of the cup so easily though and Kelly got a second 64 mins into the second half. They grimly held on to take it to a replay. MOM,Liam Davidson(Officially Callum Kelly) Overall Kelly of Shortwood deserves the credit this day for his immense effort. Top of the pick for us though had to be Davidson put in a great display to try and keep us with first choice Marella who was rested.

25th Jan Cheadle 2-5(ET) Colne North West Counties League Cup
A few days rest and we were back in cup action. This time against lower league NWCL div 1 Cheadle. They put up quite a fight!. We got off the mark quickly Kallum O'Kane getting his first Colne goal on 6 mins. Steven Moncur levelled on 24 mins and we went into the break even on one a piece. Cheadle then tried to cause an upset of their own gain the lead on 52 mins through Neil Evans. We had proved though time and again we were fighters. On 72 mins Bowen proved that point and just why he was a first choice at colne getting us level. We went to full time again both level, I gave the lads a quick speech saying a knew we could do better not that we had been poor, a goal was enough to wins this if we got i was sure we could hold it and progress. Well the lads gave me that and then some. Cheadle had fought well but the 90 mins had taken it out of them. This is where our fitness training showed its worth yet again. We demolished them in extra time scoring three goals Bowen with two and making his hat-trick, David Lee landing the final blow. We had done it the hard way but we had progressed. MOM, David Lee. Bowen was a close second and did get a hat trick. Lee though was working all game to make those spaces and tie up cheadle's defence.

28th Jan Alsager 1-1 Colne
With only three days rest and our third game in 8 days, it had to be an almost completely different eleven on the pitch, their ring rust showed. A point wasn't a crisis, but the lads given a chance didn't make the first team worry for their places. One of the only players who did was Aiden Sherlock in his first start in four games who lashed in a amazing volly from a corner to top off the centre backs fine game. Ian Leighfield levelled in added time of the first half. MOM, Matt Lomas. The left back was the other player to stand out, maybe in an effort to stake his claim for the LB birth. Was his pinpoint corner that found Sherlock.

Well that was January and we'd started the year as we'd ended the last one. Still top of the league and still unbeaten in the league. We were still in the fight for three cups. And at the start of February we would be resuming our fight with Shortwood to reach the quarter final of the FA Vase...
February Review

For most clubs this was getting to the buisness end of the season. For us the league was pretty much sewn up. We just had the two cups which were still in the balance. Our First task of this month was the FA vase replay with Shortwood. The cup games now had to come first. Prize money, bigger home crowds and most importantly the chance of better sponsership was at stake. David Fishwick had added performance based donations linked with the cups and league. I had also been in talks with Richard Bannister who runs the Boundary mills retail store, which has its founder and now flagship store in Colne. It seemed like the best deal to have a successful and local buisness to sponser the shirt. I had also been in talks with local supermarket chains ASDA and Sainsbury's who also had stores close by who had been interested in taking talks further on sponsership.Many other buisnesses had taken an interest following the local buzz after our great season so far. We couldn't waste this chance we had to make the most of this season to forge a bright future for our small club.

Colne 4-1 Shortwood. FA Vase. 1st Feb
The lads yet again showed that we are kings of the comeback this season. After another cagey game we went into half time level and goal free. Chris Davis then silenced the home fans with a goal on 50 mins. Again I and the reds fans were just about to 'start thinking well we had a good run'. That was until Dominic Marella decided to go on full hero mode. On 77mins he got on the end of a Jack Brierley cross to put us level. Shortwood steadied themselves and we went into full time level.In extra time we went all guns blazing. The breakthrough came on 105 mins a Lomas cross found Marella in the centre of the box he brought it down and calmly slotted it home. Not long into the second half of extra time on 108 mins Bowen put a long ball into the box to you guessed it..Marella took it in his stride and thumped it home for a hat-trick. He then put the final nail in the coffin when Farro this time put him through on goal and he scored an incredible fourth. After a quiet 90mins we had expoded in extra time and completely desimated Shortwood. MOM, Dominic Marella. There was no way it could go to anybody else ran himself into the ground to bury Shortwood. Amazing effort from him that has him abolutely nail down the right wing spot.

