Football: Satisfaction in supporting the Stones

FAN'S EYE VIEW Wealdstone

THERE OUGHT to be a definition in a dictionary somewhere to identify a particular breed of sports fan. Perhaps, when describing non-League football, the word "supporter" could be replaced by something that does greater justice to the vast majority who would otherwise be categorised in this way.

They are, perhaps, a small band of people (the combined attendance for the Ryman League's four divisions on an average Saturday would scarcely fill the main stand at Old Trafford). But without such support their clubs could not exist.

The harsh reality is that there are very few Murdochs, Sugars and Walkers, and if it were not for these ardent followers of our non-League game players such as Les Ferdinand, Stuart Pearce or Vinnie Jones might well have remained hod carriers, electricians or the like.

Taking Stuart Pearce and Vince Jones as examples, at Wealdstone we are proud to say that they both joined their first professional clubs in transfers from us.

But times have changed for Wealdstone. At the end of the 1984-1985 season we were paying good wages to our players, a mixture of young hopefuls and ex-professionals, and became the first club to win the non- League Double - the Conference and the FA Trophy. Had we managed to win it a mere four years later our future would certainly have been different, as the title then won promotion to the Nationwide League.

The Stones were, however, losing money trying to maintain an ageing ground and their status as a top side. Deals were made transferring some of the better players to earn vital cash. However, after the ground was sold, the running of the club was placed in the hands of administrators, and what has become a seven-year exercise in ground-sharing began: first at Watford, then at Yeading and now at Edgware Town.

In that time, the only thing that has remained constant has been the involvement of the supporters. It is, however, much more than pounds 5 admission and 90 minutes once or twice a week. There are the lotteries, sponsored walks, match ball donors, kit sponsors and, more recently goal sponsors, each one contributing much more than a season's entrance fees. All this is being done in the hope that in our centenary year of 1999 we will see a new ground in the London borough of Harrow and one day, perhaps, we produce another Stuart Pearce or a Michael Owen.

Later this month an initial planning application will be heard regarding the development of our proposed new ground. Not a Stamford Bridge or a Highbury, just a small ground with facilities for 2,500 people, a clubhouse and a host of other sports facilities available to the local community.

If it successful then the fund-raising will begin in earnest and our centenary will present another opportunity to show the best side of the club and its supporters. I'm in the early stages of writing a book to celebrate the event, based entirely on the thoughts and memories of 1,000 of our former players and officials. I am actively seeking contributions and want to trace anyone who has been involved with the club at any time.

Through the internet (Wealdstone FC have five regularly updated sites for news, match reports and archive and picture galleries) I am trying to track down our more elusive ex-players. I have also set up an Internet site (http://www.roge.dircon.co.uk) which has all the details and includes instructions on how to contact me or the other Wealdstone FC sites. Alternatively, please write to Wealdstone FC at The White Lion Ground, High Street, Edgware.

From the internet site you'll also be able to find out a little more about non-League football and its supporters - but if you're at a loose end, this afternoon's fixtures include a round of the FA Vase. For a bonus, tomorrow Wealdstone entertain Croydon at home in the Ryman League First Division (kick-off 3pm).

News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television The BBC have commissioned a series of programmes doing away with high-production values, commentary, script or drama
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable