Expert Comment: What does Stockport County's promotion mean for the town?

Categories: Salford Business School

On Saturday 13 April, Stockport County secured promotion to League One of the football pyramid. But what does the achievement mean for the town and the wider community? Paul Walters, Programme Lead for BSc Business Management with Sport, explains.

Paul Walters portrait

Stockport County's triumphant promotion to League One is not just a momentous achievement for the club, but a cause for celebration for the entire Stockport community and the broader Manchester region. The Hatters' ascent from the National League to League One is a testament to their resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit.

Beyond the thrill of victory on the pitch, it has been a 14-year journey for Stockport County to arrive back in League One. The fan base, known as the Hatters, have over a 100-year history with the local community in Stockport. Stockport County put forward planning permission in 2022 and gave their loyal fan base a new fan zone, enriching the fan experience at Edgeley Park, securing 20 new jobs associated with the fan zone. Edgeley Park has a vision to redevelop their 10,000 plus capacity stadium to 20,000 seats. In 2020 the club put forward a seven-year masterplan to return to the Championship and this including a 250-year lease for Edgeley Park with Stockport Council. It is hoped that Stockport County’s return to League One will fuel this development.

The master plan and promotion to League One will attract increased investment and sponsorship opportunities, the economic ripple effect will benefit the local community and extend beyond the confines of Edgeley Park. As Stockport County's profile grows, so too does the visibility of Stockport itself. The town becomes a focal point for football fans and enthusiasts, attracting visitors from far and wide to witness the excitement of League 1 football. This influx of visitors stimulates the local economy, boosting revenue for businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and shops.

In addition to the immediate economic gains, Stockport County's promotion fosters a sense of civic pride and community cohesion. The success of the club unites residents in celebration, strengthening social ties and bolstering the collective identity of Stockport. This sense of pride and belonging is invaluable, contributing to the overall well-being and vitality of the town.

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