Suffolk's rise there for all to see

SUFFOLK rules the East Anglian soccer world.Not only on the professional scene, where Ipswich Town have control, but also on the non-league circuit where half the sides (11) in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League are from the county.

Elvin King

SUFFOLK rules the East Anglian soccer world.

Not only on the professional scene, where Ipswich Town have control, but also on the non-league circuit where half the sides (11) in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League are from the county.

And with Whitton United and Team Bury due to have their places confirmed in the First Division at tomorrow's league annual general meeting at Diss Town, 18 of the 41 members teams will come from Suffolk.


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Norfolk comes a poor second with 11 while Essex will have six, Cambridgeshire five and Huntingdonshire one.

Nigel Spurling, the Ipswich-based secretary of the Ridgeons League, said: “The strength of Suffolk football is there for all to see.

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“And when you take into account the fact that AFC Sudbury, Bury Town and now Lowestoft Town are playing in higher leagues it only adds weight to the argument.”

The most controversial decision to be made tomorrow is whether to accept Whitton United back into the fold after they withdrew from the Premier Division midway through last term.

Spurling is confident they will get enough votes of support from members clubs. He explained: “Our management committee met Whitton chairman Ruel Fox, secretary Phil Pemberton and committee member Jeff Crane and were happy with what they heard.

“We will be recommending their acceptance, along with Team Bury, who reached the necessary footballing qualifications in the Border League.

“There will be thoughts that they are effectively the Bury Town second team, but CRC, who are connected with Cambridge United, have proved the benchmark by fielding youngsters playing enterprising football and finishing second in our top flight.

“We have every reason to believe that Team Bury will function in a similar way.”

There will be no change in having 22 clubs in the Premier Division while, if the two newcomers are elected, there will be 19 in the First Division - a reduction of one.

Lowestoft (now Ryman League) and Tiptree United (now Essex Senior League) have moved away since last term while effectively only Whitton were 'relegated' from the top flight.

Three Suffolk club have moved up in Newmarket Town, Hadleigh United and Debenham Leisure Centre, with the league able to announce a new two-year deal with Ridgeons Building Supplies that ties up the main league sponsorship until June 2011.

A history of the Ridgeons League is to be published next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the forming of the league in 1935.

Much of the work has already been completed, and the data will go up to the end of the coming season.

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