Chairman Cole is so happy to see Bungay Town back in the headlines on Non-League Day
- Credit: Nick Butcher
GAVIN CANEY helps shine the spotlight on one of our area's most media savvy clubs, Bungay Town, as they – and many of their rivals – prepare to enjoy Non-League Day.
It's hard to stay out of the spotlight when you play your football at the top level of the English system.
You can't imagine Manchester City feeling the need to raise their profile by offering a punnet of mushrooms to every paying supporter or handing over 5p to each fan that walks into the Etihad on a matchday. For a start, neither would be the cheapest of exercises – not that money is the issue.
But more importantly there would be no need. Because as long as there is Premier League gold on offer, fans will simply keep pouring money into the coffers of Sheik Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's play thing.
The same cannot be said for cash-strapped clubs who are forced to scrap for every penny in the semi-professional pyramid.
The further you go down the pyramid, or ladder, the worse the situation becomes.
Volunteers drive organisations forward with an emphasis on community and youth development – a far cry from those right at the top of the tree.
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What Bungay Town – who compete 11 levels below Manuel Pelligrini's top-flight title hopefuls – lack in financial muscle they more than make up for in determination and ingenious ideas that help them punch well above their weight.
For it is they who have hogged the Non-League Day headlines over the past couple of years for offering a cash incentive and then a helping of tasty fungus to supporters.
And even though during today's 2015 part-time and grassroots showcase they are keeping it simple by doing exactly the same as they do every Saturday (ie, nothing different) it's still done the trick.
Chairman Shaun Cole, inset, said: 'I love Non-League Day, it's a great chance for clubs like us who play at the eighth level of non-league football to take on the big boys in the semi-pro game, not on the pitch but in the media.
'I see a lot of clubs complain that they don't get attention but if a club that plays at the second level of the Anglian Combination make the national press then surely anyone can. Just be a bit creative in what you do.'
The Bungay chief is rightly proud of the spotlight that has been directed towards Maltings Meadow during the yearly event – run in conjunction with this weekend's international break. But he's more delighted at the way his beloved Suffolk club continues to grow in size and stature.
'Jon Fuller (former chairman) is really the brains, heart and soul of Bungay Town.
'He has secured well over a million pounds of funding over the last 10 years and the club in its current form wouldn't exist without him,' said Cole.
'His hard work has paid off though. I doubt many towns in the country can match the participation rate that we have and I'd like to think the youngsters of Bungay are more likely to lead a healthier lifestyle as a direct result of the funding Jon has obtained.
'Jon's wife Marilyn has also done a huge amount for the club in her own right. In addition to running our bar and catering she is also our child welfare officer and has a host of other jobs.
'I feel incredibly proud of the amount of people that play for us at all ages.
'This year we are running an incredible 25 teams from a town with a little over 5,000 people.'
They will never scale the heights of Man City, but it's clear to see Bungay have some lofty ambitions.
- See today's Pink Un for more on the delights of Bungay and all your latest non-league news.