Sudbury's tres amigos ready for final

A TRIO of lifelong friends who have loyally followed their football team for more than 50 years are preparing for one of the biggest days of their lives.

A TRIO of lifelong friends who have loyally followed their football team for more than 50 years are preparing for one of the biggest days of their lives.

After meeting at Sudbury's former North Street Primary School in the early 1950s Terry Watson, Dave King and former EADT journalist Alan Cocksedge, have met regularly to follow their side all over the country.

The die-hard fans began supporting the Sudbury Town side but have switched allegiance after the team merged with former rivals Wanderers four years ago to form AFC Sudbury.

They have now all brought yellow wigs which they are preparing to wear when AFC run out against Brigg Town on Saturday.

The day will mark one of the highlights in the fan's lives, affectionately nick-named Compo, Foggy and Clegg, after the characters from the BBC's Last of the Summer Wine.

Mr Cocksedge said: "We have all been going to the games since we were around ten years old and during that time we have followed the team all over the country. We have travelled as far north as Durham and as far south as Exmouth.

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"We started following Sudbury Town since the early 1950s, but now we support AFC because they are the new town team."

When they first started following the side Sudbury Town played in Friars Street, at what is now the cricket club. In 1953 the fans followed the club to its new ground, The Priory, where they played until four years ago.

Over the years they point to three occasions as being the most memorable.

In the early 1950s all three witnessed Sudbury win the Suffolk Senior Cup for the first time, amazingly it was the team's seventh appearance in the final but its only victory.

Wind the clock forward 40 years and the trio recall the occasion when Sudbury Town knocked Division Three Brighton and Hove Albion out of the 1996 FA Cup on penalties at the Goldstone Ground.

The most memorable occasion for the trio was supporting the Town side at Wembley for the 1989 Vase Final. Although the team only managed a draw before losing the replay it is one of their finest memories.

Mr Cocksedge added: "Going to Wembley was an amazing experience, it was a magical time. The 26,000 crowd is an all-time record for an FA Vase tie and will probably never be beaten. The town was alight for two months leading up to that game and it will be something we will never forget. Although AFC hasn't got the same tradition as the old Town team is definitely moving in the right direction. Once again there is a good buzz in the town and in some ways just as exciting as the last final because this is a new team and we hope we can we it this time."

The friends will be travelling Upton Park with a coach load of Sudbury supporters

Mr King said: "We think AFC is just as important as the old Town team and we will be supporting them in the final just as passionately."

Mr Watson added: "It has been great supporting the teams over the years and seeing people you know everywhere. That is the nice thing about local football, there is a special bond and you see people you have known for many years."

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