Colne Fc Lancashire minnows to football league heroes

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Local money men buy into the reds dream

Colne Fc have been given a major boost following the clubs best season in it's short history. A trio of Ted Fort, owner of the simonstone based Fort Vale engineering firm, Mattew Riley, owner of Nelson based Daisy communications and local celebrity businessman David Fishwick from Bank of dave fame and owner of Colne based David Fishwick van and minibus sales. Young manager Andrew Monaghan had spent the previous year canvasing for investment into the football club. His efforts seem to have paid off handsomely as some of the richest East Lancs buinessmen were finally convinced to buy stakes in the club. Andrew talked of how elated he and everybody at Colne FC had been with the previous season and now the fantastic news for the future of the club.

"The past few months have been mind blowing!. To get promotion and to win three cups was amazing and all the hard work definitely paid off big time. I was always confident of our promotion chances with the players we had brought in. The success we had though surpassed even what I thought we would achieve.

Now we have managed to bring in some investment which in some ways is as big of an achievement if not bigger..We are still only a small local club so are not really a thought when it comes to sponsorship or investment. So it took a lot of convincing from me and everybody at the club. Dave (Fishwick) was a god send as he had already been the clubs main sponsor. After convincing him to donate some more money to the club. We spoke of him maybe buying into the club. He was willing finally!, after seeing us run away with the league and our impressive cup runs. He then helped massively with convincing Ted and Mattew to also come in and have a look at Colne. They saw what we were doing here both on the pitch and off it. Slowly we turned them around and helping us to turn this into something the community could really get behind and be proud of."

The announcement has been made that Ted Fort and Mattew Riley have each bought forty percent of the club, while David Fishwick has bought the remaining 20 percent. At a photo event taken outside the XLCR Stadium they had this to say.

" After seeing how the club is being run and how plans going forward will be of benefit the the local area we were happy to invest in the football club. The day to day running of the club will still be in the hands of Dave Blacklock and the manager Andrew Monaghan with all three of us keeping a close eye on the clubs progress. We won't be troubling Man City for headlines before people get too excited!. We are looking to run the club as responsibly as possible and to make it as self sufficient as possible."
Pre-Season Preview

Things were all coming together here at Colne. With new investment in place we put in plans to improve the training facilities which were pretty basic. I managed to convince the board that helping our players improve as much as possible was vital. Better facilities would help us attract more player to come to us above the many many other lower non-league clubs trying to sign them.

Pre contract signings 16 year olds Liam Elding, Edward Thomas, Adrian Coton and Peter Paterson all joined the ranks. After the success of our Irish scouting last season we had another look again this season. We had landed our first target too 18 year old LB Craig Spiers who joined Northen Irish Premier Glentoran at the age of eleven. He spent four seasons there before moving to fellow Premier side Lisburn Distillery, Who after three seasons released him. I felt he could go on to be a great player for us in time but he had plenty of competition for the LB position.

I had also been given the go ahead to bring in more people on the staff and coaching team. The first was Chris Adamson as Goalkeeping coach. He had a thirteen year career starting with West Brom where he spent years making only 12 appearances. Spending time on loan at IK Brage, Mansfield, Halifax Town, Plymouth and Halesowen Town. One of major successes came in his two seasons at Irish side St Patricks Athletic. Where he earned 2003 Irish Premier Goalkeeper of the year. Moving back to England He spent time at Solihull Borough, Sheffield Wednesday, Stockport County. His last success came at Ilkeston Town where he played a major role in them being promoted to the Blue Square North. He finished his career at Hereford as Player coach, Where he was not offered the coaching job full time. After getting into contact he agreed to join us as Goalkeeping coach.

The second addition was Ian *** as Youth coach. I was familiar with Ian as he had played for the team I support Burnley. He started out at Crystal Palace moving to Bournemouth playing alongside Rio Ferdinand.Burnley was next Before Gillingham and Maidstone united. He also made 13 international appearances for Trinidad and Tobago. After playing in a former Burnley players friendly I managed to get in contact and after talking offer him a coaching role at Colne which he took up coaching our youth players.

It was not all good news though right winger Jason Sheehan was missing living in Ireland, Also finding himself down the pecking order at right wing. Leading to him being loaned our the North East Counties Div 1 Bottlesford. He ask to be released so he could try to find a club back home in Ireland and I agreed to his wishes. Athough he didn't make many run outs he did score a memorable goal in the FA cup against Weston super mare and in the FA Vase against Sevenoaks. So it was sad to see my first player departure.

We also had to say goodbye to one of the staff, Fitness coach Jon Hanson. He wanted to go back to his first passion rugby. He turned down a new contract with Colne to try and gain a job in fitness coaching within rugby.

