Saturday, November 17, 1990

Runcorn FC

Runcorn 0 Hartlepool United 3 - FA Cup 1st Round

Runcorn was a small, isolated village until the coming of the Industrial Revolution. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries it was a health resort. Towards the end of the 18th century, a port began to develop on the south bank of the River Mersey. During the 19th century industries developed, in particular the manufacture of soap and alkali, quarrying, shipbuilding, engineering, and tanning. In the early 20th century, the prime industries were chemicals and tanning. The original village has grown to include what were outlying villages. Except for chemicals, all the old industries have disappeared, and there has been diversification, in particular because of the close links to the motorway system, and the development of warehousing and distribution centres. A new town was built to the east of the existing town in the 1960s and 1970s, and farther to the east, areas of private housing have been established; this has resulted in a doubling of the population from around 30,000 to its present level.

Runcorn - Widnes Bridges

We were already in the vicinity for the following day’s Everton v Spurs fixture at Goodison Park and when looking for a Saturday match, the lure of a new ground, along with the magic of the FA Cup proved irresistible. Any chance of witnessing a giant killing was soon wiped out by Joe Allon. Hartlepool’s former Newcastle United man scored a fine hat trick to ease the visitors into the next round.

Photograph courtesy of Craig Dabbs

Canal Street was reached after a short walk from the main Runcorn station. It would have been quicker but we stopped of at a couple of the numerous pubs en route. The ground was of a decent standard - a typical non-league venue, with a hotch-potch of stands and cover that had clearly evolved as time went on.

Photograph courtesy of Craig Dabbs

In 2000, they sold the Canal Street ground where they had played since 1918, and moved to the 11,000-seat Halton Stadium in Widnes. The club renamed itself Runcorn FC Halton to reflect its new location. In 2004, they finished in 13th place in the Northern Premier League, and were promoted to the new Conference North. Their spell at this level lasted just one season before they were relegated back to the NPL. During this season, the club's precarious financial state caused them to move out of the Halton Stadium and to share Valerie Park, home of local rivals Prescot Cables. During this season the club went into severe financial crisis and was unable to pay its players' wages, forcing it to offload many of its key playing staff and replace them with amateur players used to playing at a much lower standard. After a second successive relegation, the club's future was in doubt, and the club officially confirmed its resignation from the league and ceased activity. Disgruntled supporters formed the breakaway club Runcorn Linnets, which was granted membership of the North West Counties League Division Two for the 2006-07 season.

Attendance: 1695
Programme: 60p

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