As we move closer and closer to the Manchester Derby on Monday where United and City will battle to the death in what will likely decide the fate of this seasons Premier League title, we figured it would be fun to look at Manchester's other professional team.
Premier League sides Wigan and Bolton are both located in the Greater Manchester area, to the northwest of the city about 15 miles each. Bury, Oldham, and Rochdale are all members of League One and are located roughly 10 miles north of the City Centre. There are a handful of conference national and conference north teams around the city as well, but only one sits within the city limits, inside the M60 beltway. Way down on the sixth level of the Football Association pyramid, in Conference North sits Manchester's other professional team; Droylsden F.C.
Away from the sixty and seventy thousand seat stadiums of their neighbors to the west, Droylsden occupies Butcher's Arms Ground; a small stadium with seating for five hundred and a capacity of three thousand. As the crow flies, the stadium is as far away from the Etihad Stadium as Old Trafford is, but it is decades if not centuries away in appearance. Nicknamed "the slaughterhouse" by their fans, Droylsden has remained mostly unchanged since it was built in 1892 behind a pub of the original team owner. Luxury suites? How about seating under terraces as the closest thing to luxury at Butcher's, the exception being the Public House (pub) that adjoins the pitch.
Droylsden, or "the Bloods" as they are known by their fans, have been in existence from around the same time in as City and United, in the late 1800's. With a team budget somewhere equivalent to a single day's pay for Mario Balotelli, the Bloods have found their way through the lowest conferences of league football in England for nearly 120 years. But perhaps the best years are ahead for Droylsden. In 2008/09 and 2010/11, the team made it to the second round (proper) of the FA Cup for the domestic professional championship. While the team doesn't look to finish in the upper half of the table in Conference North this season, steady improvement could see them onto Conference National in the next few seasons, from there it is only one more jump to league football.
So when you sit down to watch the Manchester Derby on Monday between the two biggest teams in English Football, don't forget about the other club from Manchester; the Bloods from Droylsden F.C.