In a Pre-season you also had to have matches to keep the team fit and gel any new additions. We weren't a big enough club yet to pull in fans from further afield. So I picked teams that were fairly local to spread our name in the north west. First up the team that won the NWCL play off fellow promoted Bacup Borough. We would then go up a level and test ourselves with Blue square North relegated,Now Evo stick North Prem Hyde. Next and even Bigger test in Blue Square North Stalybridge Celtic. Then take it easier with North West Counties Prem Congleton. Finally after Signing one of their brightest young talents Edward Thomas, We'd keep up relations with Oldham Borough who were still in the North west Counties Div 1 After missing promotion.

The pre-season matches were approaching let the games begin...
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Pre-season Preview Part 2

Colne 4-0 Bacup 30th June

A perfect first run out against fellow promoted Bacup. Our main man up fron Marc Hughes opened the scoring just thirteen minutes in. The it was the turn of the young strikers on the fringes last season to put themselves on display. In particular Leeroy Chinthengah who had a man of the match performance scoring two fine goals. Daniel Anderson, scorer of the winning FA Vase semi final goal, kept himself in the running with a goal. MOM, Leeroy Chinthengah. Had a fine performance up front took his chance in the spotlight well.

We'd started the pre-season well with a good win. It had been a good chance to build confidence and fitness and also to give a run out to some of the lads who had not featured as heavily last season. I was pretty happy with the squad but was always on the lookout for good talent to add to our shortlist. Mainly they were in case of injuries or losing players to other clubs. Two players however had come along I felt would be a massive benefit to the team. They both had massive experience and would be able to contribute massively to the club both off and on the pitch.After a lot of work setting up communication then convincing them to come and have a look at what we were all about, I'd finally got them to sign up and join the squad...

Ian Breckin
I had come across the veteran defender while scouting Northern Ireland. He'd spent last season with Ballymena where they finished a credible mid table 6th, while reaching the Northern Irish league cup semi finals. He was keen to move back to England and finish his career, After talking to me and the staff he choose Colne. He brings a wealth of experience with over 640 football league appearances, For the likes of Rotherham, Chesterfield, Wigan and Nottingham Forest. He brings experience of success winning the Autowindscreens shield at Rotherham. The old Second division championship and Promotion from the Championship as runner up with Wigan. Promotion from League 1 as runner up with Notts Forest. And In two separate stays with Chesterfield Promotion in third place from league 2(2001) and League 2 championship(2011).

Bryan Hughes
The experienced midfielder had found himself at Tranmere but game time had proved elusive. He wanted to make his last few years constructive and not warming the bench or playing for the reserves. After having a talk with me and seeing how he could play a real part him changing a clubs history he was really interesting in joining up, even if it was a big step down. This guy could bring real quality and experience to the midfield, that's not saying we don't already!. His highlights include reaching the FA Cup Quarter finals with Wrexham, also winning the welsh cup with them in the last year they were allowed into the competition. Playing in the Premier League for Birmingham, Charlton and Hull. While also playing in the football league for Derby, Burton and Grimsby.

Both of these players showed that the buzz that was being generated around the club among the staff and players was really paying off. The fact that we also had Players like Willie Boland, Jamie Forrester and Mark Tinkler also helped convince them this was the place to put down roots and settle at the end of their career.

Colne 6-0 Hyde. 5th July.
The feeling that everything was going right for us was summed up in this game. Andrew Pearson had a horrific time in the centr of defence for Hyde shipping two own goals. Bryan Hughes scored on his debut Putting away a penalty that Matt Osmond conceded. It was a real day for the experienced players. With Forrester, David Lee and Eric Farro getting on the score sheet. MOM, Ian Breckin. Kept the defensive watertight and our victory look all the more amazing.

Colne 4-0 Stalybridge. 14th July.
Another good test for us and another we passed with flying colours. Bryan Hughes got us off the mark with another assured penalty. Marc Hughes carried on his scoring form with a brace, A sublime chip over the keeper and a well struck shot after being supplied by young Liam Elding. Dominic Marella completed the scoring heading in a fine Patrick Vaz free kick. MOM, Marc Hughes. Was deadly in front of goal today and caused Stalybridge all kinds of problems.

Colne 3-0 Congleton. 23rd July

The team a level below us so far put up the best fight. Still we managed to keep them out and score a few. Marella with the frist pouncing on a rebound from a saved Mark Hughes shot. Chenthengah then carried on his impressive growth by bagging a brace. Lashing in a fierce volley from a Craig Spiers cross and the second a neat penalty keeping his nerve. MOM, Leeroy Chenthengah. Continues to impress this pre-season with another fine forwards display.

