Whitton are back from the dead
WHITTON United have come back from the dead to be included in the opening stages of the world's most glamorous football competition.The Ipswich-based side have no chance of getting to Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final next May, but by taking on United Counties League Daventry at King George V Field tomorrow they have achieved a significant goal.
WHITTON United have come back from the dead to be included in the opening stages of the world's most glamorous football competition.
The Ipswich-based side have no chance of getting to Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup final next May, but by taking on United Counties League Daventry at King George V Field tomorrow they have achieved a significant goal.
Forced to withdraw from the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League midway through last season because of a lack of suitable players, the club's very existence was in the balance.
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But with former Newcastle United, Tottenham and Norwich City winger Ruel Fox onboard as chairman they were allowed back into the league at First Division level - and then belatedly included in the FA Cup.
Manager Ian Brown was born on the Nacton side of town, but he has been living in Whitton for 20 years and his children have been schooled there.
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The club has done an enormous amount over the years to help the community by providing youngsters with an outlet for their energies, and Brown said: “I understand this; I am an adoptive son of Whitton.
“It is great for the club to be playing again at first-team level and with a squad that regularly includes up to nine teenagers.
“We have set no targets, just to look back next May and see that we have made progress.
“The league is more important to us, but the FA Cup gives us different opposition and a chance to see some different players in action.
“We have another game on Tuesday and I don't want to overplay my youngsters. I will be maximising my squad.”
Neil Shade is Brown's assistant manager/player while defender Sean Bell is currently adding his experience, and Darcy De'Ath and Anton Clarke are also an influence to the youngsters.
“We have started the club again and we are moving in the right direction,” added Brown, who named a number of others who are playing their part in Whitton's recovery - Lucky and Jo Singh, Neil and Debbie Page, Paul and Tracey Last, Tommy Woodward, Ian Hart and John Green.
Village side Walsham-le-Willows have already beaten fancied Leiston and CRC in the Premier Division of the Ridgeons League, and this is a feat that shows the managerial abilities of their manager Paul Smith.
Tomorrow they face another Ridgeons tip for the top - Kirkley - in the FA Cup and it would be a brave man to write off homely Walsham's chances.
Hadleigh United face a 260-mile round trip to play Long Buckby with new manager Peter Grant hoping that the Millfield-based side's FA Cup luck changes.
They have only won one game in the competition since being first accepted in 1995/96.
This was during Scott Clarke's time in charge when they beat Southall at home 1-0 in their opening game 14 years ago. Since then they have lost eight successive FA Cup matches.
Felixstowe and Walton United have a tough trip to Needham Market with same league ties never having the same appeal as games against 'foreign' opposition.
Stowmarket Town are looking to bolster their image this campaign, and nothing would achieve this more than a cup run. An unlikely win over Mildenhall tomorrow would keep that hope alive.