When Steve Hill decided to hang up his boots in 1989 he had no idea how quickly he’d be back involved in football. Ladybridge chairman Steve Hill formed the club’s first team in 1989 for his sons and their friends.
But it wasn’t always this glamorous.
“Two of my kids asked me in 1989 if I would organise a team for them and their friends,” Steve told ladybridgefc.co.uk
“We were able to secure Ladybridge Lane, where we still train today, but it was a dilapidated field with no changing rooms or protection from the stables down there!
“Would you believe our very first strip came from Bolton market!”
The following season saw the inclusion of another team but it wasn’t until the club’s third term that Steve realised where his true ambitions lay.
“1992 was definitely the turning point for this club,” says Steve.
“We were due to take part in a football tournament in Blackpool but a local family, who had just returned from living in Holland, put us in contact with an amateur Dutch side called Marvilde.
“We decided instead to take the kids across to Holland for their first taste of European football!
“Once I’d seen the facilities that Marvilde had for their young players, I decided that this was exactly the type of thing I wanted to set up because the facilities in Bolton were woefully inadequate.”
The club grew steadily in numbers during the 1990s and enthusiasm levels among parents, children and volunteers were high. But it wasn’t all plain-sailing for Steve and Ladybridge F.C.
“1992 to 1997 was a very frustrating period because we couldn’t get hold of an appropriate piece of land to develop,” Steve says.
“But with the help of local councillors we eventually secured a plot of land in Lostock, which we have been developing from 2000 to the present.
“The ultimate dream is to have people popping into the new clubhouse for a drink and a bite to eat as well as to participate in the footballing side of things. But I’m sure that will come. “
Ladybridge F.C. has also since registered itself as a charity, which has not only raised standards within the club but has also brought the opportunity to take advantage of funding from sponsors and other organisations.
But for Steve Hill, it has never been about the money.
“Football might be a business at the top level but for us at grass roots it’s still a sport and to see the joy that it gives to so many youngsters is very satisfying indeed.
“My vision is not to make Ladybridge Football Club the number one feeder club to Bolton Wanderers but to provide a hub for local young men and women to enjoy themselves.
“We’re never going to make it to the World Cup finals but an appearance at Wembley in a non-league cup final would be nice!”