Colne 1-1 Oldham Borough. 2nd August.
The further down the levels we went the harder the matchs it seemed!. Oldham Boro gave us a real game, Going ahead just before the break through Ronnie Williams. Mark Hughes pulled it back on 63 mins just before we were going to start sweating about an upset. Determined to hold on to at least a point from us Oldham hung on to claim a fine draw for them. Not a perfect end to pre- season but credit to Oldham they played well. No real man of the match the closest was Marc Hughes for the goal.

Well pre-season had go well we been unbeaten in a fixture list that wasn't a complete cake walk. We also brough in some fine player who had managed to fit in well. Players who had been on the sidlines had also got a good run out and given me food for thought.

Some more extra addition also come in to boost our reserve ranks.

Drew Jeffrey, GK. Young keeper only seventeen spent last year at his first club Evo stcick north div 1 Farsley. Made 27 apps in their 9th place season and would make a great understudy to Bateman.

Cole Harrop, RW. 18 year old right winger who was among a number of youth players to be released by Bradford. I thought he showed some talent and could be a fine member of our youth team before seeing if he could breaking into the seniors.

On the staff front we also welcomed:

Danny Hennigan-Fitness coach. Norwich born coach taking his first job in football.

Michael Cahill- Scout. Keighley born scout also taking his first job with a football club.

loaning out
With the influx of some new players. I knew some of the young players wouldn't be able to have a look in within the first team yet. So I made the decision to let some go out on loans to se gain real competitive experience.

Harry Jones-The young defender who I held high hopes for and had a fine loan spell at Thrapston. Will go out to Pilkinton ***.

Jack Brierley- Young ex Blackburn youth striker hadn't had a look in yet and injury ruined his last loan . So he was to go to Silsden.

Ollie Devenney- Ex Burnley youth CM again hadn't had a real look in so chose Hemsworth Miners welfare to take a loan spell.

Kingley Williams. Had some fines run outs for us. Would struggle though with Bryan Hughes now competing for a CM spot. Will go to Irlam to keep sharp.

Jasiah Donaldson- Calmed down a little after his want out argument. But still want first team football. Won't get it just yet and so goes out on another loan spell down a level this time to recently relegated Prescott Cables.

Things had all come into place I had added to and fill the gap in my coaching staff. And brought in a hand full of players I thought would add to the team. We looked confident and together, ready to hit the ground running when the starters pistol fired on the opening of the new season. But there was only one way to find out if we were really ready...
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August Review

Finally the season was under way. Me and the team couldn't wait to test ourselves at a higher level. The pre-season prep had gone well. I'd added to the team and staff well, so now all that was left was to put ourselves to the test..

Radcliffe Borough 2-3 Colne. 11th August.

First up was a tough introduction to the league against one of the top teams in the league from last season. Radcliffe finished third losing in the playoff semi finals to Salford. We took the lead from a Simon Kelly own goal. Radcliffe fought back and levelled from on loan Accrington striker Craig Lindfield. Alan Collins then gave them the lead just before the break. We weren't through though little over ten minutes into the second half and David Lee had drawn us level. Radcliffe then had some amazing bad luck as a Marc Hughes shot hit the cross bar only to rebound in the net off keeper Nick Culkin's back. But it was our first three points and we were off and running. MOM, Marc Hughes. Worked hard all game and made the winning goal.

Colne 4-0 Curzon Aston. 15th August.
Our first home game was a perfect introduction to this league for our home fans. Everybody had an excellent game but David Lee and Dominic Marella were the standouts with a brace each between them. MOM, Dominic Marella. Had an almost perfect day out on the right wing tore Curzon to pieces.

Mossley 1-3 Colne. Presidents cup. 18th August.

Our first cup competition was not the one taken the most seriously by teams.. but it was still silverware. We hit mossley hard from the start and David lee and Dominic Marella both had goals with just over eleven minutes played. Just before the break Mossley got back in it just before the break Ahmadou Seye scoring. Before Marella sealed the win with his second on seventy mins.
MOM, Dominic Marella. Seems to really have taken to this level with another outstanding showing.

Colne 5-0 Salford. 25th August.
We were really getting used to playing teams from the Manchester area!. We had also hit our stride in this league demolishing Salford. After a dry spell of three games Marc Hughes took just four minutes to give us the lead. Jorden Bowen then turned world beater scoring an amazing hat-trick. He waltzed through the Salford defence and into the box to slam home the first. Tapped in a sitter for his second after the ball pin balled around the area from a Marella cross. Then struck a beauty after from the edge of the area from a Bryan Hughes lay up. Marella then put in the final nail with the fifth. MOM, Jorden Bowen. Really staked his claim for ever present status in the centre of midfield. Showed absolutely no mercy to Salford today.

New league same story so far...A perfect start to the season. The way we hit the league like a hurricane didn't go unnoticed. I picked up the August Evo Stick Northen Div 1 Manager of the Month. While Patrik Vaz was chosen as player of the month. A lot of our players could feel unlucky not to take that award with Marella in particular in sparkling form all month.

