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Stockport County
Full name Stockport County Football Club
Nickname(s) The Hatters, County
Founded 1883 (as Heaton Norris Rovers)
Ground Edgeley Park, Stockport
(Capacity: 10,852)
Manager Gary Ablett
League League One
2008–09 League One, 18th
Home colours
Away colours

Stockport County Football Club (pronounced /ˈstɒkpɔːt/) is an English football club based in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. They play in League One, the third tier of the English football pyramid. Their home stadium is Edgeley Park. They are nicknamed The Hatters, although they are usually referred to by supporters simply as County. The Club formed in 1883 as Heaton Norris Rovers, shortly after merging with a similarly named club, Heaton Norris F.C. and on 24 May 1890 changed their name to Stockport County Football Club with reference to the newly formed County Borough of Stockport.[1] They joined the Football League in 1900, and have competed in it continuously since 1905. Having spent most of their history in the lower reaches of the Football League, the 1990s were notably successful, with the club competing in the First Division for five seasons. Instability on and off the pitch led to Stockport quickly tumbling back down the leagues, narrowly avoiding a drop into the Football Conference in 2006. In 2008, the team won promotion via the playoffs back to League One.



Stockport County were formed in 1883 as Heaton Rovers by members of the Wycliffe Congregational Church, and played their first recorded game in October the next year. The club adopted 'The Hatters' as their nickname[2], owing to Stockport's history as the centre of the Victorian hat-making industry, a nickname that is shared with Luton Town.

Stockport played in the Lancashire League until 1900. They then gained admission to the Football League Second Division. The club finished in the bottom three for their first four seasons and at the end of 1903–04 they failed to gain re-election. They spent one year in the Lancashire Combination, won the league, and were re-admitted to the Football League. County were fortunate that, despite an awful 1920–21 campaign that saw them end the season bottom of the Second Division, which would normally have seen them face re-election, they were placed in the brand new Third Division North. The Hatters won the league at the first time of asking in 1921–22, but struggled and soon returned (1925–26) to the bottom division where, barring a couple of seasons, the club would stay for more than 40 years. The 1933–34 season saw goals galore, 115 in total[3], including a 13–0 win over Halifax Town, which still stands as a Football League record[4]. In 1936–37 County won the Third Division North, but failed to gain a foothold in the Second Division, finished 22nd out of 22 and were relegated.

The 1950s brought little league success, but were notable for some fine goalscoring by Jack Connor, whose 140 goals are still a club record, including 13 hat-tricks, two instances of 4 goals in a match, and two of 5 goals in a match.[5] When the regional Third Divisions were to be combined into national Third and Fourth Divisions after the 1957–58 campaign, Stockport managed to finish in the top half of the Third Division North and so were placed in the following season's national Third Division. Just one season was spent at this level, Stockport were demoted and didn't return until winning the Fourth Division in 1966–67. After being relegated in 1969–70, the 1970s and 1980s consisted of little other than mediocrity or struggling against re-election. The introduction of automatic promotion and relegation between the Football League and the Conference was not a good sign for Stockport and, in 1986–87 they had just 6 points from 13 games and faced a real prospect of non-League football, exemplified by crashing out of the FA Cup to Caernarfon Town. Colin Murphy was brought in for his second spell as manager, County gained 45 points from their final 31 games and survived, although Murphy left shortly after the end of the season.[1]

Danny Bergara was appointed as manager in March 1989, quickly transforming the team, and automatic promotion was gained in 1990–91. The next three seasons saw County make the play-offs, but failed to result in another promotion. In March 1995 Bergara was sacked after an altercation with then chairman Brendan Elwood,[6] and Dave Jones was appointed manager. The 1996–97 campaign proved to be the most successful in the club's history, finishing 2nd in the Second Division and reaching the semi-final of the League Cup, knocking out three Premiership teams (Blackburn Rovers, Southampton and West Ham United) on the way before losing to Middlesbrough 2–1 on aggregate. Jones left for Southampton, and a succession of managers were unable to build on the success of the 1990s, former England international Carlton Palmer failing to stop County being relegated in 2001–02 or to build a team capable of challenging for a return in subsequent seasons. Sammy McIlroy followed as manager in 2003 but more poor results led to his sacking, and the appointment of Chris Turner just one year later. Another relegation followed, and Turner himself lasted just one year in charge, resigning after a 6–0 defeat to local rivals Macclesfield Town that left County five points adrift of safety & facing a third relegation in just four years.

