fascinating FACTS

Royce Franklin, a life member of the Association of Football Statisticians, digs up yet more fascinating facts about football

FIRST GAMES of the season are not necessarily a good indicator of how a team is going to perform for a full year.

Look at Norwich in the 2009/10 season. They lost 7-1 at home in a League One game to Colchester on the first day, but by mid-January were first, a position they held for the remainder of the season to gain promotion at the first attempt back to the Championship.

Nonetheless, as I write, Stockport fans must have been dismayed at losing 4-1 at home to Boston United on the first day. This is the sixth tier of football, the Conference North and no less than 3,317 spectators were present to witness the ignominy.

At the end of last season they had been relegated from the Conference in 21st position. The attendance for last season averaged 3,480, the fourth highest in the division.

They were considered by others to be a sufficient draw to attract the highest attendance at three away grounds during the season.

Stockport were formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers. They were admitted to the second tier in 1900 but their membership of the Football League was punctuated only by one season away in 1903/04 when they failed to gain re-election after finishing bottom.

They were inaugural members of the Third Division North at its formation in 1921.Throughout their Football League life they had been predominately in the lower reaches of the league but in 1997/98 they finished eighth in the second tier. A year previously they had reached the semi-final of the League Cup when they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Middlesbrough, a Premiership side.

They last played in the second tier as recently as 2002. Relegations followed and in 2010/11 they lost their Football League status. The relegation to tier six in May this year led to part-time status for the players.

Supporters will take pride in pointing out Stockport beat Halifax 13-0 in 1934 in a Third Division North game. This is the record victory for any Football League side; the same score by which Newcastle beat Newport in 1946 in a second tier game.

And in March 2007 they created another record playing nine consecutive games without conceding a goal with the arrival on loan of young Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey who would go on to become a full international for Wales.
Let’s hope it is not too long before we are welcoming Stockport back to Boundary Park.