Despite the season getting underway I always took time to keep my eye open for talent. Happy with the first team I brought in some young players who could in time break into the team. Also who I thought still had some big potential.

Jorden Bent, RW, 18. Young winger released this season by Preston.

Naim El Harrati, CM,18. Another of Preston's released youths, promising Centre mid.

Harrison Reed, CM, 18. With the reputation of Southampton's academy I didn't miss the chance to sign up one of their released youths. In the youth team had been described as a young Paul Scholes type player which would suit our style if he could break into the side in the future.
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September Review

We had hit this league with a bang!. Every man had taken the step up in their stride as I thought they would do. Also the new signings had taken to the team really well Bryan Hughes in particular striking up a great partnership with Jorden Bowen in the centre of midfield. Now things could settle down and I could let the team settle and fined their feet and form.

Spirits were higher than they had ever been which would be expected given our start. Now we had some financial backing there was real belief we could really go places. Sure we wouldn't be making Man city look back over their shoulder but for this level any amount of money you could get would give you a major edge. Also it was a proud moment for the club as the board decided the club would turn professional. As things stood would couldn't afford to give the entire team pro contract straight away. Still this was a major step in making this club a lot bigger the more players we could get on pro deals the better they could progress or maintain their skill.

Stocksbridge 1-7 Colne. 1st September.

Marc Hughes had to wait til the last game of the month to get off the goal scoring mark. He made up for the lean first month in spectacular fashion scoring an amazing five goals!, Which also happened to be a Colne record for goals in a match. David Lee also added to his Tally, While Patrik Vaz also got off the mark. Mom, Marc Hughes. How could he not be man of the match! five goals and assisted the other two.

Colne 2-1 Bacup. 8th September.

A goal in either half from Marc Hughes and Dominic Marella had us strolling to a steady three points. Martin Cosgrave had other ideas and scored a wonderful strike from 18 yards out. We regained our composure to keep hold of all three points. MOM, Dominic Marella. Made an assist and scored on a fine showing.

Farsley 0-4 Colne. 15th September.

The trip to Yorskhire was a happy one as we ran out easy winners. Marc Hughes hit double figures in super quick time with another hat-trick. David Lee also kept up the goalscoring pace with the other goal. MOM, Marc Hughes. Another fantastic showing and another three goals.

Colne 2-1 Bamber Bridge. 22nd September.
In another Lancashire derby, again ran out on top. A goal in either half from Dominic Marella and Patrik Vaz saw things running smoothly. John Bateman had other ideas though palming a Steve Rainford header into his own net. That kept thing interesting for the rest of the second half. We ragained control though and saw out the remainder picking up another win. MOM, Dominic Marella. A goal and an assist edge the award for him today.

Cammell Laird 0- Colne. 26th September.
Our last league fixture saw us travel to Merseyside and Cammell Laird. Another fine victory saw us run our clear victors. The great partnership forged by Lee and Hughes reaped yet more goals. Lee opening the scoring before Hughes bagged a brace. Bryan Hughes then put the icing on the cake with a twenty yard beauty of a curled shot, Scoring his first ever league goal for the reds. MOM, David Lee. worked incredibly hard and was involved in three of the goals.

Skelmersdale 1-3 Colne. Doodson Sports Cup. 29th September.
Our second cup competition saw us face a team a level above us in Evo Stick Premier Skelmersdale. Unfazed we went right after them. We were soon rewarded David Lee pouncing to lashing home a rebound from a saved Eric Farro penalty. Lee then doubled the lead right before the break, another powerful strike inside the box. A Stewart Charnley head gave the home team some hope on 78 mins. Finally in added on time Marc Hughes put the game to bed scoring a sweet finish from a Dominic Marella cross. MOM, David Lee. Had an excellent game giving Skelmersdale all kinds of trouble before injury forced him off.
Another fantastic month saw us again unbeaten. It couldn't last forever but while the good times were still rolling we could enjoy it. The only clouds in our sunny month were the injuries of David Lee and Marlon Broomes, both sustained in the last match of the month against Skelmersdale. The pair would both be out for at least four weeks.

Player loaned out
With big competition for the centre back spots I decided to let one of the lads who wasn't high up the pecking order get some game time. Daniel Wilkinson was allowed to go out and he chose Eastern Counties league 1 Bexhill United.

Veteran Player puts one foot into the coaching camp
With Jamie Forrester entering the twilight of his career I decided to reward him with a player/ coach contract with a view to becoming a full time coach on his retirement. Even though he hadn't featured this season, Jamie had scored some important goals for us and had some fine contributions, including scoring at wembley as we famously won the FA Vase. He had also played a part in taking the younger strikers under his wing and helping to develop their talent, tutoring Leeroy Chinthengah most closely.