Former player Jim Gannon was placed in charge, initially as caretaker-manager. He led the club to safety in 2005–06 and County sustained a promotion challenge the next season, eventually missing out on the League Two playoffs on goal difference. They also set a new Football League record on 3 March 2007 when they beat Swindon Town 3–0, recording nine consecutive wins without conceding a goal. County continued their winning ways in the 2007–08 season and, despite losing an FA Cup match to non-League Staines Town, finished 4th in the league and beat Rochdale 3–2 in the play-off final at Wembley Stadium to earn promotion to League One.[7]

During the 2008–09 season, Stockport defied the odds by challenging for a play-off place, but their form dipped during the final months of the season which saw them slip to mid-table. Jim Gannon was approached by Brighton & Hove Albion and the approach was accepted by Stockport, but after talks with the chairman of Brighton, Gannon rejected the job and stayed at Stockport.[8] After he rejected the job, the following game v Huddersfield Town on the Saturday, Gannon got a standing ovation when he came out of the tunnel before the game.

On 30 April 2009, Stockport County were placed into administration following a battle to repay creditors.[9] It followed a petition by a creditor to repay a loan of around £300,000. Recently, the club has struggled to repay a tax debt of £250,000 to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.[10] In December 2009 the team's training ground was put up for sale.

On Friday 12 June, Leonard Curtis, administrators of Stockport County Football Club, announced that they had agreed terms with the Melrose Consortium for the sale of the club.[11] Paul Reeves, one of the joint administrators commented that: "Whilst a deal has been agreed, it is subject to the Melrose Consortium obtaining landlord approval. This is a positive step to safeguarding the club's future." The Melrose consortium, consisiting of 'a group of businessmen with a sporting background' headed by ex Manchester City player Jim Melrose said: "We look forward to developing a fruitful relationship with Sale Sharks and Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council which will provide the basis for a successful future for Stockport County Football Club." The immediate aims of the Melrose Consortium are to "...guarantee football at Edgeley Park next season and to secure the services of redundant manager, and Stockport legend, Jim Gannon".

Gannon however took over as manager at Scottish Premier League side Motherwell, giving County fans cause to worry that he'd be poaching County's young players in the forthcoming weeks. Gary Ablett, former manager of Liverpool reserves, was appointed manager on 8 July 2009 following talks with the new owners, even though they'd still not taken over.

Colours and crest

Several historical Stockport County crests.
Top: 1978–1988, 1989–91
Bottom: 1994–2006, 2006–present

Stockport County's traditional kit colours are blue and white, although they have played in other colours throughout their history. Originally competing in blue and white striped jerseys and white shorts, they experimented with red and white stripes in the early 1900s and from the mid-1930s to mid-1960s played in white jerseys and black shorts.

No set pattern has been established for the clubs use of blue and white as main colours, at various times playing in a white jersey with a blue band and blue shorts; blue jersey with white pin stripes and white shorts; a short experiment with an Argentina-style kit, light blue & white stripes with black shorts, after the 1978 World Cup, which was abandoned after the outbreak of the Falklands War[12]; and a return to blue & white striped tops with blue shorts in the 1980s. The current kit, manufactured by Diadora, is a blue shirt with a white horizontal band (the only Football League team to have a horizontal bar incorporated in their shirt), blue shorts & white socks. The away kit is entirely black with gold coloured trimmings.

County marked their 125th anniversary during 2008 by bringing in a third kit – a (dirty) gold colour with black trim. The kit was worn on 17 occasions, all away trips, during which County were unbeaten. The strip was retired 'undefeated' at the end of the year, having been worn for 13 victories and 4 draws.[13]

The club badge is based on the achievement of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport. It was further altered slightly in 2006, to resemble the town's arms even more closely, including the Latin motto Animo et Fide, which, when loosely translated, means With Courage and Faith. The blue shield is taken from the coat of arms of the 'de Stokeport' family, from whom Stockport derives its name. The twin-towered castle above the shield is Stockport Castle, which stood until 1775.

Stockport's 2009–2010 home and away kit will be provided by Macron.

The Supporters' Trust use the blue on white cross symbol from the 1978 badge as the main identifier in their company logo.

For a list of historical kits, see
For further details of the crest of Stockport, see Manchester-UK


Panoramic view of Edgeley Park
Left: Popular Side
Centre: Cheadle End
Right: Main Stand

Heaton Norris Rovers originally played home matches at the Heaton Norris Recreation Ground, then at various locations in Stockport until settling at a park on Green Lane, Heaton Norris, in 1889. The nearby Nursery Inn served as the team's home, with players using a barn as changing rooms.[1]

In 1902 the club required a larger ground and moved to Edgeley Park, then home of Stockport Rugby League Club, who went out of business three years later[14]. Stockport County have played home games there ever since, celebrating the centenary in 2002.

In late 2000 the chairman considered moving the club to Maine Road, the former home of rivals Manchester City. The potential move was unpopular with supporters, and protests were staged after it was suggested that the club would change its name to Man-Stock County after the move. Ultimately the protests were not necessary as Manchester City Council decreed that Sale Sharks would make better tenants[15]. Maine Road has since been demolished to make way for a housing estate and, ironically, Edgeley Park is now shared with Sale, who now own the ground.