King's Lynn 1-2 Colne. FA Vase. 4th Feb
We had only 3 days rest before our next FA vase game. Even so we dug deep and came away with the result. Fatigue was maybe was behind the shock 4 min goal from Anthony Murt. Dusting ourselves down we slowly got back into the game. Mark Hughes bagged the equaliser on 21 mins. Steadily taking control of the game we took the lead on 53 mins, David Lee with a neat finished from a Farro assist. MOM, Eric Farro. Picked up the slack from a good but slightly jaded Marella. Keep the ammunition coming for our two strikers.

Squires Gate 2-4 Colne. 8th Feb
Going back to the league our form was as strong as ever. Our attacking was at our deadly best. Hughes getting a brace, Lee and Bowen getting a goal each too. The only mar was a defecive slip towards the end of the match, which saw us concede two sloppy goals in the last twenty minutes. MOM, Mark Hughes. Got two goals and had a really solid perfomance up front.

Colne 2-0 Stone Dominoes. 11th Feb.
Back at home we put on a good solid show keeping a clean sheet for the first time in elevan games. Mark Hughes scored both of the goals on 36 and 85 mins. MOM, Mark Hughes. Second time in a row hughes was the stand out man. It was also his second brace in row.

Silsden 1-5 Colne. 15th Feb
Mark Hughes's amazing goal scoring season carried on as he one-upped his consecutive braces with a hat-trick. Jorden Bowen also scored and Forrester score on his return to the starting eleven. The only plus for Silsden was a last minute consolation goal. MOM, Mark Hughes. When he's on song he's unplayable at this level. This was one of those days.

Barnoldswick 4-5 Colne. 18th Feb
Has to go down as the most entertaining derby games ever!. We drew first blood with a goal from talisman Hughes on 24 mins. Jack Overson then pull Barlic level on 33 mins. Barlic was left deflated just before half time as goalkeeper Tim Dobie swiped the ball in his own net, From a rebound off the post following a Mark Hughes shot. Three minutes into the second half we increased our lead. Centre backs Rafter and cowen linking up from a corner, Rafter getting to the ball on the far post and putting the ball to Cowen who waiting on the near post tapped the ball in at point blank range. Things got even better as David Lee curled a sublime goal into the corner from the edge of the Barlic area. Our local Rivals were quick to fight back though Paul Mcquire getting a goal on 54 mins. 66 mins and we begin to sweat as Dale Oakes made it 4-3. Overson then got on the end of a fine cross to get his second and leave the home fans jubulent and us furious. The game had a final twist though, Hero of the day Richard Cowen again found himself unmarked on a corner and duly headed in the short corner and Marella cross. And that was the last say on top of a great season we had come out on top against our fiercest local rivals. MOM, Richard Cowen. Maybe not his best denfencive display but he stood up big when it counted in getting the goals.

We can now almost touch the finish line of the season and things had come together nicely. We had a great mix in the team of experience and youth. We also had great depth with every position two or more players keeping each other at their best. We also had players for the future in our youth team who had been playing in games I arranged with local youths teams.Mostly in the tier above us, getting good results against the likes of Hyde, Curzon Ashton, Cammell Laird and Skelmersdale's youth teams.

Other players who were not getting a look in with he first team went out on loan. Jason Sheehan who had fallen behind Marella and Davidson went out to North Counties East Div 1 playoff fighters Bottlesford in Jan. This month a unhappy Jasiah Donaldson wanted to leave after finding his first team showings dry up. I felt he hadn't been playing good enough simple as, I guess he didn't like the truth and so he was transfer listed. Nobody gets a free ride here. In the end nobody came in with a full tranfer offer and so he was shipped out to Northen Counties East Div 1 strugglers Glasshoughten Welfare on loan. Engilsh United Counties Div 1 title challenges Thrapston made a request to loan Jack Brierley, The young striker was at the bottom of the pecking order of the young strikers so we agreed to let him go. Painfully unlucky the young lad was injured in a training sesson and would be out for maybe the whole duration of his loan.

