In this article, we take a look back at the comedy TV series ‘Rovers’ from a few years back, which is based on the ‘worst team in England’.
Back in 2016, New Mills AFC was taken as inspiration, being chosen as the setting for a TV comedy – about a rubbish football team.
The club featured in the national media after going on a 19 game losing streak and had three managers leave since their season began back then.
In the same week a host of famous faces were at the club’s Church Lane ground filming Rovers, a sitcom that that was aired on Sky One, a channel which is set to be axed this year.
The club hope the appearance of names including Sue Johnston, from the Royle Family and Coronation Street, will be the beginning of better times.
Chairman Ray Coverley said at the time: “Obviously the filming gives us a bit of a profile, they went to quite a few grounds and checked them out and liked ours the best.
“We decided to let them come in, it’s going to be interesting.”
Talking about being billed as the worst club in England he added: “You can’t argue with the stats, the only thing you can say is that in this league clubs have a large wage bill, we can’t do that.
“It is a high standard, we have got good young players, unfortunately at the moment we can’t get a win but we are doing our best.
“If people want to make comments that’s fine, any publicity is supposed to be good publicity but to be held up to ridicule is a bit much. I’m not going to get too upset though.”
The club’s fictional TV counterparts are called Redbridge Rovers, who are second from the bottom of their league.
In six half hour episodes which were screened, it told the ups and down of lower league football and the goings on in the team clubhouse.
It was written by Joe Wilkinson and David Earl and produced by Jellylegs, the company co-founded by Craig Cash, also from the Royle Family.
New Mills was apparently chosen for the four days of filming, which ended on Thursday, because of the picturesque location, good quality ground and the friendly welcome it offers.
Craig said: “In Rovers, David and Joe have created a world that is both laugh out loud funny and as warm as toast.
“A series populated by great characters played by a brilliant cast. Six half hours of pure joy.”
The series revolved around a football club in the Midlands of England and the social lives of its local members. The entire series took place at the club, which has been run by Doreen for 25 years. The locals include Pete “Mete Pott” Mott, the club’s most fanatic member, Pete’s best friend Tel and his boyfriend Mel, Willy and his blind mother Francis, troublesome twosome Lee and Bruce and local woman Mandy.
– Sue Johnston as Doreen, owner of the club and chief barmaid.
– Lolly Adefope as Sam, new barmaid of the club.
– Craig Cash as Pete Mott, the team’s biggest fan. He must deal with club’s poor performances and the feeling he’s losing Tel.
– Steve Speirs as Terrence “Tel”, Pete’s best friend. He has recently come out of the closet and spends more and more time with his boyfriend Melvin.
– Jamie Demetriou as Tom, local man. Tom was in foster care and was then homeless until Pete took him in.
– Seb Cardinal as Melvin “Mel”, the mildly flamboyant boyfriend of Tel.
– Joe Wilkinson as Lee, local man. He enjoys ragging on Pete and his Rovers cohort.
– David Earl as Bruce, brother of Lee. They are two of a set of triplets, although the third sibling is never seen.
– Diane Morgan as Mandy, local woman known for her unpredictable proclivities.
– Pearce Quigley as Willy, local man. Son of Francis, he lives with and looks after his blind mother.
– Judith Barker as Francis, local woman. She is blind and relies on the attention and care of her son Willy, often inconveniencing his social life.
How have New Mills performed since filming the show?
2015-16 – NPL-1N: 42 played, 0 wins, 3 draws, 39 defeats, 26 goals for, 156 goals against, 3 points, 22/22 position
2016-17 – NWC-P: 42 played, 8 wins, 9 draws, 25 defeats, 65 goals for, 102 goals against, 33 points, 20/22 position
2017-18 – NWC-1: 42 played, 14 wins, 7 draws, 21 defeats, 68 goals for, 95 goals against, 49 points, 14/22 position
2018-19 – NWC-1S: 38 played, 10 wins, 5 draws, 23 defeats, 74 goals for, 113 goals against, 35 points, 18/20 position
2019-20 – NWC-1S: 28 played, 9 wins, 6 draws, 13 defeats, 49 goals for, 63 goals against, 33 points, ABANDONED
2020-21 – NWC-1S: 5 played, 3 wins, 1 draw, 1 defeat, 6 goals for, 5 goals against, 10 points, ABANDONED