Nantwich Town FC: A Sense of Community and an FA Trophy Run
If you come from the North West of England, you'll likely know of the historical market town of Nantwich, positioned in the heart of Cheshire East in County Cheshire. With a population of just over 14,000, Nantwich is famous for its high concentration of listed buildings and historical landmarks - tallying some of the most in England.
If you've visited Nantwich, you'll likely be familiar with the local football club, Nantwich Town FC. Next year, the club celebrates its 140th anniversary. No, Nantwich Town has never been as successful as Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea, but it'll always be older than them!
The little club gauges its success differently. With a capacity of only 3,500 in the Weaver Stadium, Nantwich Town's home ground, the club's primary focus is camaraderie and togetherness. Some on-field success here and there always helps, though.
When a football club has been around for as long as Nantwich Town has, it will experience its fair share of ups and downs. Last season was one of the latter, as The Dabbers' 15-year relationship with the Northern Premier League ended through relegation.
Oh yes, "The Dabbers" is the Nantwich Town nickname, by the way. It's not only what the football club is known as but also a moniker every local goes by. Any person born within Nantwich town limits is known as a dabber. The nickname likely originates from the salt-making or leather-tanning processes of the same name.
When making salt from brine, you use a large spatula to scoop off any impurities from salt pans and then squash the wet salt while walling. When making leather, hides get dabbed into tannic acid tanks to cure them, while leather gloves or bags get softened with a small hammer in a process also known as dabbing.
As far back as 1086, the Domesday Book mentions Nantwich as having eight salt houses. The Nantwich Brine and Medicinal Baths Company also owned the Brine Baths Hotel, complete with brine springs used for spa or hydrotherapy reasons, until the mid-20th century. In medieval times, Nantwich was the biggest salt town in County Cheshire, renowned for its leather tanning industry in the Barker Street area.
So you can take your pick. Whether the nickname derives from salt, leather or both, Nantwich natives will always be dabbers. And Nantwich Town FC will always be The Dabbers.
Despite slipping back into the Northern Premier League - West Division and starting slowly in the league, everything is not 'doom and gloom' for The Dabbers. It never is.
Nantwich Town manager Paul Carden has engineered quite a run in the FA Trophy this season. The Dabbers have already successfully negotiated five rounds and faced a third-round tie at the Weaver Stadium against former football league side York City on 9 December.
They made it through with a score of 3-2, and Nantwich Town's odds are currently 40/1 to win the prestigious award outright, according to many anonymous crypto sports betting sites. The Dabbers are on quite a run, so they’re worth keeping in mind, although some will prefer to wait and see what comes of the 13 January meeting with Solihull Moors. The latter are strongly favoured for the event, however, with 1/5 odds compared to Nantwich’s 10/1.
Most of Nantwich Town's previous FA Trophy wins this season have come in penalty shootouts. Carden has finely tuned his penalty takers in preparation for some tough ties, and the extra work has paid off so far.
After standard time wins in the first and second qualifying rounds, it took a 6-5 shootout win to beat Bradford (Park Avenue) at Horsfall Stadium in the third qualifying round. Then onto Round One, and another penalty win, this time 4-2 over Stratford Town at home. It was no longer a surprise when Round Two against Chester FC at Weaver Stadium ended the same way - with another penalty shootout and another 4-2 win for The Dabbers.
It may be a little concerning that Nantwich Town haven't scored a goal in regulation time in three legs, but they have also kept three clean sheets. If the penalties keep converting there's no use complaining. May the trend continue!
Published by Patrick Jane