Next month was going to be a big one. We could see ourselves crowned league champions in good time if we got the results. We also had the first of our cup semi finals against fellow North west counties prem Stone Dominoes, In the North West Counties league cup.
March Review

Glossop 1-4 Colne. 3rd March
A match that followed the form book as we breezed to a win against league strugglers Glossop. Marc Hughes got another hat-trick with Farro scoring the other. MOM, Marc hughes. Had to be with three goals and another top showing.

Colne 4-2 Atherton LR. 7th March.
The visitors were in a generous mood giving us two own goals that lead to us taking all three points. Marc Hughes and Eric Farro again were on the scoresheet with the other two. MOM, Hughes/Farro. Officially it went to Atherton's Graeme Toman. For us there was nothing to separate the two scorers.

Colne 6-0 Dunstable. FA Vase. 10th March.
We were getting to the buisness end of the FA Vase. The quarter final draw saw us play hosts to Isthmian League Div 1 Dunstable. We abolutely dominated the game from start to finish and showed we wanted to progress. Showing we had great compititon for places it was a varied scoresheet. Talisman Hughes got himself a brace and first choice right winger Marella getting another to his name. The younger player then kept themselves in the picture, striker Daniel Anderson scoring and Kingsley williams coming on from the bench to score in added on time. Dunstable themselves got the other goal which was the only time they hit the back of the net. MOM, Dominic Marella. Has really made that right wing spot his own and another tireless performance shows why.
Colne 1-0 Winsford. 14th March
A quiet game for our standards although we controlled the game well The game stayed level until the 80th minute when Hughes got the winner. MOM, Marc Hughes. Kept on working until he could finally finish a chance.

Colne 3-0 Ramsbottom. 17th March. Crowned League Champions!
Back to our usual home domination.Also a joyfull day for the club as we clinched our first silverware of the season as the Champions Of the NWCL Premier!!. Young Kingley Williams got us off the mark with his second league goal. First team regulars David Lee and Dominic Marella bagged the other two.As the final whistle blew the celebrations could begin as we lifted the cup in front of our home supporters. MOM, Matt Lomas. The LB was lethal today going forward on the overlap providing two assists.

Colne 2-0 Stone Dominoes, NWCL League Cup. 20th March.
This was our first chance of the season to reach a final of a cup. Winning the cup would also prove complete our dominance over this league. The chance wasn't wasted as we toppled the dominoes for the third time this season. Mainstays David Lee and Eric Farro scored as we cruised to the final. MOM, Dominic Marella. Come up big again to terrorise the right flank and provide the ammunition for both goals.

Bootle 1-3 Colne. 24th march.
After 5 straight home games we were back on the road, the destination merseyside to play mid table Bootle. After starting quiet the game exploded near to half time. Gavin Dukes giving Bootle the lead. We then turned the game on its head with Farro getting the leveller, Before Geoff Bridges put the ball in his own net to put us ahead right before the break. We then held the lead well before Hughes finished them off on 87mins with a fine strike. MOM, Dominic Marella. He's on a roll at the moment again assisting both of Colne's scorers.

