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).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea