A previously formidable village football club that once played at Carrow Road has been revived after more than 15 years.

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A previously formidable village football club that once played at Carrow Road has been revived after more than 15 years.

Southrepps Football Club was relaunched by villagers in a bid to recapture community sprit and reduce anti-social behaviour in the area.

More than 50 adults and children signed up and the club’s two teams - under-eights and seniors - played their first games this month.

Graham McCabe, who is on the club’s committee, said: “The response was incredible. I didn’t realise we had so many children in the village. We now have more than 25 juniors and 25 seniors turning up week on week which was a real shock.”

He added that village residents of all ages were engaging with each other more and anti-social behaviour had been reduced since the launch of the club. “We have gone from collecting cans and bottles from outside our homes on Saturday mornings to watching children play football,” he said.

Southrepps had a football club as early as 1908 and its team once came runners-up in the East Anglia League Second Division. The club moved to Northrepps in search of better facilities in the 1990s and disbanded shortly after that.

It was relaunched earlier this year with some of the proceeds of the village fair. Ongoing sponsorship for both teams is provided by The Vernon Arms in Southrepps. Childen aged from seven to 12-years-old currently train with the juniors at Southrepps Recreation Ground every Saturday from 10am. The seniors meet in Cromer on Thursdays from 7pm.

Ted Bird, who is now in his 70s, joined the Southrepps team in 1948.

He said: “From Wednesday onward I would look forward to playing on Saturday. It was the highlight of my week. We didn’t have training sessions like they do now. We would just turn up and play. Cycling to work was my training.”

Mr Bird played for 27 seasons and was the captain when they took on Norwich Liberal during the final of the Norfolk Primary Cup at Norwich City ground Carrow Road in 1958.

He added: “Playing at Carrow Road was an experience. We lost 2:1. The ball bounced a lot higher there and we weren’t prepared for it. I think the other team had been practising on a car park to get used to it.”

Mr Bird is backing the new generation of players and is a member of the club’s committee. He also cuts the pitch at the recreation ground.

The football club now needs to raise £75,000 to build changing rooms for two teams to meet the requirements of the Football Association and be allowed compete in the North East Norfolk League.

Contact chairman Pam McCabe on 01263 833388 for information about the club or to support its fundraising efforts.

1 comment

  • Good news that a community activity like this is being rejuvenated. Now, as soon as a team is put together perhaps Mr Bird will send them up to Norwich to play for City - which on present form gives us a better chance to stay in the Premiership.

    Report this comment

    Shirley Scott

    Sunday, September 30, 2012

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