The first of five visits to Greater Manchester clubs who are separated by barely ten miles. The Nash, as they are nicknamed, were founded in 1963 following a merger of two amateur clubs. As recently as 2014, Step 4 was a novelty, never mind Step 2.
Hereford supporters may remember Curzon hosting AFC Wimbledon in a recent live FA Cup match. Curzon led 3-0 but somehow lost 3-.4.
The 1,700 in attendance is a record for a Curzon home game (though former tenants FC United uniformly beat this figure).
Having achieved the giddy heights of National League North, the Nash have determinedly stayed there and are now starting their fourth season. (NASH = last letter of Curzon, first three of Ashton). One of their summer signings was former Bull Chris Sharp.
Curzon have an impressive complex at their Tameside Stadium. Think Biggleswade with a long and tarmacked entrance road. There is a training pitch with the latest artificial surface, a large free car park and a statue of 3 famous locally-born footballers.
During my two previous visits, I found Curzon a very friendly, down to earth club who do a remarkable amount of work in the local community, Weekly Tai Chi anybody?
The Nash need to stand out from the crowd. There are 16 professional or senior Non-League sides within a 12 mile radius, including the Premier League Champions.
Curzon’s other weapon is to keep football affordable. Adults are charge £12, seniors £6 (lowest in the Division) and all local children can apply for a free season ticket.
The Tameside Stadium has a capacity of 4,500. The main features are an elevated, comfortable stand, which looks bigger than its 520 capacity.
Opposite is a big covered terrace with 7 steps of open terracing surround the rest of the stadium. The Nash bar is a 2015 addition to the stadium but do look out for proper Northern fayre of pie, peas, chips and gravy in the snack bar, which include some tables and chairs for proper appreciation.
As the complex is isolated, alternative food and drink offerings are no short distance, Ashton town centre is 15 minutes’ walk, which includes the nearest ‘Spoons.
Otherwise, ¾ to a mile along Oldham Road are the Dog and Partridge (best known for food) while the Dog and Pheasant is a friendly local with 5 real ales. It’s also the home base of the “bog hoppers.” (local hiking club, in case you wondered).
By Road: OL7 9HG (290 miles return) Leave M60 at J23 and take the A6140 towards Ashton. At traffic lights past the cinema, turn left onto Richmond Street.
Over the railway bridge and mini-roundabout and first left into complex.
By Train: Do-able! Just over two hours to Manchester Piccadilly with a choice of trains. Pick up the Metrolink for a 30-minute tram ride (£3.80 return) to Ashton West
Metrolink – a brisk five-minute walk downhill to the stadium.