It’s not that uncommon for a team to ride the crest of a wave, before disappearing under the surface. Leek Town did just that. In the case of the Blues, it was their climb into the Conference for two years during the second half of the 1990s. But that wasn’t the first time we’d met them, of course. Oh no – we’d already been there and done that courtesy of our 1993-4 FA Trophy run. Since their relegation out of the Conference in 1999, however, we’ve not had reason to come up against them again… to date.
Leek Town: The Facts
Macclesfield Road, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 8LD
You can read up all about a Leek FC that dates back to around 1876 – but you’d be wasting your time. Our story in the case of the Blues starts in 1946; the creation of Leek Lowe Hamil by some accounts, or Abbey Green Rovers by others. Whatever. The club – regardless of its name – started in the Staffordshire County League. In 1951, they moved onto the Manchester League and took on the name by which you know them today. And they went on to win the championship at the first attempt. Nice.
In 1954, more movement followed; opting to compete in the Birmingham and District League. But they had to quit midway through the 1956-7 campaign due to cash problems. So, they eventually drifted back to the Staffordshire County League via the Manchester League. A fresh breath came through the Blues in 1968; a new committee driving them forward. It worked. They won a pair of Staffordshire County titles, followed by two Manchester League titles. At this point, it was off to the Cheshire County League.
This competition merged with the Lancashire Combination in 1982 to create the new North West Counties League. And, naturally, the Blues were part of that equation. It wasn’t a particularly productive time – but it didn’t stop them swapping settings for the Northern Premier League in 1987. Over the coming years, there was a head of steam building up; the Blues going close in the Northern Premier League in 1994. It ought to have delivered promotion to the Conference – but money matters got in the way.
So, the Blues turned to Southern League for the 1994-5 season – and then back to the Northern Premier League afterwards. Two years later, they were champions and were rewarded with promotion belatedly.
How to get to Leek Town – Travel Information – Distance: 152 miles
Go north on the M1 until you come to Junction 25, which will take you onto the A52. For the avoidance of doubt, take the first exit at the roundabout and travel in the direction of Derby (not Nottingham). After 6.7 miles or so, you’ll come to a big roundabout and you’ll want the second exit for Eastgate.
Bear right for The Underpass and continue onto the A601 St Alkmund’s Way. Turn right onto Friar Gate for the A52 and keep going for 17 miles – before going straight onto the A523. After another 10 miles, turn right onto Ball Haye Street (A523/A53) and then left onto Stockwell Street. The ground is up on the left just past the Sainsbury’s roundabout.
You’ll have to get there early to park at the ground. There’s no need to rush, however. The A523 that runs past the stadium can be used for parking. Or you can take a look in behind the Shell petrol station that’s nearby.
Unusual, perhaps – but there doesn’t seem to be a station anywhere near Leek. With its station shut in the 1960s, your nearest option is Stoke. And that ain’t that convenient…
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