Dellwood Avenue, Eastern Counties League, Felixstowe, Felixstowe and Walton, Goldstar, Suffolk, Thurlow Nunn, United, Whitton United
Monday 28th December 2015 ko 12.00
Eastern Counties League Premier Division
FELIXSTOWE & WALTON UNITED 2 (Schaar 30 Driver 55)
WHITTON UNITED 0
Now very much with my North Berkshire League committeeman hat on I’m going to make a statement that might surprise you. I feel sorry for Felixstowe, yes that’s right! Perhaps I should explain why.
Two years ago the management committee of the Eastern Counties League decided to run a “Groundhoppers’ Day” that clashed with a hop in the North Berkshire League that I organise. Unfortunate, but the ECL’s management refusal to negotiate or communicate saw their event fail to get anywhere near the crowds it should have, and to cap a poor weekend for them the opening game at Felixstowe was postponed at kick off due to fog. Now I can’t comment as to whether that was the right decision, I wasn’t there, because I couldn’t be, but I’ll always wonder why time wasn’t given for the fog to (hopefully) clear.
It led to Felixstowe being poster boys for the failures of the league’s committee, and if you think that’s an exaggeration then consider the sheer volume of phone calls I took from hoppers asking when GroundhopUK was going to sort out the “Groundhopper Days?” That will never happen now, although I’m still willing to speak to the ECL’s committee to avoid any further diary clashes. I’d like to think even simply doing that could arrest the “Groundhoppers’ Day’s” falling attendances.
But whatever the politics of the piece are, none of what happened back then should reflect on Felixstowe, they may well have ended up being an excellent host club, but they didn’t get the chance one way or the other. And the irony of me paying the place a visit before some of the disappointed hoppers that September was not lost on me.
And let’s put the record completely straight. I enjoyed greatly my visit to Dellwood Avenue. Please dear visitor do not walk past the clubhouse/cricket pavilion near the car park, the club might feel it’s on the wrong side of decrepit, but the welcome is fulsome, and the display of memorabilia is fascinating.
The club are looking to build a new clubhouse at one corner of the ground, and having the ground and all of its facilities fully enclosed will no doubt help the club progress further. And let’s face it, on the pitch they’ve got a team that is capable of Isthmian League football. Yes, Whitton are bottom but this was the most one-sided 2-0 you’ll ever see, and Felixstowe moved the ball beautifully on a heavy surface.
It was a quick dash at the end, with FC Clacton kicking off at 3, which in some respects was a pity, it would have been good to linger. But as I sped away I smiled as I realised that I no longer saw the club as the embodiment of a few Eastern Counties League committeemen’s failure. I’m so glad I went.
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Alasdair Ross said:
As an avid reader of your blog, gutted I missed you at this game, think you walked past me at end as I heard you say ‘ most one sided 2-0 you will ever see’
ECL may have burnt their bridges for a groundhop but Suffolk and Ipswich League could be an option – Framlingham, Plus Ipswich sides Achilles, Cranes and Ransomes
The S & I League would be a great option. But with the NWCFL now added to the roster I wonder how we’d fit yet another league in?!
True, might be one for the future and possibly just 1 or 2 days, shared with ECL or Essex and Suffolk Border league ( Coggeshall and Harwich)
If you’d have said that a few years ago, I’d have dismissed the idea. Normally a groundhop is organised either by or on behalf of a league, but the combined United Counties and Peterborough & District Hop has proved that doesn’t need to be the case. As for your suggestion I can’t see the ECL wanting to do anything but its own thing, and I can’t imagine myself working with their current committee, but the rest of your idea has a lot of merit. The biggest difficulty would be fitting it into an already congested diary!!!!
Keep it in mind, can always act as a link, a number of SIL and ES Border teams would be very interested.
Well never say never. If any league would like to talk then please feel free to pass on my details
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