Football League

Other Competitions

  • Lancashire League Champions: 1899–1900
  • Lancashire Combination Champions: 1904–05
  • Manchester Senior Cup Winners: 1897–98, 1898–99, 1914–15, 1922–23
  • Cheshire Medal Winners: 1922–23, 1924–25, 1928–29, 1929–30, 1930–31
  • Cheshire Bowl Winners: 1933–34, 1948–49, 1952–53, 1955–56, 1956–57,
    1958–59, 1960–61, 1962–63
  • Cheshire Friendly Trophy Winners: 1965–66, 1966–67
  • Cheshire Premier Cup Winners: 1969–70, 1970–71

Youth Competitions

  • Puma Football League Youth Alliance Cup Winners: 2006–07
  • The UMBRO Cup Winners: 2007

Club records


Team records

Player records

  • Most goals (season): 46 League + 6 Cup by Alf Lythgoe, 1933–34
  • Most goals (career): 140 by Jack Connor (1951–1956)
  • Most hat-tricks (career): 17 by Jack Connor (1951–1956)
  • Most appearances (career): 555 Andy Thorpe (1978–1986, 1988–1992)
  • Most international appearances (caps) - 9 Jarkko Wiss, Finland (2000–2002)
  • Youngest player: Chris Coward, aged 16 years 31 days vs. Sheffield Wednesday, August 23, 2005
  • Most consecutive clean sheets: 9 by Wayne Hennessey, 2006–07, coinciding with league record for consecutive wins
  • Oldest player: Alec Herd, aged 40 years 47 days vs. Crewe Alexandra, December 25, 1951

Nine game winning run

Stockport County F.C. currently hold the record for winning nine Football League matches without conceding a goal.

Wayne Hennessey, who was on loan to Stockport at the time from Wolves, kept all the clean sheets in his first nine games in professional football. He made his footballing debut against Boston United where Stockport won 2–0. The players involved in the record-breaking run are below:

Wayne Hennessey, Robert Clare, Michael Rose, Ashley Williams, Gareth Owen, Stephen Gleeson, Jason Taylor, Adam Griffin, David Poole, Damien Allen, Anthony Pilkington, Tony Dinning, Dominic Blizzard, Liam Dickinson, Adam Proudlock, Tes Bramble and Anthony Elding.

During this time Wayne Hennessey received the League Two Player of the Month Award and Jim Gannon was candidate for the Manager of the Month Award twice.


With both Manchester United and Manchester City around 7 miles (11 km) from Edgeley Park, Stockport County have always struggled for local support. Even during the 1998–99 season crowds averaged around 20,000 less than local rivals City, who were a division below County at the time[18].

Although the club has had great misfortunes on the pitch from 2000–01 onwards, crowds have continued to be rather healthy. In fact, during the 2005–06 season home attendances (that is, given attendances minus away support) increased slightly on the season before[19], helped by a 10,006 crowd against Carlisle on the final day of that season. The 2006–07 season saw the club average the fourth highest average attendance in League Two[20], and was the highest average since the club's last season in the First Division[21]. The 200708 season saw a further increase in attendance. Away support increased in recent seasons, due to a combination of lower ticket prices, improved results and the close proximity of sides such as Bury, Rochdale & Macclesfield Town, with Stockport's away support outnumbering home supporters on a number of occasions[19]. In the 2007/2008 season, Stockport County had an average away attendance of over 900; the highest in the league. Only 2 teams in the league above surpassed this figure.[citation needed]

Stockport County's average attendance for the 2008–2009 season in League One was 6,130.

As the two Manchester clubs, the closest clubs to Edgeley Park, have rarely been in the same division as Stockport County, they have no traditional local rivals, instead having occasional adversaries from further afield. In the early 1990s two notable rivalries began, with matches against Burnley and Stoke City having added edge for supporters. In the late 1990s and early 2000s Stockport and Manchester City were often in the same division, although with different fortunes since 2002 this rivalry has also diminished somewhat. Burnley, Manchester City and Stoke City are cited as Stockport County fans' biggest rivals[22].

Vocally, the support from Stockport fans has often been cited by manager and players as inspirational and a huge boost to the team during play, with their influence likened to having a twelfth player on the field.[23][24] This has led to squad number 12 being allocated to the 'Blue & White Army', the nickname for supporters, since the 2006–07 season. Stockport fans also have a wide variety of songs, being ranked 7th on[25] for number of individual chants.


