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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Nelson FC

Victoria Park, Lomeshaye Way, Nelson, Lancashire BB9 7BN
Telephone: 01282 613820
Nickname: The Blues
North West Counties League

Note Originally formed in 1881, Nelson FC was a founder member of Football League Division Three North in 1921, winning promotion to Division Two the following season. The club’s Football League status was short-lived however and in 1931 Nelson dropped back down into the Non League ranks, to be replaced by Chester after failing to win re-election. The club’s first home was a basic pitch at the back of the Golden Ball PH but sometime around the Great War, moved to the Seedhill ground. In the early days there was a small wooden stand and a small covered area behind one goal, with grass banking all around the remainder of the perimeter. Promotion in 1922 saw the construction of a huge 2,000 wooden stand.

The club folded in the mid-1930s and during WW2, Seedhill became derelict until the club reformed in 1946 and entered the Lancashire Combination. The 1950s saw a new golden era for the club (and some great tussles with Wigan Athletic) under the leadership of Joe Fagan, who went on to later success with Liverpool. The ground however, changed little until the 1970s when speedway, and then stockcar racing was introduced. With the ground once again falling into a state of disrepair, it fell victim to the new M65 motorway and the club relocated to a council pitch in Victoria Park in 1981/82, just a few hundred yards away, christened “Little Wembley” by the locals. 

Despite being founder members of the NW Counties League in 1982/83, problems with getting Victoria Park up to scratch saw the club forced to drop down into the West Lancs League for four seasons, before being allowed to rejoin the NW Counties League in 1992/93.

Today, the ground is a tidy Non League venue, bordered by trees on two sides and with a concrete perimeter wall separating it from the surrounding parkland. Cover is provided along much of the length of the right hand touchline as one enters, by a low wooden stand with seating in its centre portion. The large breezeblock dugouts are opposite, with a couple of red & blue chairs daring to stand out beside their black neighbours in front of the solemn grey brickwork. Behind the dugouts stand terraced houses with a large chimney rising upwards in the distance: a reminder of the town’s former textile industry. The clubhouse and changing rooms are at the top end of the ground, behind the goal. DB

Archive photographs of Seedhill (1978)