End of an era as Rock Rovers are forced to call it a day

The Rock Rovers squad from 1979
The Rock Rovers squad from 1979
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In 1974, employees of a local building firm came up with the idea of forming a football club to compete in the local Nelson and Colne Amateur Football League.

The brainchild of Norman Doult and Brian Rigby was unnamed at this stage, but as Norman’s parents managed the Rock Hotel in Trawden, it was decided that the team would be called Rock Rovers and be based at the pub.

The Rock Rovers squad from 1996

The Rock Rovers squad from 1996

By the late 1970s/early 1980s, a first team, reserve team and A team were all at the top of their respective divisions, and building a reputation for being a good, competitive football club, with many of the players representing the Nelson and Colne League side.

On winning the Nelson and Colne League in 1979/80 and 1980/81, and the reserves winning the reserves cup in 1979/80, the then manager of the club, David Blacklock, made the decision to take the club to the Craven and District League the following year. The first team competed in the First Division and the reserve team in the reserve division.

The first team became champions of the First Division at the first attempt, and were promoted to the Premier Division, which they eventually won in 1990.

Having been seen as a step upwards, a further decision was made for both teams to join the East Lancashire Football League, where Rock Rovers have competed with either one or two teams over the last quarter of a century, winning various trophies.

It is a fact that, in 1996, Rock Rovers were the catalyst for the emergence of Colne FC, who have gone from strength to strength and been a credit to the town.

Over the years, as many as three generations of footballers from various families have worn the Rock Rovers shirt with pride, as the club continued to offer local lads a competitive game of football.

However, what would appear to be a serious decline in interest for the amateur game, and the shortage of youth coming through, it has become impossible to field a side to play Saturday football.

Therefore, the club have had no choice but to disband as a Saturday football club.

It is hoped that the name of Rock Rovers will survive through both five-a-side and veterans’ teams.

Rock chairman Glen Pool said: “All that is left to say is a massive thank you to all the managers, players, officials, spouses, supporters, sponsors and friends because the club could not have endured such longevity without you.

“There is a celebration of Rock Rovers and their contribution to local football at the Union Hotel, Colne on Saturday, November 26th, 8 p.m. until late., where we hope to come together and reflect on the fabulous memories which we all share.”

Rock Rovers Roll of Honour

1978/79 – Brierfield medals runners-up; 1979/80 – Brierfield medals runners-up; 1979/80 – Nelson and Colne League champions; 1980/81 – Nelson and Colne League champions; 1980/81 – Nelson and Colne reserve cup winners; 1980/81 – Nelson and Colne Second Division champions; 1980/81 – Nelson and Colne 3rd Division runners- up; 1982/83 – Craven and District League First Division champions; 1989/90 – Craven and District League Premier Division champions; 2003/04 – East Lancs League Second Division champions; 2004/05 – East Lancs League reserve cup winners; 2005/06 – East Lancs League Presidents Cup winners; 2006/07 – East Lancs League reserve cup winners; 2008/09 – Bird Cup winners; 2011/12 – East Lancs League Second Division champions; 2011/12 – East Lancs League Bob Little Cup winners.