Barlow & Stenhousemuir

A Perfect Match.

Issue no. 56 – August 2014.

Words by Paul Chapman.Soccerball in grass

Dave Hattersley is a local lad through and through, born three doors down from the, now gone, Terminus on Chatsworth Road. Today he lives in Walton, he and his brother Andrew are directors of the family business, Hattersleys Funeral Directors. Dave is one of the board members of Brampton Brewery and helped them set up and open the Tramway and the Rose and Crown. He also plays football for Barlow Kingston Rovers FC.

Stenhousemuir is a small town in the Forth Valley area of Scotland, north of Falkirk and south of Stirling, with around 10,000 residents, it’s around a tenth the size of Chesterfield. Its population used to be employed in heavy industry, which is virtually all gone, and in oil refineries. Like Chesterfield, Stenhousemuir has a football team.

In this small town people love their local team, Stenhousemuir FC, nicknamed ‘The Warriors’ with a passion. But one of their more unusual fans is Dave Hattersley, from here in Brampton – the team captured his heart as a teenager in the 1970s and he became a lifelong supporter.

It’s a million miles away from the kids who idolise the highly paid football superstars of the premiership teams today.

Dave explains “It was the done thing to have a Scottish team to support in the late 60s and I’ve never been one to follow the herd. I snubbed the teams of the day like Aberdeen and Rangers and decided to opt for something a little more obscure. There was a lad at school called Ian Stenhouse, and every time I saw his name it reminded me of Stenhousemuir, a place I’d visited whilst holidaying in Scotland. I also came across a cartoon about them so looked to see where they were in the league and they were invariably propping up Division two. I decided to make them my team…

“Once I’d opted for them as my Scottish team I stuck with them, and in 1973 got my first season ticket, costing a grand total of £3.50 as a reward for passing my O-Levels. It wasn’t until 1974 that I could even get to Scotland and I travelled there to renew my season ticket when I obtained transport to get myself up to the ground.”

“The welcome I received at Stenhousemuir was always amazing, everyone was so welcoming and took to me as much as I took to the club.

“It was long before the days of commercial football” says Dave. “I remember travelling to York to buy a York City football scarf, as it was in the same colours as Stenhousemuir. I got some badges made locally of the logo and sewed them onto the scarf myself.”

In the Stenhousemuir FC crowd, typically 200 to 300 people, it wasn’t long before the board of directors singled Dave out as someone they didn’t recognise. “They were so grateful for the support of someone who travelled so far, a few times each year, to watch them play. I was welcomed by the fans and received fantastic hospitality.”

In 1995 The Warriors had a great run of success defeating Aberdeen and St. Johnson to make it to the quarter finals of the Scottish FA Cup, losing 4-0 to Hibs. Before the game, Dave got a call from the board offering him some tickets, he travelled up together with Tim Dann from the Peacock Inn.

Later that same year Stenhousemuir beat Dundee United in the Scottish Challenge Cup, the first trophy in their then 111 year history. As usual a great time was had by all and Dave was welcomed as if one of the family, “I love the way the club involves me, I was invited along to join in the celebrations at the Plough with the players and manager after the match”.

Following the success, the book ‘Onwards and Upwards’ was published, charting the teams history from 1884 to 1995. Dave gets a mention about being a member of the board of directors between 2004 and 2009.

Dave has always played football at Barlow (still having an occasional short session on the field) and always wanted to take a team from Barlow to play at Stenhousemiur. In 2000 he put a team together and travelled up in a minibus. 2015 will be the 15th year the team from Barlow will play at Stenhousemuir. The Warriors have reciprocated and this year travelled down in May for their tenth anniversary tour, playing at Gosforth Fields, Dronfield. “One of the Barlow team members is even married to the club secretary’s daughter at Stenhousemuir and has moved to Scotland” adds Dave, “it’s great to see him when we travel up there.”

Earlier this year when Stenhousemuir played Rangers at the Ibrox in front of 44,000 people, the lads from Barlow KRFC all went along. Take a look at the image below, the Barlow KRFC flag flying in the centre of the pitch.

Johnny Thompson who organises the trips to Chesterfield summed the relationship between the two teams in the note below to Dave following this year’s visit.

‘Ever since our first trip in 2004, the lads from Stenhousemuir FC have enjoyed a welcome second to none from everyone associated with Barlow, as well as from the many friends that we’ve made along the way.

We’ve now had ten great years and look forward to the next ten.

A big thanks has to go to Dave Hattersley for organising everything at the Chesterfield end, we couldn’t do it without him.

The only downside this year was that we suffered our first footballing injury to date, with one of our players, Ryan Stevenson, rupturing his patella tendon. A big thanks have to go to Chesterfield Royal for looking after him. A special note has to also go to the local hostelries who welcome us with open arms, year in year out.

It’s 51 weeks (at the time of writing) to their next visit, and if Mr Salmond gets his way there’s a chance that next time they’ll need passports!


Image sourced by Istock