Bacup 2-2 Colne.31st March
The final game of the month was a tough trip to third place Bacup. For the first time in a while we'd had a full weeks rest.. maybe the lads wern't used to it!. They came right at us the first half and hit us with a sucker punch early on Anthony Miles scoring on 4mins. The second half saw us get the game back and push for the equaliser. Again were knocked for six when from a free kick Bacup won a penalty, which phil Lampkin converted to put us 2-0 down on 53mins. This time I really though the run had come to an end...Everything had gone against us it was just looking like one of those games. Still the lads picked themselves up and keep pushing to get something out of this game. Time was running out though... Again we come forward, young Striker Anderson worked the ball along the right flank just outside the box and put in a great cross, it found David Lee who duely lashed the ball into the net on 84mins. So we had a faint glimmer of hope now, Although that drained we saw that 90mins was just about the desend on us . RB O'Kane had the ball on the flank he played an early cross which found Eric Farro inside the area, He brought the ball down and turn and hit a curving shot that found the top left corner of the net!. It probably the happiest I've ever been with a draw! lol but what a goal!. MOM, Kallum O'Kane. The young right back put in the best performance in defence, then provided the ball that made THAT goal possible.

Stealing a March...
I'd not only been busy with the fixtures this month. Well there had been big celebrations upon comfirming Promotion and lifting the league title. So I had begun to plan of next season in advance. My first step was to bring in some more experience in defence. For that end I enlisted the services of veteran Marlon Broomes, who was only on an amateur contract with Evo stick north div 1 Clitheroe. After some persuation and upon seeing the future plans for this club he was sold and joined our ranks. That was big coup for us and showed that we were going places to get a player for a team established in the league above us. He would be a great asset with vast experience playing in lancashire. Spending 7 years at Blackburn, 3 years at Preston and also a spell at Blackpool. Overall he's had over 250+ league apps with time spent at Swindon, Grimsby , QPR, three seasons at Stoke, Tranmere and Crewe aswell.

That wasn't all I'd also been scouting the League below us for young talent. Scout Riley had been looking at the midlands and came back with a list of youngsters. We took on four young players to join our influx of youngers from the local area who had been having trials over the course of the last two months. One was from the midlands a young 16 year old CM Called Liam Elding who had scored 3 in his first 5 games for Barden Hill. The other three Came from the NWCL Div 1. LB Peter Paterson and Striker Anthony Coton signed Pre contracts from Playoff hopefulls Rochdale Town. Finall came Edward Thomas young CB from title challenging Oldham Borough.

With a promotion, a league title, one big signing, an influx of local youth and four promising young talents signing pre-contract agreements. the future was looking bright at Colne...
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April review

This month saw us trying to get our feet back on the ground after our league success and see if we could carry on our unbeaten league season. That task would be even harder now that the league was sewn up and our attention turned to the two cup runs that were coming to a head. I had to keep the team focused now. Hopefully our great squad depth would push the team on and on further with good players ready to take the first team spot should an opening present itself.

St Helens 2-2 Colne. 7th April.
It was our turn to be on the receiving end of a late comeback. A goal in each half for us, from Lee in the first half and Hughes in the second made it look like another routine win. St Helens had other ideas Owen Jorden putting in a sparkling performance cutting the lead on 78mins. He then snatched back a point for his team with a goal in the third minute of four minutes of added on. MOM, Marc Hughes/David Lee. Both front men had a good game with each getting a goal.

Colne 0-0 AFC Blackpool. 11th April.

With a lot of players being rested for the FA Vase semi final in three days, this wasn't a game that will live long in the memory. The team played well and controlled the game but just lacked that killer instinct today. On the plus side we'd kept a clean sheet and kept that unbeaten run intact. MOM, Ed Williams. Played a big part in controlling the right flank, giving some great support in attacking on the overlap.

Dereham 0-1 Colne. Fa Vase semi-final. 14th April.

A closer match than it could have been against the Isthmian League Div 1 side. We had the lion's share of the chances. Surprisingly our two main goal getters just couldn't hit the back of the net. The deciding goal come on 86mins, From the 63min sub Daniel Anderson who had put himself into Colne's history with what was only his second ever Colne goal.Also it was Marlon Broomes first start in a safe as houses performance at the back. The first being against Dunstable in the quarter final. MOM, Kallum O'Kane. Giving Williams a real run for his money for the RB spot. Was quality defending and going forward. It was his cross that set up Anderson to get the winner.

