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There’s hope for the Cortons of this world

11:49 20 December 2014

Corton FC funded their own kit.

Corton FC funded their own kit.

Archant

It may not be on too many radars, but Corton FC are no more. After a century, the Anglian Combination Division One club has been forced to lock up.

Corton are suffering from non-league football disease – not enough money coming in to their level of the game, not enough volunteers, and not enough players willing to give up time that is even more 
valuable nowadays to go out and play.

Many years ago I represented my village, Leverington, at A team and, once, reserve team level. Truth is, I wasn’t a very good player, but I was bursting with pride at donning the yellow shirt. It was the only distraction I had on a Saturday afternoon: the alternative games weren’t electronic, I didn’t have screens that blinked constantly at me, my thumbs were more likely to be used for hitching a lift than sending a text and live football on the telly was not even an embryonic idea in an Aussie newspaper man’s mind.

I feel sorry for Corton, and any other club in the same position. But there is hope. Beccles Caxton were on their knees just a few weeks ago, but some incredible hard work behind the scenes has seen them come out fighting. They live to fight another day.

And only a few years ago I recall writing a story about Lowestoft Town being days away from padlocking the ground and going bust. Now look at them: good people worked hard at obtaining finance and the Trawlerboys are just two promotions away from a place in the Football League.

Football needs people who care. Look at Bungay Town, where Shaun Cole has a seemingly bottomless well of 
brilliant, innovative and eye-catching ideas.

And look at Dereham Town. In 1999 they were an Anglian Combination side. Now they are comfortably placed in Ryman League Division One North. Chairman Simon Barnes (who had what I am sure was a stress-free trip driving the players’ mini-bus to Cray Wanderers in Kent and back on Tuesday... well they did win) has ensured that their excellent facilities aren’t just used every other week. They are a club that utilises their resources and, you’d have to say, should be a model for others to follow.

Down at Great Yarmouth Town, Len Beresford and Co have worked hard to haul the Bloaters from the brink of financial disaster and, with manager Ricci Butler, 
looking at promotion from the Thurlow Nunn First Division.

For the Cortons of this world, there is hope.

Always enjoyed an interview with the former Norwich defender Gary Doherty, who announced his retirement this week.

For some reason he often had a startled look after you’d asked a question, although I don’t recall too many toughies.

I first interviewed him after his second game for Norwich, at Manchester United in August, 2004.

He had a right to be startled that day because I collared him trying to make his way through a couple of thousand United fans waiting to see their heroes drive out of the stadium after the game.

Doc was on the way to meet some mates; he was wearing club colours, but no one batted an eyelid. All they were doing was looking at big black cars, with darkened windscreens, drive out of the ground – and then cheering.

The sight of me, with microphone stuck in Doherty’s face in the middle of that lot was just as strange, but didn’t disturb them. Nor him.

Funny how we in the media often get lambasted when we publish rumour stories.

I recall someone taking a dislike to the story that Lee Clark was wanted by Huddersfield Town – a few days later he became their manager, much, one assumes, to the annoyance of Glenn Roeder.

Players and managers often look down their noses at such stories, suggesting that we are simply plugging a troublesome gap on a page and disguising the lack of facts with terms like “it is believed” or “it is understood”.

Then things like this happen. Bournemouth’s Dan Gosling, ahead of the Carling Cup tie with Liverpool, was talking about his manager, Eddie Howe, and said: “He’s had a few offers from Premier League clubs: Norwich, West Brom.”

Time to look down my nose: he didn’t get an offer from Norwich. Fact, not rumour.

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