It took 66 days, many hours of hard graft and two further postponements as the Gods mocked the Rams with more heavy rain but the club finally returned home on Tuesday evening when, at 7.45pm, the first ball was kicked on the ground since 19th December last year.

Unfortunately, Skelmersdale United were not in sentimental mood as they returned home 3-0 victors to leave the Rams firmly rooted to the foot of the table and staring relegation in the face.

In many ways, Tuesday night was not about the action on the pitch.  It was the fact that the club had finally played a home game on it in over two months.

This day could have come a lot sooner but for the weather once again putting paid to two matches earlier in February but it did come and it has been through the hard endeavours of many helpers, friends and supporters of non-league football that the club has finally gotten back on home soil.

Not since Stamford came to Ramsbottom on 19th December had the HWRS seen any action on the field as the Boxing Day floods, which left the ground under 3ft of water, subsided and the work commenced to get the ground fit again.

Supporters, followers and those across the wider non-league family all pitched in once the waters finally cleared to leave mud, grime, litter and general devastation not only on the pitch surface but within the buildings around the ground, including the tea bar, sponsors lounge, secretary’s office, dressing rooms and, almost crucially, the generators cabin.

The fundraising page lifted the support effort with over £2,000 while supporters of opposition teams dug deep when the Rams headed away from home and gave generously to bucket collections.  And followers of other teams, including the memorable trip from Sutton Coldfield Town fans, was a highlight and will not be forgotten.

But it should not be forgotten that many of the Rammy faithful also got their hands dirty to do everything they could to repair the damage caused by the horrific flooding which flowed through Ramsbottom just after Christmas.

The club want to go on record in thanking every single person who helped get the club back on the pitch last night.  The effort was outstanding in such unstinting graft all around the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium and Ramsbottom United have been touched by the amount of support and good wishes that they received.

With so many games played away from home whilst the ground was out of action, the next month is a procession of home games with the visit of Workington on Saturday (27 February) followed by Colwyn Bay (1 March), Matlock Town (5 March), Grantham Town (12 March) and Nantwich Town (15 March).

The Rams’ next match on the road does not come until Saturday 19 March when we head over the Derbyshire hills to play Mickleover Sports.


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