AFC Liverpool 2-2 Colne. 21st April.

We seem to be specialising in 2-2 draws away from home!. We built a two goal lead in the first half with goals from David Lee and Eric Farro. Then let Liverpool back in the game in the second which allowed them to salvage a point. MOM,Eric Farro. A threat all game and made it pay with a fine goal.

Colne 4-1 Padiham. 28th April.

Our last derby of the season and we went out with a bang!. The captain lead by example Willie Boland getting the opener. It was a day for the old men to shine with our lead extended by Jamie Forrester. Marc Hughes was also back on top form bagging a brace. Oliver Burnside got some consolation for Padiham with their only goal. MOM, Jamie Forrester. The veteran rolled back the years with a classic performance, which showed just why it is always wise to have experience in a squad. Scored and assisted in both of Hughes's goals.
May and June Review

This was the final stretch we had three more games of the league to go, a NWCL League cup final and a Fa Vase final in June.

Flixton 1-2 Colne. 5th May.

A tough test with a trip to the second placed Manchester team. Flixton held their own until just before the break when David Lee finally broke the deadlock on 37mins. Flixton then proved why they were second fighting back and getting the equaliser through Mark Grant. Then just went it looked like both sides would settle for a share of the points. Marc Hughes broke through and scored the winner and his 37th league goal....MOM, Marc Hughes. Had a fine game and was a menace all game finally getting the winner.

Runcorn Town 0-1 Colne. 12th May.

With Runcorn safely away from the drop zone they didn't have much to play for in this game. Which made it an easy task to carry on our undefeated run to the last game. It seemed to rub off on us too. We passed the ball around and controlled the game beautifully without finishing them off. Finally we found our killer instinct again right at the end Marella scoring on the first minute of stoppage time. MOM, Dominic Marella. Helped control the game with some great runs and fine crosses and switching balls to the opposite flank.

Colne 1-1 Congleton. 19th May.

It had turned out to be a great final game of the season with both team having something to play for. We had our unbeaten run hinging on this one last game. We would be the first ever club to go through a season in this league unbeaten. Congleton had their future in this league resting on the outcome of this game. Both Congleton and Aston Athletic were both on forty points with Congleton out of the drop zone on goal difference. They indeed gave us a real game and they battled hard to keep up with us. We had also put out a second string team in view of our looming cup final. Still in added time of the first half old boy Tinkler linked up with fellow veteran Forrester to provide him with a goal that took us into this break in the lead. Fighting for their lives Congleton battled back in the second half and Lee Comer putting his team back level. Both teams then reached a stalemate and they match ended in a draw. We couldn't begrudge them a point as we had done it making yet another piece of history for the club. When news filtered in that Aston Athletic too had drawn we offered our congratulations on preserving their league status to our opponents. MOM, Officially had to be Lee Comer as his goal has secured his clubs survival. For us it had to be old man Jamie Forrester who scored and had another fine game.

Colne 4-1 Bootle, NWCL League Cup. 23rd May.

So were here at our first of two finals the warm up to Wembley. Here the stage was Leigh Sports Village home of the Leigh Centurions and Swinton Lions rugby teams and also the Blackburn Rovers U21's. The team rose to the challenge magnificently infront of the 650+ travelling Colne fans. Eric Farro was the first to write his name in the Colne History books scoring on the second minute. Getting on the end of the beautifully weight Hughes pass to bury it. Daniel Tanner then drew Bootle level five minutes later. Bootle goalkeeper Jimmy Fuller then made a horrendous howler. Deflecting a Marella cross into his own goal on 27 mins. We then finished of the game before the break David Lee getting two goals on 31 and 45mins .The first an absolute nuclear striker from point black range from a Marella cross. The second a neatly placed shot into the left hand corner after Marc Hughes stole the ball from Bootle defender Thomas Bowyer before putting Lee through. MOM, David Lee. Turned Bootle's cup dream into a nightmare!. Fantastic up front which showed in his two goals.

