THE 1874 COLUMN – by Matt Waters

2020 has been a year like no other. What promised to be a year of celebration for 1874 Northwich ended with a sombre feeling of uncertainty.

The coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a standstill and resulted in the suspension and eventual null and voiding of the 2019-20 campaign back in March.

Despite the decision to null and void that season, nobody at 1874 will forget the tremendous effort by the players and managers Wayne Goodison and Paul Bowyer which left us in first place.

The year started in style, picking up four wins from four including the five-goal thriller against Skelmersdale United where late goals from Matt Woolley and Callam Gardner earned us the three points.

Our goalless draw to Barnoldswick Town would be the final time we played in the 2019/20 campaign before the season was suspended due to the pandemic.

The first national lockdown was extremely challenging as it presented an unprecedented situation for us all.

However, for us at 1874 it meant taking stock of the position we were in and how we could reach out and engage our supporters during that period.

To begin with we released various collaborations, creating scarves with Fans’ Favourite inspired by the design on our viral away kit.

The success of the scarves selling out led to us linking up with Kit and Bone to create a kit where a proportion of the proceeds would go towards MIND UK.

From here we saw two further designs – one a blackout kit with the Culture Division designed by Hope and Glory and the other a commemorative shirt celebrating our Macron Cup win against City of Liverpool.

Another avenue we used to engage our supporters was by creating our YouTube series ‘1874 At Home.’

The ten-edition series saw us gain an insight into the lives of our players/managers and board members and received 3,355 views.

In June, our players finally managed to return to training by following the relevant social distancing measures in place.

The sessions Wayne and Paul created were originally optional but they were attended by every member of our first-team squad, showing what it meant to them knowing they could train again.

August seemingly saw us return to some normality – players were allowed to play games again and fans could start returning to grounds.

To coincide with the start of the new season, we released our new home shirt designed by Luke Bushnell-Wye.

In what started as an online competition on social media, we took the design by The Kit Factor and turned it into something that truly represented 1874.

As the season began to get underway, we unfortunately crashed out of the FA Cup against Rylands and reached the Macron Cup Final within the same week as we beat Shelley by the same score line.

Unfortunately we haven’t returned to league action since our 3-1 victory against Skelmersdale in October due to the pandemic, however we hope to play next Saturday at Irlam.