Article: Nantwich Links

This weekend we host Nantwich Town. We could go on and on about Colls v Nantwich clashes as there have certainly been plenty of them. Of our twenty one league opponents Nantwich are the team we have met the most by a county mile. However this afternoon’s retro column will be through the eyes of club legend Frank Anderson who played for The Dabbers for a spell in the swinging sixties : “Colls reached the Lancashire Junior Shield Cup Final in season 1964-65 and we had an excellent 6-1 win over Breightmet United at Bolton Wanderers’ Burnden Park and I was part of the team. A couple of days later I got home from work and my dad told me that somebody had been to our house looking for me. It was Alan Ball Senior who was manager of Nantwich Town. Our team was hot property and was more or less broken up as players were tempted to sign for clubs higher up the footballing system. Alan sold me his Nantwich vision and I signed on the dotted line along with Gordon Neath, Derek Daniels, Jimmy Nichols, Billy Urmson, Cliff Hodgkinson and Brian Taylor. Like Alan these lads were also from and around the Bolton area. Alan was a mine of football information, the like I had never met before. At the time the Colls team was picked by the committee and didn’t have a manager. Not only was he familiar with the non league but also the football league as well. Man City under the management of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison were in the ascendancy at the time, and Alan would regale us an endless stream of stories from that club and all the professional game. We would all meet at his house in Walkden prior to travelling to training in Nantwich. I saw Alan Ball Junior’s first international shirt there one day and even tried it on. I occasionally had to make the journey in my old Hillman Minx car and you can imagine how long it took with no motorway. I enjoyed my stint there and was impressed with the facilities and the enthusiasm of the supporters. I think I scored on my debut but I don’t think I was prolific. When Alan left the club so did I and I returned to my first love. I became great friends with Brian Taylor and we would later play for numerous teams together. Brian was signed on by Nantwich prior to me joining, but I was immediately impressed by his ability. He could play in a number of positions in the team, but I think centre forward suited him best. You could play the ball up to his feet, his first touch never let him down and he certainly knew where the nets where. He never shirked a tackle in a match and in later years played in midfield. Brian played for a spell at Colls and the joke was wherever and whenever he played, he would need a message prior to the match.” Brian said of Frank; “He was a tenacious midfielder in the Nobby Styles mould. He would nick the ball and then pass it on. He was the heartbeat of the team. His desire to win was second to none.” Of course Frank will be at today’s game but Brian will be also in attendance. He hasn’t seen many games over recent years but his grandson Zach ‘Voice Of Colls’ Pierce has been his representative. Both men are fully appreciative of what Alan Ball Senior and Nantwich Town did for them in their footballing development. Frank is second from the left on the bottom row and Brian is the third from the left.

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