As we approach the half way mark in our A to Z series, we reach L which is for…
L. S. Lowry
Salford has a culturally significant list of famous people who have made significant contributions to the areas of sport, music, acting and art, and perhaps one of the most well known is Laurence Stephen Lowry.
Born in 1887 in Stretford, Lowry lived on Station Road in Pendlebury for a large period of the first half of the 1900s, and as an artist became well known for his industrial landscapes, which were often based on what he saw in Salford and included his Matchstick Men.
Amongst his most famous works is Going to the Match, a vision depicting Bolton Wanderers’ Burnden Park being flocked upon by supporters. Lowry often visited Burnden Park due to its proximity to Pendlebury, but he was a Manchester City supporter having attended Maine Road regularly. One of his rare paintings that actually referred to a specific event was Manchester City versus Sheffield United, from around 1938.
His 1949 piece The Football Match sold for £5.6million in 2011, while Going to the Match is owned by the Professional Footballers Association and is displayed at The Lowry in Salford Quays.
As for the club, there are no specific links or suggestions that Lowry ever depicted us or Moor Lane, but we have recognised and celebrated his links with Salford. Brian and Michael’s 1978 number one single, Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs, has occasionally been played over the tannoy before and after matches.
Perhaps our most significant tribute was for the opening match at The Peninsula Stadium when Andrew Gordon adapted a wide picture of the ground to include Lowry’s Matchstick Men, and incorporated recognisable Salford landmarks including cranes from the docks and the Gasworks. Having passed away in 1976, Moor Lane wasn’t used by the club in the artist’s lifetime so we had to re-imagine what vision he may have had of our ground!
We also have an honourable mention for League Cup, more specifically the NWCFL Challenge Cup as Frank McCauley explains…
The final of the 2005-06 North West Counties League Challenge Cup took place at Skelmersdale United’s ground on 27th April 2006.
Cammell Laird were the team of the season in the North West Counties League, winning the Championship and getting to the semi-final of the FA Vase. They were also holders of the Challenge Cup but Salford were no slouches. Manager Gary Fellows had put together a youthful mainly all local squad which had been amongst the title challengers all season and had reached the third qualifying round of the FA Cup.
To get to the final the Ammies had defeated Bacup Borough 7-1 (a tie which, due to bad weather, had been postponed on three occasions). Glossop North End 5-2 (after a replay), Ramsbottom United 2-1 and Oldham Town 2-1 (in a two-legged semi-final).
Three tremendous second half goals and a quality team performance brought silverware to Moor Lane for the first time in Salford’s 24-year history as a semi-professional club. The 3-2 score line might suggest a close encounter but City were leading 3-0 with just two minutes remaining on the clock before the Lairds gave themselves a glimmer of hope with two late goals.
The goal scoring heroes for Salford, who thoroughly deserved to come out on top, were Jamie Baguley whose great shot capped off a fine City move, the outstanding John Robinson who finished off a run from the half way line with a thunderbolt effort and a young Kallum Higginbotham (who has gone on to play for Rochdale, Huddersfield, Kilmarnock, Dunfermline and Partick Thistle) who, spotting the goalkeeper off his line, hammered home a vicious, dipping shot.
Salford’s squad included John Ogden, Shaun Whitehead, Simon Myerscough, George Switzer, Anthony Snelgrove, Andy Pendlebury, Ben Thornley, Matty Burke, Kallum Higginbotham, John Robinson, Wes Bancroft, Jamie Baguley, Lee McNally, Barry Massay, Nick Robinson, Jon Borg, Tunji Moses and Mark Rodgers.