STOCKPORT COUNTY have some very special guests as they kick off their new campaign at home to Alfreton on Saturday.
Normally the matchball sponsor is a local business, maybe a benevolent fan, but County have received some support from an unlikely source. Band of the moment Blossoms have dug deep to help out their hometown club.
That’s right, the much-hyped indie rock band hail from Stockport and played a homecoming gig at the Plaza last night. That was to mark the release of their debut album today, when they were due to play acoustic sets at the HMV stores in Stockport and Manchester.
The five-piece will then appear on Soccer AM tomorrow morning before visiting Edgeley Park. And they will not just be going to watch County, they’ll be going onto the pitch to conduct the half-time draw.
Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan, Myles Kellock and singer Tom Ogden grew up in Stockport and formed less than three years ago, taking their name from the Robinsons pub on the A6 in Heaviley.
Robinsons continue to sponsor County – you’ll see their name across the Hatters’ new white away shirt – and the brewery have even produced a limited edition beer to celebrate the release of Blossoms, the band’s self-titled debut album.
The ‘full-bodied golden ale’ is called Charlemagne, after the album’s opening track which has already been released as a single, and it will only be sold at The Blossoms pub, where you can get a free pint today with proof of album purchase.
After playing at Gorilla in Manchester on Sunday and at several festivals, Blossoms embark on an 11-date UK tour, which includes the Manchester Academy (Fri, Sept 30). By then, County will hope to be established as one of the promotion contenders in the National League North.
This is the former League club’s fourth season at step two and they’re determined to make it their last. The Hatters have one of the biggest budgets in the league and Jim Gannon has revamped the squad this summer after replacing Neil Young for a third spell as manager in January.
The new signings include keeper Ben Hinchcliffe, winger Danny Lloyd (both from AFC Fylde), midfielder Gary Stopforth (Salford City) and striker Josh Amis (Northwich), while defender Mark Ross and ex-City trainee Courtney Meppen-Walter have arrived from Chorley.
And County have a mouth-watering start to the season as after facing Alfreton they have two derby trips next week – to Stalybridge Celtic (Tues) and FC United (Fri) – before hosting title favourites FC Halifax (Tues, Aug 16).