Current squad

As of 19 January 2010.[26]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Wales GK Owain Fôn Williams
2 England DF John Mullins
4 England MF Paul Turnbull
5 Republic of Ireland MF Richie Partridge
6 England DF Paul Huntington
7 England MF James Vincent
8 England MF Greg Tansey
10 England FW Jabo Ibehre (on loan from Milton Keynes Dons)
11 United States FW Jemal Johnson (on loan from Milton Keynes Dons)
13 England GK Paul Gerrard
14 England MF Adam Griffin
15 England MF David Poole
16 England MF Matty Mainwaring
17 England MF Danny Pilkington
18 England DF Andy Halls
19 Republic of Ireland FW Declan Edwards
20 England DF Gianluca Havern
No. Position Player
21 Wales MF Craig Roberts
22 England MF Daniel Rowe
23 England GK Lloyd Rigby
24 England DF Danny Swailes
25 England MF David Perkins (on loan from Colchester United)
26 England DF Sam Barnes
27 England DF Louis Barnes
28 England FW Tom Fisher
29 England FW Matty Kosylo
30 Republic of Ireland DF John Disney
31 England FW Cameron Darkwah
32 England DF Mat Sadler (on loan from Watford)
33 England MF Sam Hare
34 England MF Sean Williams
35 England DF Reiss Lee
36 England FW George Donnelly (on loan from Plymouth Argyle)

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
3 England DF Michael Rose (on loan to Norwich City)
9 Northern Ireland FW Peter Thompson (on loan to Linfield)

Notable former players

See also: Cat:Stockport County F.C. players, Hall of Fame

Technical staff

Current coaching staff

Gary Ablett England First Team Manager
Hughie McAuley England Assistant First Team Manager
Paul Gerrard England Goalkeeping Coach
Craig Madden England U18 Team Manager
Rodger Wylde England Club Physio
Steve Jones England Fitness Coach

Top 10 managers of the club's history

Based on win % in all competitions

Name Nat From To Record
P W D L %
Lincoln Hyde England 1926 1931 221 127 37 57 57.47
Fred Westgarth England 1933 1936 141 72 28 41 51.06
Andrew Wilson Scotland 1932 1933 44 22 12 10 50.00
Dave Jones England 1995 1997 131 63 36 32 48.09
Eddie Quigley England 1965 1966 51 24 7 20 47.06
Andy Beattie England 1949 1952 148 68 31 49 45.95
Danny Bergara Uruguay 1989 1995 352 156 88 108 44.32
Jim Gannon Republic of Ireland 2006 2009 182 79 42 61 43.41
Bob Marshall England 1939 1949 139 59 29 51 42.45
Jimmy Meadows England 1966 1969 128 54 36 38 42.19

* Stats correct as of January 12, 2009

For a full list of past managers, see League Managers Association


  1. ^ a b c Freeman, Peter (1999). Stockport County - From the Nursery. ISBN 0-9537558-0-0. 
  2. ^ Freeman & Harnwell (1994). Stockport County: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon. ISBN 1-873626-72-X. ; later updates from [1] as applicable
  3. ^ League Tables - Stockport County FC - SCFC MAD
  4. ^ FOOTBALL LEAGUE RECORDS: GOALS | The Football League | Records | Goals
  5. ^,,10419~399201,00.html
  6. ^ Inside Football: Bergara's plight symptomatic of insular England | Independent, The (London) | Find Articles at
  7. ^ Fletcher, Paul (26 May 2008). "Stockport 3-2 Rochdale". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  8. ^ "Gannon rejects Brighton approach". BBC Sport. 26 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  9. ^ "Stockport go into administration". BBC Sport. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  10. ^ Morris, Richard. "Stockport County goes into in administration". Crains Manchester Business. Thursday 30th April 2009. [2]
  11. ^ "Deal agreed for Stockport buy-out". BBC Sport. 12 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  12. ^ Historical Football Kits
  13. ^ The most unique kit in football history
  14. ^ EDGELEY PARK HISTORY | Stockport County | Club | EP History
  15. ^ Sale step closer to Maine Road
  16. ^ It is estimated that between 1,000 and 2,000 people actually attended the match; Manchester United and Derby County had played immediately beforehand, and some of the spectators for that match had stayed on to watch the Stockport match for free. However, only 13 people paid at the gate to watch the Stockport match by itself. Reference: "A beautiful game". Stockport Express. 19 November 2002. 
  17. ^ [3]
  18. ^ Historical attendances
  19. ^ a b Stockport County official match programmes, 04/05, 05/06 & 06/07 seasons.
  20. ^ Attendances England average
  21. ^ England historical attendance and performance
  22. ^ Club Rivalries Uncovered
  23. ^ County shout loudest, win, lose or draw
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Football Chants Top 10"., 19 June 2007. 
  26. ^ "First Team". Stockport County F.C..,,10419,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 

External links


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