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Meet the opposition: Chorley

7 November 2019

As the Stags prepare for their Emirates FA Cup First Round clash with Chorley, we take a closer look at the side from Lancashire...

Their story...

Chorley FC began life as a rugby club, before switching to association football in 1883. Known as The Magpies since the 1890s because of their distinctive black and white striped shirts, the club have played in six different leagues during a 135-year existence.

After a series of friendly matches against Wigan, Preston North End and Blackburn Rovers in the 1880s, Chorley joined the Lancashire Junior League in 1889. The following year the league became the Lancashire Alliance, where the Club played through 1894 before leaving to join the Lancashire League.

They also competed in the Lancashire Combination and Cheshire County League before becoming a founder member of the Northern Premier League in 1968.

Promotion as champions of the NPL in ’88 resulted in The Magpies highest finish on the English football pyramid the following year (17th in the Football Conference), before they succumbed to relegation back to the NPL in 1990.

Two promotions in four seasons under Garry Flitcroft saw The Magpies, roared on by an average crowd almost five-times higher than during the Noughties, catapulted into the National League North after a final day victory at Buxton in April 2014 secured a second NPL championship crown.

In what was to be Flitcroft’s last season in charge, the Club almost made a triumphant return to the Football Conference. Unfortunately, The Magpies failed to win a second-successive promotion after losing the NLN play-off final 3-2 to Guiseley in May 2015.

Assistant manager Matt Jansen took the reins that summer, and although The Magpies missed a play-off berth in 2015/16, they returned the following season only to lose a second play-off final, this time in front of over 8,000 fans at FC Halifax Town.

Yet another play-off appearance was booked in April 2018. However, Harrogate Town edged the semi-final 2-1 with an injury time winner. The defeat was Jansen’s last game in charge.

Assistant Jamie Vermiglio took over the day after Jansen departed and led The Magpies to National League North playoff success 10 months later, returning the Club to the fifth tier of English football with a 4-3 penalty victory over Spennymoor Town at Victory Park.

Their current form...

The Magpies have had a difficult start to the campaign after returning to the National League. One win in 20 matches in the league sees them lie at the foot of the table, although they have recorded eight league clean sheets thus far.

Chorley made it to the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup by way of a 2-0 victory over Spennymoor Town at Victory Park, with the goals coming from Chris Holroyd and Alex Newby.

The boss...

Jamie Vermiglio.

The current primary school headteacher’s association with Chorley goes back more than a decade, including three spells with the Magpies during his playing days.

Since retiring in 2014, after amassing over 200 appearances alone with Chorley, Vermiglio has been heavily involved within the backroom setup, starting as a coach.

The former midfielder then took on the assistant manager post in 2015, before becoming manager after Matt Jansen’s resignation in June 2018.

Less than a year on from taking the job as boss of Chorley, Vermiglio guided the Magpies to National League North play-off glory, taking his side to non-league’s highest table for the first time in 29 years.

The 37-year-old appeared for Chorley, Scarborough, AFC Telford United and Northwich Victoria during his playing days.

The key men...

Defender Matthew Challoner has been a mainstay in the Magpies' backline this season, appearing in all 20 of their league fixtures, starting 19 of them.

Frontman Chris Holroyd is also one to watch, as the striker netted in Chorley's last Emirates FA Cup fixture, and has six league goals to his name this term, making him the top scorer in the Magpies' ranks.

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