So we had done it.. another piece of silverware!. We really were going into every game thinking we could win. That would stand us in good stead come our chance to strut our stuff at Wembley...

Colne 4-0 Newcastle Benfield. FA Vase Final. 8th June.

Newcastle Benfield had already been through the heartbreak of losing the Northen League Div 1 playoff final to Guisborough. They were looking to ease pain of missing promotion with a cup win. Instead we heaped more misery on their poor fans. We put them under pressure right from the off and they cracked. Chris Trevena hauled David Lee to the ground fighting to get to a Richard Cowen cross. Lee deftly put away the penalty himself. Ten minutes later Lee was brought down again. Another penalty but this time Lee missed the chance to double our lead. Benfield were going in hard and Marc Hughes had to go off after a horrific challenge. It was really unlucky for him given his amazing league form that he hadn't been able to get a cup final goal. Old head Forrester replaced him and was the one to double our lead. Jorden Bowen put a fine cross into the box right on Forrester's head who'd made a smart run, All he needed to do was steer it into the bottom left corner. Right on the stroke of half time Marella seized on a poor Gary Ball back pass to put the goal away. The second half we steadied the ship and made sure we held onto this lead with a strangle hold. We gave them absolutely nothing. We were still making chances and putting their defence under pressure though and Benfield gave away their third penalty. Marella putting Farro through in the box where he was brought down. Forrester step up and put the final nail in the coffin with a coolly took spot kick. MOM, Jamie Forrester. Did a fantastic job coming on for talisman Hughes. Held the ball up at the top end of the field. Put in a fine header and penalty.

What a way to end the season!. Triple cup winners and an unbeaten league campaign. The team had even picked up the nickname Non League invincibles!. Even though the big Wembley stadium hardly looked filled by the 1000+ crowd, they were brilliant in getting behind us and making noise. With this amazing season hopefully we could win more and more fans over.

Now the hard work would begin for the next season and a step up in class to the regional divisions....
The Season Ends

The first season had ended with unimaginable success. Three trophies and countless new records for the club. A NWCL and club record of a full league season unbeaten, with a club recorded unbeaten run now standing at 30 games!. Marc Hughes now had the record for most league goals scored in a season with an amazing thirty seven. John Bateman has a new league clean sheet record of Fourteen. We also had cause to make an International honours board. As Eric Farro became the first ever Colne player to earn a full international Cap, Earning five caps throughout the season for his homeland Reunion.

The final trophy to pick up for the season was the North West Counties Premier Manager of the year award. It was a proud moment for me, Although I was angered that one of my players didn't walk away with player of the year which went to Dax Hoogerwerf of AFC Blackpool.

Keeping tracks on the top leagues of English football, It was a was Arsenal's year winning a Premier league, Europa league and league cup treble . They almost made it a quadruple losing in the FA cup final to financially troubled Portsmouth. The rest of the top four were Chelsea, Liverpool and Man city. Man united falling out of the top four in a shock of the season was the other big news, with Fergie now feeling the heat. Being exiled from the promised land were Wigan, Swansea and Norwich.

In the championship there was ecstasy for Championship winners West ham, runners up Birmingham and play off winners Cardiff. And agony for firstly me as the team I supported Burnley lost in the play off semi finals to Blackpool. Although not as much as fans of Coventry, Crystal Palace and Millwall who were relegated..

In league one Sheffield United were crowned champs, Huddersfield came runners up and Preston were victorious in the play offs. Yeovil, Tranmere, Bury and Stevenage all dropped to league 2.

In League 2 Shrewsbury were champions, Swindon and Rotherham second and third. While Plymouth won out in the play offs. Dagenham and Redbridge and Macclesfield suffered the agony of losing their football league status..With Cambridge and Wrexham taking their places from the conference premier next season.

In big news for Colne a plan that had been forming since the beginning of the season was also about to come to fruition. It was something that would be as important as our recent promotion....