The spread of football clubs in England is vast at times – and a good example is the space between Workington and Stevenage. For our first-ever meeting, luckily, it’d be the Reds who had to bridge that distance; drawn away to us in the 2010 FA Trophy Quarter Final. They gave us a pretty stern test too; Boro’ made to work hard to keep their hopes of a non-league double alive. Of course, there’s much more to the story of this particular opposition than you’re aware of; them being the second-last team ever to be ejected from the Football League via election.
Ask people in the know and they might claim that football has been around in Workington since 1775. Now, we know this to be hogwash; football being invented by Notts County in 1888, before Sky rebadged it all in 1992. As far as the history of the Reds is concerned, you’ll only have to go back to 1921. There were teams before the modern incarnation, but they fell by the wayside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With a brand-new club for the Roaring Twenties, things start off in the North Eastern League.
Up until World War Two, they were contenders – but never champions; the 1938-9 campaign as good as it got with second position. The period after the War turned out to be a bit fallow. But that’s a mere sideshow to the main event, which was election to the Football League in 1951 at the expense of New Brighton. Given the Reds had never won the North Eastern League, however, it’s no surprise their first efforts in the League were less than impressive. Bottom in their first campaign, things took a while to improve.
Improve they did, however. Under the leadership of that Bill Shankly, the Reds started to finish up the table in Division Three. By finishing 19th at the end of the 1957-8 season, they were put into Division Four as the pyramid underwent a restructuring. Promotion in 1964 earned them a three-season stay “back” in the third tier, but their return to the fourth tier was arguably the beginning of the end. On three occasions, they were 23rd out 24 teams. In their latter two League campaigns, they propped up the entire division.
The first time saw them only just get enough votes to remain in the competition. Yet, their luck ran out with their second successive bottom-placed finish in 1977. Crowds were poor and form likewise; Wimbledon got the nod in the end-of-season vote. Only Southport the following season would exit the League this way. So, it was back to non-league action for the Reds; joining the Northern Premier League. Here they would remain until promotion to Conference North in 2005, with relegation in 2014 returning them to the NPL.
How to get to Workington – Travel Information – Distance: 293 miles
It’s not quite as far as Carlisle (we think!) but much further than Barrow. Workington has you “working” a fair bit if you opt to drive this one. It’s around five hours in the car – and that’s if the traffic is playing ball.
You’ll have to familiarise yourself with the A1/A1(M) because you’ll be travelling along the best part of 200 miles of it. You’re aiming for Catterick. Once you pass there, things begin to change.
At Scotch Corner, exit the A1 and take the second exit at the rather big roundabout for the A66 itself and settle back. It’s another 88 miles before you’ll need to do much more, but for the eight-or-so roundabouts to negotiate.
The A66 will take you into Workington, which is hugely helpful as it means effort is kept to a minimum. Once in the town, turn right onto the A596 Bridge Street and continue along this road; going over a roundabout along the way. If you’ve done it right, you’ll cross the Derwent and travel along its north side until you reach a roundabout. Take the third exit for the A597 Trinity Drive and this will also take you back over the Derwent.
We’re told there is some parking available at the ground, which is free. But if this does turn out to be the case, it might well be in demand. You’ll also find a Tesco nearby – but check to see if there are any regulations in place.
Services to: CARLISLE for LEEDS, LONDON EUSTON
If you fancy an early rise and six hours on trains, then this is the journey for you. In fact, we think that you’ll need to be leaving Stevenage at around 7.30am to get to Workington in good time. And you’ll need the help of the gods to get back before midnight.
Workington’s station is only a 10-minute walk away, helpfully. You’ll need to head along Oxford Street, turn right onto Gordon Street and continue onto Duke Street. Turn right onto Church Street and then left into William Street. Continue in a relatively straight line for the stadium.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.