Wright dreaming of another glory night

Chairman Ken Wright is hoping Chorley can write another glorious chapter in their history on Monday night.

Friday, 3rd November 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:40 am
Jubilant Chorley players after they beat Wolves at Burnden Park in 1986

The Magpies welcome neighbours League One outfit Fleetwood Town to Victory Park in the first round proper of the FA Cup.

The Lancashire derby, which is being screened to a national audience live on BT Sport, pits non-league Chorley of the National League North against Uwe Rosler’s men, who are pushing for promotion to the Championship.

It will certainly be a big upset if the Magpies are able to defeat the Cod Army.

However, as Wright only knows too well, anything is possible in football.

The Magpies supremo, who has been at the helm since 2003 and took ownership of the club earlier this year, was first-team manager in 1986 when Chorley enjoyed one of their greatest ever nights.

Facing former English First Division champions and founder members of the Football League Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Magpies made the back pages of all the national newspapers when they dumped their illustrious opponents out of the FA Cup in the first round.

After drawing 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers’ Burnden Park, Chorley – who were then in the Northern Premier League – held the four-time cup winners to another 1-1 draw at Molineux.

In the second replay – once again held at Burnden Park – Chorley stormed to an emphatic 3-0 victory thanks to goals from Charlie Cooper (2) and Mark Edwards.

“Although I am more about looking towards the future, it is nice at times like these to reflect on the past and what a great night that was for the club,” said Wright.

“Our win over Wolves was memorable in the sense that what we did can’t be done in this day and age now.

“Penalties were introduced into the FA Cup a few years ago, but our tie against Wolves was over three games.

“Even though Wolves were in the old Fourth Division at the time, it was still some achievement. I always remember in the first two games against Wolves, we had to come from behind on both occasions to get a draw.

“So my message to the players before the third game was, ‘Let’s try to get the first goal this time and see what they’ve got – see how they feel when they go a goal behind’.

“We did get that first goal and we went on to win comfortably.”

Chorley’s reward for their victory over Wolves was another dream tie in the second round. They pulled out neighbours Preston North End in what proved to be another money-spinning adventure.

Chorley forced the tie to a replay after drawing 0-0 at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park, but lost heavily 5-0 at Deepdale.

“From a financial point of view, it stabilised the club,” said Wright. “There were 16,000 at Ewood Park and another 16,000 at Deepdale.

“I think the following season, we won promotion to the Conference because the cup run put us on a sound financial basis.

“I always remember at Ewood Park, there was a tripometer, which tells you how many people are coming on to the ground.

“It was in the boardroom and I remember my old chairman Bill Conway, seeing the tripometer click past 16,000, turning to me and saying, ‘All our troubles are over’.”

Chorley last played in the first round proper in 1990 when they upset the odds once more, beating Bury before going out to Shrewsbury Town in the second round.

Wright accepts that a repeat of their past first round successes is going to be difficult against Fleetwood.

But he added: “I don’t think they will be looking forward to coming to Victory Park.

“I have to be honest, when we are at home, I always fancy us to win and this game in the FA Cup is a one-off.”