Wymondham football club names a new president

Ian Gibson

Ian Gibson - Credit: vÉÄövǬ©Archant Pho

Ex-politician and scientist Dr Ian Gibson has become the new president of Wymondham Town Football Club.

Dr Gibson, 77, has succeeded Les King in the role, who died in February this year.

The former Labour MP for Norwich North said he was delighted with the appointment.

He said: 'I'm very pleased to take on the mantle of Les King.

'Football is my passion and I have known the club for many years and I know of the problems it faces.'


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Dr Gibson, originally from Dumfries in Scotland, joined the football club soon after he moved to Norfolk in 1965 to work as a scientist at the University of East Anglia.

He was later dean of biology at the UEA and led a research group investigating cancer.

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Dr Gibson went on to become the Norwich North MP from 1997 to 2009.

He is also a vice-president of the Norfolk Schools Football Association, and used to coach a cross-parliamentary football team.

Dr Gibson said travelling across Norfolk with Wymondham Town to play other teams had given him a love of the county and amateur football.

He said: 'Playing amateur football you can learn skills and make friends, and you never quite get away from the contacts you make and the fun you have.

'Clubs like Wymondham Town are part of the community and they draw people together.

'Amateur football is a great thing in Norfolk and it's sad to see lots of clubs folding because they are being priced out of it now.'

Dr Gibson, a former team captain, said he was a keen supporter of women's football, and was looking forward to seeing Wymondham Town's women's team in action.

He said good coaching was the key to building football skills and first-rate teams.

'Coaching is so important – to be able to play with both feet, to play with passion and at your best,' he said.

A statement from the football club's board said: 'We are extremely happy and honoured that he has accepted the invitation.

'We believe as a former Wymondham Town captain and influential figure within the Norfolk area that Dr Gibson will be a fantastic president of one of the oldest clubs in the country and we hope everyone will give him their utmost support as we strive to keep the club alive for future generations within the town.'

The full statement from the board of the football club

The board of Wymondham Town Football Club would like to announce the appointment of a new president of the club. Everyone in Wymondham and the club were obviously very saddened at the passing of our late life president Les King who had been life president for a great number of years and was without doubt a Wymondham and Norfolk legend.

The board have invited former government cabinet minister, MP and former captain of Wymondham Town Football Club Dr Ian Gibson to become the football club's next president and we are extremely happy and honoured that he has accepted the invitation.

It is without doubt a very difficult time for the club.

The current board over the past two years have rescued the club from becoming just a memory and feature of Wymondham Heritage Museum after years of financial mismanagement.

The club is completely self funding and has to maintain the entire area of the King's Head Meadow at its own expense for the use of the public.

Many residents think the council maintain, seed, cut and look after the meadow but this is all done at the expense of the football club.

The King's Head Meadow is the only adult football pitch left in Wymondham available for hire.

The club has additional teams which wish to play for Wymondham Town next season above the four sides we currently field in a men's first team and reserves on a Saturday and an under 19 side and ladies team on a Sunday.

There is now a veterans team that wish to play along with a ladies reserve side and a men's A team. This cannot obviously be facilitated on one pitch at the King's Head Meadow.

The club undoubtedly needs to find a piece of land within the Wymondham area on which two football pitches and a training area could be facilitated. The current board will be doing all it can in terms of FA, Sport England and lottery funding to secure the future of Wymondham Town Football Club for future generations.

We believe as a former Wymondham Town captain and influential figure within the Norfolk area that Dr Gibson will be a fantastic president of one of the oldest clubs in the country and we hope everyone will give him their utmost support as we strive to keep the club alive for future generations within the town.

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