Thurlow Nunn League preview: Downham Town’s relegation threat is lifted by the FA

Yarmouth, yellow, have a cup semi-final to look forward to this afternoon. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Yarmouth, yellow, have a cup semi-final to look forward to this afternoon. Picture: NICK BUTCHER - Credit: Nick Butcher

First Division club Downham Town will not be demoted – even if they fail to improve their ground before the FA's deadline.

Officials were told nine jobs had to completed before March 31 to fulfil a Category G ground-grading status and avoid the threat of relegation. But a statement from Wembley informed the club that they 'will retain their position at Step Six going forward' regardless of whether they pass the next inspection of their council-owned home or not.

Boss Bob Warby, whose side host league leaders Saffron Walden Town this afternoon, said: 'In my mind there was never a threat. The work would have been done even if I had to do it myself. I wasn't losing any sleep over it.

'The board had it all under control. And the nice thing was when that story ran last week I had pretty much every single player texting me saying 'we'll help out'. One lad even offered to put £500 in. That's the spirit that we've got at Downham.'

Town will, however, not be permitted to enter the FA Vase again next season if the work is not undertaken.

You may also want to watch:

So Warby is keen to still roll up his sleeves on March 14 – the planned date to get the Memorial Ground up to scratch.

He added: 'The Vase is the one thing I mentioned when I came down to the interview (for the job, in November). It's something I want us to get back into.

Most Read

'The ground developments to my mind, and I might be being naive, are minor. Again, I won't lie, I'll be disappointed if we can't enter the Vase next season because of it.

'I'll personally be doing everything I can to make sure it's all done in time because in fairness the lads deserve that little bit of reward at the end of the season.'

The off-the-pitch news comes as a huge boost to the perennial strugglers, 10th, who are enjoying one of their best seasons in the Eastern Counties set-up in recent years.

A Thurlow Nunn League spokesman said: 'The league is pleased that both clubs (March were also involved), that are long-standing members of the competition, have now been given the time to effect the necessary changes and hopefully move forward in a much stronger position.'

Downham's title-challenging rivals Swaffham Town, third, are also in action today when they host Leiston Reserves.

King's Lynn Town's second-string entertain their Needham Market counterparts.

Dereham Town Reserves welcome Stowmarket Town while Great Yarmouth Town are at home to Halstead Town in the First Division Knockout Cup semi-final.

In the Premier Division, Fakenham Town welcome Stanway Rovers, Gorleston host Godmanchester Rovers, Kirkley & Pakefield entertain FC Clacton and Norwich United open their doors to Haverhill Rovers.

To hear the full interview with Warby listen to West Norfolk Sports Podcast episode 56 at

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus