FC Halifax Town will host fellow Vanarama National League North side Stalybridge Celtic at the MBi Shay Stadium this weekend in the third qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup. When the two sides met earlier in the month the Shaymen came out on top, after Liam King’s penalty gave Halifax an important win and stretched Billy Heath’s then unbeaten run to four games. As we gear up for this cup clash, here are ten interesting facts that you may not know about this weekend’s visitors…
Stalybridge are one of only four teams registered by FIFA with the name Celtic. The other are Belfast Celtic, Glasgow Celtic. and Cumbrian outfit, Celtic Nation F.C.
The Celt’s home since 1906, Bower Fold can hold way over 6,000 supporters on a match day in 2016. However, the record attendance in recent years for a Celt’s game is actually just under 4,000 in an FA Cup first round clash with Chester City. The ground’s record attendance actually as high as 10,300, when Dick Kerr Ladies beat a Rest of Lancashire XI 10–0 in 1921, although some believe that the real attendance was somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000.
Bower Fold is famous nationwide as being the only ground in the British Isles where the pitch faces a perfect north. Chesterfield’s Saltergate once joined Stalybridge in staking this claim but Saltergate was demolished in 2010.
Before the construction of FC United of Manchester’s new home, Broadhurst Park, the anti-Glazer club shared their home fixtures between Bower Fold and Bury’s Gigg Lane.
In 2000-01, Celtic won an unlikely treble in what has gone down as the greatest season in the club’s history. Lifting the Cheshire Senior Cup, the Presidents Cup and the Northern Premier League Premier Division in the same season. The players were even given the opportunity to show their silverware in an open top bus parade through the streets of Stalybridge.
Former Halifax Town manager Jim Harvey was manager of Stalybridge from 2009 to 2013 and guided them as high as sixth in the National League North. After a short spell at Oldham, Harvey would then join the Shaymen who he lead to last season’s FA Trophy triumph.
In 2008, Stalybridge found themselves just one game away from National League football but fell short, losing 1-0 to Barrow. It would have been the club’s highest positioning in their history.
The town of Stalybridge holds two Guinness World Records, for the Pub with the longest name in the world and the Pub with the shortest name in the world. The simply named ‘Q Inn’ is just a 15-minute walk away from the not so simply named ‘The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn’.
Stalybridge’s town brass band is known as the oldest Brass Band in the world. The fittingly named, Stalybridge Old Band, was founded in 1908.
The distance from the MBi Shay Stadium to Bower Fold is 26.2 miles, which is exactly the distance of the London Marathon. However, I doubt you will see many Celt’s fans jogging down the hard shoulder of the M62.
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