A million memories of the Daniels

The last home game for Stamford Daniels  at the Vic Couzens Stadium, Wothorpe Road  Dusk at the game versus Rushall Olympic EMN-141123-170645009
The last home game for Stamford Daniels at the Vic Couzens Stadium, Wothorpe Road Dusk at the game versus Rushall Olympic EMN-141123-170645009

Competitive football has been played in Stamford for more than 150 years and for 118 of those years, perhaps longer, it was played at Worthorpe Road, the ground with one of the most stunning views of a Georgian Town the world has ever known.

With the ground soon to become another housing estate the club is collecting memories to mark the end of an era.

In 1894 the two most prominent football clubs in the town, Stamford Town and Rutland Ironworks, joined together and in 1896 the club became officially Stamford Town.

Of course to most football fans Stamford AFC are know as The Daniels after one of the town’s most famous men Daniel Lambert - Britain’s heaviest man ever who died in the town in 1809 weighing a reported 52 stone and is buried in St Martin’s churchyard which until last month was just few hundred yards away from the club’s Worthorpe Road ground.

But it was not until some years after their formation that the club adopted the Daniels moniker.

It is believed that football was played on Hanson’s Field, the location of Stamford’s Vic Couzens Stadium as early as the 1870s, and it was the home to the Daniels for more than the next century until November 22 this year when the current Daniels first team signed of their stay with a 3-0 victory over Rushall Olympic.

During those years the thousands of faithful fans through the decades have celebrated hundreds of highs and lows as their team have toasted cup success and tasted the bitter pill of demotion.

With Stamford AFC now moved into their new home at the Zeeco Stadium in Ryhall Road the Daniels Independent Supporters Club, known as DISC, are collecting fans favourite memories to be collated in a new book in the New Year. Supporters Club Chairman Mark Atkins said they are appealing for Mercury readers to share with us their favourite memories of watching Stamford AFC, be it 50 years ago, or five years ago.

They are also asking for any photos taken at Wothorpe Road to be used for the book and then returned.

There is no set word limit, and any contribution, big or small is appreciated.

Anyone who would like to contribute a memory can pick up a form to fill out on match days, or they can download them from the club website at: www.pitchero.com/clubs/stamfordafc/ .

Biggest fan

One of Stamford’s biggest fans in recent times is indisputably Giles Lawrence, or Stampy, who has attended more than 400 Stamford matches.

He said: “My abiding memories of Kettering Road after 118 years…. Scoring the winner in a charity match after the club “donated” the use of the pitch!

“Ricky Miller’s winner in the play-off final at end of 2012/13 season, as soon as it dropped onto that left peg.... You knew it was in, cue bedlam in the Railwayside

“Watching Guy Walton parade round in shorts - even in December..... He must have anti-freeze for blood!

“Ross Watson scoring a worldy from about 40 yards, and then running across the pitch and diving into the Railway side into a loving embrace with one of our supporters.

“Watching as our new Club shop turn up on a lorry, and then watching it promptly fall off the said lorry when the driver tried to back up the slope - blocking the main Kettering Road for nearly an hour.

“Having the honour of being the last managerial team, with Paul Walker and Chris Dann, to play and win on the pitch with the Stamford u15s side 5-1 against Hampton last Sunday (December 14) with people were waiting with shovels and spades for bits of the pitch when we finished.

“The honour of the last ever player in a Stamford shirt scoring on the pitch goes to Lewis Saunders.”