Framlingham to honour Syd's half century

“IF you make a commitment you have to stick to it,” says Framlingham Town stalwart Syd Vice, who celebrates 50 years with the club tomorrow night.

Elvin King

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

“IF you make a commitment you have to stick to it,” says Framlingham Town stalwart Syd Vice, who celebrates 50 years with the club tomorrow night.


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The Framlingham Charity Cup match against Ridgeons League neighbours Leiston (kick-off 7.45pm) will be dedicated to Syd, who is a life vice president of the Metaltec SIL Senior Division club.

Syd will nominate a charity that will benefit from the proceeds of the game.

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Tomorrow's festivities are not Syd's doing as he has never sought the limelight despite revolutionising football - and other sports - in his home town.

To illustrate the point Syd is the current holder of the unsung hero award which was presented to him at the Suffolk Sports Awards last year.

But, Framlingham Town are determined to mark his achievement, and in a rare detailed interview the 1991 recipient of the coveted SIL meritorious service award recalled his time serving football in the area.

Now 72, Syd played his first game as a 14-year-old for Glemham United in the now defunct Leiston League before playing a few games for Leiston second team.

A centre half, he admits that he played his best football while doing his national service representing the Royal Army Pay Corps in the Army Cup final in 1955 and playing with notable professionals like former Chelsea winger Frank Blunstone.

“I was a sergeant instructor and put newcomers through their paces on the parade ground,” recalled Syd. “I was a horrible man for a while in my life.”

Following an operation on his ankle after his release from the army he played a few games for Badingham before joining Framlingham Town in 1959.

Around that time he married Christine and she has also been involved with the club since 1962 and given him full support to maintain his 'hobby'.

Syd soon became a committee member and has since held virtually every post including manager, secretary, treasurer, vice-chairman and president.

He was the leading light as the Badingham Road ground was turned into what it is today - the envy of most clubs in the county.

“It has been such a transformation,” said Syd. “We now have facilities to match any club in eastern England.

“And I am also proud to have played a part in bringing youth football to Framlingham.

“I introduced it in the sixties when I saw the need to produce our own players and this has blossomed into a flourishing youth section with hundreds of kids being given a local platform to play.

“I have enjoyed seeing this develop more than anything.”

Part of the stand and changing room area at the ground has been named 'Syd's Place', which reflects his standing within the club.

“I have no regrets,” he added, although he has been left wondering where the club might be now if they had been accepted to the Ridgeons League when Mel Aldis led the first team to the SIL championship in 1992.

“Our changing rooms were too far from the pitch at the time,” deflects Syd. “We soon rectified that, but have not been in a position to look higher than the SIL since.

“I am sure we would have held our own, but it is history now and we have had to deal with what we had got.”

Winning the title, playing at Portman Road, beating a Nicholians team at the top of their game 1-0 and playing in front of 1,300 spectators against Woodbridge Town in the quarter-final of the Suffolk Senior Cup are highlights for Syd.

“I was going on holiday on the Saturday so as soon as I knew the cup draw I travelled to Woodbridge and arranged for the match to take place on Friday night,” explained Syd. “And it paid off with a bumper crowd.”

Typical of the man, he is keen to deflect attention and praise the work done by other Framingham stalwarts.

He said: “Fiona Whatling has been secretary since the sixties and her husband Keith has also been on the committee for many years. The club has some wonderful servants.”

Brian Parker, president of Framlingham Town, paid this tribute on behalf of the club. He said: “Our congratulations go to Sydney on reaching this milestone.

“We very much acknowledge his tremendous loyalty and dedication to Framlingham Town, and trust this celebration match against Leiston will show our appreciation for his very many achievements for the club, and that the day will prove a great success.

“He thoroughly deserves this honour and we hope he will be with us for a long while to come.”

.

IT is not just football that Syd Vice has championed in Framlingham. He has been involved with Framlingham Sports Club since 1960 and vice chairman since 1973.

Based at Badingham Road, the club supports football, tennis, croquet, running, swimming, hockey, archery and badminton with more expansion plans on the way.

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