We're a year ahead of schedule at Stockport County - we've got three years to reach the Championship

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It’s been quite the rise for Stockport County - but it’s just the start.

Stockport County are heading back to League One. For the first time in 14 years, the Hatters find themselves in the third tier of English football having won League Two and losing just eight of their 46 games. 

The club has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. During a 20-year period from 1970 to 1990, the club spent every season in Division Four. In more recent times, Stockport got relegated three times in four seasons between 2010 and 2013. Their rise up the divisions started in 2019 after spending six straight seasons in the National League North.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The parade for the League Two title triumph in April saw thousands line the streets to cheer on a football club that is riding on the crest of a wave at the moment. Two promotions in three seasons have got Stockport flying in the right direction, and many lay the success of recent times at the feet of the club’s owner. 

Mark Stott the owner of Stockport CountyMark Stott the owner of Stockport County
Mark Stott the owner of Stockport County | Getty Images

Mark Stott took over Stockport County in 2020, just several months after the club won promotion from the National League North - the sixth tier of the English football pyramid. In the summer of 2024, Stockport have big ambitions to build on their success and backed by Stott, promotion to the Championship is one of their goals. 

Born and raised in Stockport, Stott is a property entrepreneur and is the CEO of Cheshire firm Vita Group. After taking over the club, Stott revealed a seven-year plan to get the club to the second tier. He told Sportsboom about these plans and how the club has been on the up for several years now. 

“We’re definitely ahead of the curve,” he said. “We’re probably a year ahead of schedule, we’re left with three years now to get to the Championship.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We believe there’s a sweet spot in League One – and this is the time to make the transition. I think it would be a massive stretch to try and get into the Championship with the same group of players that have got us from the National League into League One.”

Their financial weight was certainly a big factor in Stockport being able to get out of the National League. And Stott believes that is simply par for the course now if clubs want to establish themselves in the EFL.

“I wouldn’t have said I was disappointed if we hadn't won it [the league], but I was confident even after a slightly bumpy start, he said. “But we had to buy our way out of the National League, you have to do that in my opinion.

“We bought ourselves out of the National League and Wrexham have bought themselves out. This is the time where we have to go younger with our players. This is the tipping point I believe where we can create real value for the football club.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Stcokort County won the Sky Bet League Two title last seasonStcokort County won the Sky Bet League Two title last season
Stcokort County won the Sky Bet League Two title last season

Stott says the club is now focused on the next stage of his plan to get to the Championship. The goal is to be in the second tier by 2027. 

“I think now is a great time for us to look at the next three years as a plan for the next part of the journey,” he said. “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved this season. At the start of the season I was adamant, in my own head, that we were going to do it [get promotion].”

Stott bought the club at a time when football was very much at the back of people’s minds - the Covid pandemic. This was something that turned out to be somewhat of a benefit. 

“My timing for buying the club was absolutely horrific, but the one benefit Covid gave us was that we got into Edgeley Park and upgraded, which you never really get because you only have six to 10 weeks in the closed season to get everything done,” he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Otherwise, there’s loads of disruption. All those things together, well we’re probably a year ahead of where I thought we’d be. It’s going well. When I bought the club I think there were just six full-time members of staff and some part-timers, and now there’s 175 full-time members and 250 part-time staff.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.