A Full Blooded Encounter
Saturday 25th October 2014 10:23 Sports Posted by Mark Phillip

Last Saturday proved to be a full blooded day for Droylsden FC Supporters as they headed down South for some non-league action.

The quartet of die-hards, including Simon Miller, Clare Brown, Mark Self and Martin Coldwell, made the lengthy trek to Essex to watch the Bloods in action.

Bloods meet Bloods: The Droylsden supporters who made the journey South.

Bloods meet Bloods: The Droylsden supporters who made the journey South.

But it wasn’t a typical Saturday afternoon for the merry band of travellers, as the team they saw in action were Eastern Counties League outfit, Saffron Walden FC.

The Catons Lane side, founded in 1872, bear certain similarities with Dave Pace’s club. Comparisons include identical home kit colours, similar size crowds, and more important than anything else, the distinct sacred nickname.

Simon and his entourage of devotees embarked on the four hour journey to sample the delights of the small rural town. Questioned about the motif for heading down South, Simon detailed his reasons and told Reporter Sport “We went to watch Saffron Walden as they have the same nickname as Droylsden FC.

“When I found out, I asked Droylsden if I could have a signed shirt to take with me to give to our southern counterparts.”

On arriving at the ground, the foursome were greeted with open arms and even given a lesson in the clubs dated history. Simon added “When we got there they only charged us half price to get into the ground.

“They also gave us free books on the history of the club and provided us with a signed Saffron Walden Shirt to take back home.”

The signed shirt will take pride of place at the Butchers Arms following the ignited relationship between the two clubs. Amongst other mementos were a signed football and a commemorative plaque, designed to celebrate the landmark occasion.

The welcoming nature of the Essex based side certainly rubbed off on Simon and his cohorts. He added “Saffron really looked after us on the day. They fed us all at half time and full time and we even got the chance to chat to the chairman, manager and players.

“The visit was basically to make new friends and see if the two teams could actually play against one another in a friendly.”

The unusual nickname appears to have developed an affinity between the two clubs and one that Simon hopes will continue next summer. “Hopefully we will meet again in a pre-season friendly but due to distance and logistics it will be hard and may need some sponsorship from local companies.”

His sentiments were echoed by Chairman of Saffron Walden, Martin Johnson, who told Reporter Sport “It was a really memorable day at Catons Lane. We had our biggest crowd of the season (214), a great 3-1 win, and it was fantastic to receive a visit from our fellow Bloods from Droylsden.

“We really enjoyed hearing about the Northern Bloods and meeting Simon, Clare, Mark and Martin. The swapping of shirts was also a really nice touch.

“We hope to do a visit up to Tameside before too long to return the compliment. Meantime we wish Drolysden well for the season ahead.”