The People - - LIFESTYLE - By John Richard­son

MAN­AGER Jim Gan­non’s love for Stock­port County, de­spite be­ing sacked twice, sees the Na­tional League North out­fit po­ten­tially just a game away from a dream FA Cup third-round clash.

The Hat­ters were dubbed the mad Hat­ters by many County fans when they dis­pensed of the pop­u­lar Gan­non’s man­age­rial ser­vices five years ago as he tried to res­ur­rect their for­tunes af­ter drop­ping out of the Foot­ball League.

It was his sec­ond sack­ing – club ad­min­is­tra­tors mak­ing Gan­non re­dun­dant in 2009 when Stock­port were in dan­ger of fold­ing.

But in Jan­uary 2016 he an­swered the call to re­turn af­ter Stock­port had slipped even lower in foot­ball’s pyra­mid, into the sixth tier.

It was an in­cred­i­ble de­cline in their for­tunes – in 2002 they were play­ing in the Cham­pi­onship.

The fact that he also made al­most 400 ap­pear­ances as a player in a decade at Edge­ley Park il­lus­trates his af­fec­tion for a club de­ter­mined to bring Foot­ball League ac­tion back to an area dom­i­nated by the two Manch­ester gi­ants, United and City.

“It’s a club that is and will re­main for­ever in my blood,”said Gan­non.

“There is a great fan base and huge po­ten­tial and they de­serve to be watch­ing League foot­ball again.

“There are peo­ple run­ning the club now who, al­though they are am­bi­tious, un­der­stand what is needed to help bring back some of the good times we have en­joyed in the past here.

“At some away games our sup­port­ers, who al­ways turn up in num­bers, ap­pear to take over the ground, which is fan­tas­tic for the play­ers.”

To­day, around 1,500 of them will fol­low their side to Bar­net in the FA Cup sec­ond round – around 500 are still telling tales of their 3-1 first-round vic­tory at League Two Yeovil Town.

Now it’s a Na­tional League side who stand in their path, with 50-year-old Gan­non (above) stat­ing: “We’re go­ing down there feel­ing good about our­selves. Some of the play­ers will be gob­s­macked at the sup­port we will have at Bar­net.


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