With the football season over prematurely due to the Coronavirus Pandemic I’m in the unusual position of actually having this blog up to date! So to keep the content coming, and for something to do, I’ll do some old grounds and games where there’s a story to tell.
Saturday 4th April 2009 ko 15.00
Anglian Combination – Division One
WELLS TOWN 1 (Harrison 23)
East sent off 90 (2nd booking)
BUNGAY TOWN 1 (McFarlane 3)
The curiosity of Wells-next-the-sea is that it isn’t! The small town on the North Norfolk coast is roughly a mile from the sea due to land reclamation works by the Holkeham Estate in 1859. To this day the “Albatros” an 18th Dutch century schooner lies in permanent dry dock in the old harbour and was in use as a pub; you can see its masts in some of my photos. But other than the obvious, why was I there?
In essence I used to have use of a flat opposite the “Albatros” so it was a case of gently maneuvering my now ex-wife into booking a visit when Wells Town were at home that weekend. In the end all I had to do was stroll across, after buying some cockles to eat from the stall over the road!
The ground lies on the land that was reclaimed below the sea wall, you may even be technically under sea-level here. Then there was the backdrop of at least 4 forms of transport, cars, the Wells Harbour Railway, boats and cyclists. It really is a lovely place to watch a game.
Facilities and backdrops don’t make clubs- people do and what I’ll remember about Wells is just what a friendly club I found. So much so that on the Monday morning as we were about to leave for home I strolled up Staithe Street to buy a paper and was tapped on shoulder by a club official. He let me know Wells had another home game that Tuesday and would I like to come along? My regret was total.
No game involving Bungay Town should ever go without mention. This was 4 years before I met Shaun Cole and all at the Black Dogs and learned about the club’s connections with The Darkness! I have to say my abiding memory of Wells from a Bungay perspective was how to pronounce the visitors’ name? The “G” is hard if you didn’t know.
But there is so much more to Wells than a friendly Anglian Combination club. Yes, you do need to take a ride on the Harbour Railway and the Wells and Walsingham Railway too, and remember the two railways used to be contiguous, and standard gauge too.
More than anything else I loved the quirkiness of the place, the fact that I had to walk less than 20 yards to buy a bag of chips, and having more than a few beers at The Albatros while listening to a local covers band called “Spinoff!” Now I’ve staggered home from the pub on a few occasions so imagine trying it leaving from an old ship! I report with no little sadness that the Albatros closed before the Coronavirus crisis and is in need of a new owner.