Football: NON-LEAGUE NOTEBOOK: Mixed blessings for Cheadle Town

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The Independent Online
THE GOOD news for Cheadle Town, an in-debt Cheshire club, is that they may soon be rescued by new investors. The bad news, so their fans seem to think, is the identity of the potential backers: Mark Weaver and Ken Richardson.

The two men blamed by most of South Yorkshire for the downfall of Doncaster Rovers as a League team are among the backers of an offshore consortium which wants to take control of the North Western Trains League side, who are heavily in debt to a brewery. Weaver, who was Rovers' general manager last season, and Richardson, previously the chairman of both Doncaster and the former Bridlington Town club, have announced ambitious plans for Cheadle.

Although there are many hurdles to be overcome before the proposals become reality, Cheadle hope that the new consortium will, at a cost of around pounds 3m, transform their Park Road ground. A stand with executive boxes is planned, along with a multi-purpose sports hall housing 10 indoor pitches, a gymnasium and a health club.

This sounds like a dream come true, but Cheadle supporters are understandably suspicious of Weaver and Richardson, who were the target of a campaign of vilification in Doncaster last season.

Susan Burton, Cheadle's secretary, admitted yesterday that she had received plenty of phone calls from fans about the planned takeover, most of which had been negative. "But they approached us, we didn't go to them," she said. "Almost every non-League club is struggling for money, and we're no different." She would not comment when asked what the consortium hopes to get out of the deal.

Another Cheshire club, Witton Albion, are now struggling in the lower half of the UniBond League First Division, just four years after being relegated from the Conference. Last week they parted company with their manager, Peter Ward, who had taken charge in the summer. His temporary replacement is Witton's Director of Football: John Bond, the former Manchester City manager.

It has been a good couple of weeks for another UniBond First Division side, Bradford Park Avenue. They enjoyed a 2-0 win at Witton in the FA Umbro Trophy last weekend while their goalkeeper, Derek O'Connor, has won international recognition. Despite dropping down to the non-League game from Huddersfield Town, the 20-year-old retained his place in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad for last week's trip to Yugoslavia.

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