Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Decline of Stockport County FC - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Decline of Stockport County FC - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Decline of Stockport County FC

In 2001/02, Stockport County were playing in Division One (as it was known back then) and as of 2013/14 they will be playing against the likes of Bishop’s Stortford and Colwyn Bay in the Blue Square North. But where did it all go wrong for this traditional North West football club?

Back in 2001, they beat Manchester City 2-1, who won the Division One title that season through a remarkable John Hardiker brace in the final four minutes. Now, City are fighting rivals United at the top of the Premier League whilst County have sunk to lows which the club’s fans thought they would never see. City’s final game in the Premier League in 2012/13 sees them face Norwich having already claimed second place whereas Stockport’s final game in the Blue Square Premier was marred by crowd trouble which saw their fans invade the pitch at Kidderminster and one fan even started attacking the Harrier’s players. City and County used to be rivals, now ‘the Citizens’ pity ‘the Hatters’. The contrast is astounding.

Even in 2008, there were positive signs for County as they won the League Two play-off final only to be relegated back down to League Two in 2010 followed by dropping out of the Football League completely in 2011. Their fall from grace since 2008 is incomparable.

When respected German Dietmar Hamann was introduced as manager when they fell out of the Football League, there was yet more optimism. Fans believed that he would guide them back to League Two after dropping out for the first time in 106 years but it never materialised,

Financial trouble has marred the club over the last few years, with Sale Sharks’ owner Brian Kennedy even letting them off six month’s rent on Edgeley Park at one stage to save them going out of business. The centre of excellence (which I, in fact, used to be a trainee at) has recently closed and a lot of the playing staff have been forced to leave to cut costs.

This historic football club which was formed in 1883 and was in the Football League from 1905 to 2011 faces the darkest days in its history. It is a massive shame for all who live in the town of Stockport but that doesn’t stop the fans believing that ‘the Hatters’ can one day return to the league. No one likes to see such a historic club decline so rapidly so let’s just hope that the club can bounce back because County deserve a lot more than what they have had over the last decade.