Outside the Box: Wealdstone stake their claim for attention of old boy Pearce

 

Busy as he has been this week, Stuart Pearce will surely not have failed to notice the success of his first club Wealdstone in reaching the semi-final of the FA Trophy.

They are the only side from outside the Blue Square Bet Premier to do so, joining three former League clubs: Newport County, whom they now meet over two legs, Luton Town and York City.

It is a heartening achievement for what in the mid-Eighties could claim to be the leading non-League club in the country, winning the Conference and FA Trophy double in 1985, only to be left homeless for 17 years from 1990, enduring four different ground-shares. Now they are established at the Grosvenor Vale Stadium in nearby Ruislip and have worked their way back up from the third division to the top flight of the Ryman League.

Pearce greatly enjoyed his three years with the Stones, when he also moonlighted as "Yak Jensen" in goal for the Sunday League team Dynamo Kingsbury Kiev, frequently charging upfield and claiming one season to have finished as top scorer.

Wealdstone provided tough schooling, during which he was once sent out to play at Runcorn despite having broken a leg; even Psycho lasted only five minutes.

Bantams hatch plans

Imaginative pricing in hard economic times continues to pay off for a number of clubs, with Bradford City and Charlton Athletic among those to reap the benefit last weekend.

Bradford pioneered cheap season tickets after they were relegated to League Two in 2007, selling 13,000 at £138 each (or £6 per game). Despite gradually increasing the price they have had the division's highest average attendance every year.

Football League clubs are allowed four other special promotions each season and last Saturday's offer of £1 tickets for the game against Hereford United attracted a crowd of 17,014 – only 1,000 fewer than for the derby between Queens Park Rangers and Fulham. All this for a team who rarely escape the lower reaches of the bottom division – "a tragedy for the eighth largest city in the country" as a club spokesman put it.

League One leaders Charlton offered "Football For A Fiver" and a crowd of 26,546 came to see the visit of Stevenage, their highest since the Second World War for a game in the third tier. Neither club has yet gone as far as Bradford's neighbours Bradford Park Avenue, whose offer for yesterday's home game against Stafford Rangers was a free ticket to anyone emailing them for a voucher.

Gift horse in the Monmouth

Talking of Five Pound Football, the founders of the new ownership model of that name yesterday handed over a cheque for £3,600 to buy a six per cent share in Monmouth Town, the club they propose taking over when sufficient funds are raised.

Having "scoured the UK for a suitable club", the Five Pound Football Club settled on Monmouth, who last season won the Welsh League division three and are now clear leaders of the second tier. Members contribute a minimum of £5 and are given a say in whether the overall investment fund is used for, say, the playing budget or to improve facilities.

Flushed with success again

That enterprise is a variation of MyFC.com, set up four years ago when 32,000 online investors paid up to £35 each to buy Conference club Ebbsfleet United. They cleared £600,000 of debt and went on to win the FA Trophy at Wembley four months later. Since then numbers have dropped off dramatically and are now down to 1,400.

Ebbsfleet were relegated but won promotion again last season, and manager Liam Daish recently completed an eventful seven years at the club.

Times have been hard. There have been two break-ins at the ground and last Saturday's kick-off time against Southport had to be brought forward by an hour after thieves stole 500 feet of cabling, rendering the floodlights unusable.

However, The Fleet did manage to harness the power of the internet and a worldwide membership by attracting sufficient votes to raise £100,000 to improve what fans voted for as the worst toilets in football – beating Sheffield United and Barnsley.

s.tongue@independent.co.uk; www.twitter.com/@stevetongue

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick