So, game 12 of the Conference Premier 2014-15 season brought Dartford to Nuneaton Town. Looking up local sayings, it seems Treacle Town is local name for Nuneaton. It was a nickname given to Nuneaton on account of the former jam and treacle factory based there where, as the entertainer Larry Grayson used to quip, his friend Apricot Lil worked. It was altogether a strange day. Got to Dartford’s stadium for the off, only to see no coach, just one of those trendy smart cars in Kings Ferry livery – going to be a bit of a crush, innit?
So after the jokes were exhausted, the ‘real’ coach appeared, and not the usual VIP one either. This time, we were treated to the Sheffield United’s team coach. Leather seats, posh catering. Not bad! So, after a fairly uneventful trip up the M1
So, after a fairly uneventful trip up the M1, we arrive at Liberty Stadium. The weather is overcast with some threatening-looking clouds, but it stayed dry and was quite warm for late September. Dartford were wearing their third kit for the first time this season. Since Nuneaton Town play and blue and white, and Dartford’s away kit is blue and white, it was deemed necessary to adopt the yellow and black away kit. The lads looked nice in custard!
I noticed that on one side of the stadium the turnstiles looked pretty decorative and unlike most of the rather utilitarian things I have seen at other grounds. Perhaps they were salvaged from some Victorian zoo, or even the treacle factory?
There is a strange and somewhat unsettling mini-cemetary in the car park. There is a memorial to one side and plenty of room for more. I wondered what it all meant, it seems a rather strange thing to find in a car park.
I ought to read up more on the shenanigans of non-league football. They should make a soap series about it. In 2008 the Nuneaton Borough club was liquidated, and due to a FA ruling was reformed as Nuneaton Town – suffering a two division demotion. The club is still known as ‘The Boro’ by its supporters. On Monday 8th September following a poor start to the 2014/15 season just after seven games manager Brian Reid was sacked, after a number of poor results and poor performances. This game against Dartford was the first for newly appointed manager Liam Daish, formerly manager of Ebbsfleet for 8 years and a long-time colleague of Dartford’s manager, Tony Burman.
But to sour the moment for Mr Daish, it was reported in the papers that the Chief Executive of Nuneaton Town, Ian Neale, was arrested and in custody after a fracas at a Charity bash at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. He allegedly punched another guest causing a suspected broken nose. “He was detained at the scene by other guests and police arrested him at 12.40am.”Neale was part of Nuneaton Town Football Club’s table at a fundraising ball for the NSPCC. He wasn’t at the club for the game, unsurprisingly (probably still in custody waiting for bail) and the reaction from the other management officers was suitably dismissive. It was reported on Sunday 28 September via the Nuneaton Town website that chief executive Ian Neale has resigned from his role at the club.
A statement on Boro’s website read: “Ian Neale has today resigned his position as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Nuneaton Town Football Club.”
Ian Neale owns the construction company that built the new Nuneaton Borough purpose built ground, Liberty Way, in time for the 2007–08 season. In the 2007–08 season, owner Ted Stocker planned to sell his shares as he was suffering from ill health and in March 2008 Ian Neale planned to take ownership of the club for a trial period but he took 100% ownership of the club in April. In May 2008, Ian Neale found some irregularities in the finances of the club and fears raised that the club would have to be forced into administration. On 2 June 2008 Nuneaton Borough went into liquidation. What followed is culled from Wiki.
The new directors soon found they had inherited excessive debts despite the sale of Manor Park to property developers. The new club reverted to its former name of Nuneaton Town and were demoted two divisions from Conference North to Southern League Division One. The club underwent complete restructuring with facilities being upgraded and revamped for the supporters. The 2011/12 season was to see Nuneaton gain promotion back to the Conference Premier for the first time in 10 years. After maintaining a high league position throughout the season Boro’ were dealt a blow as the season entered its final few weeks when an administration error led to a 6 point deduction.
Just to make Mr Daish’s inaugural game complete, Dartford came back and scored 2 goals late in the second half to take the win.
We learned after the match that one of the catering ovens had broken, the chef had resigned and some of the chicken offered as a post-match meal with only partly cooked. What a ghastly end to a nightmare weekend for Nuneaton Town. Let’s hope things get better. Anyhow, in local parlance, there’s no point Blarting over it.