Whitton’s promotion dreams rest with rivals
Whitton United’s dreams of returning to the Ridgeons League Premier Division will rest in the hands of their rivals.
The club, who finished second in Division One, are set to complete work on a new stand with weeks to spare after they were granted an extension by the league management committee.
But promotion won’t be sealed until the Ridgeons League annual general meeting next month when all clubs in both divisions will vote on whether Whitton should be allowed back up – two-and-a-half years after the then-cash-strapped club controversially withdrew from the top league midway through the season.
United chairman Ruel Fox, and club secretary Phil Pemberton, made an impassioned plea to the league committee who voted unanimously to allow Whitton back into the Premier Division – but the final say remains with each member club.
Fox said: “We just wanted to make it clear the differences between the last time we got promoted and where we are now. Our finances are in a much better place and our football development has changed considerably with a greater emphasis on youth players coming through. We also want to bring Whitton more back into the community and get more groups into the football club.”
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Fox said he could understand clubs’ concerns, with some voting against Whitton returning to the Ridgeons League when they re-applied for status two seasons ago.
The chairman added: “We are hopeful of getting all the clubs’ support, but I can see both sides. What happened before was out of our hands, we had to make a decision to ensure there was still a football club at all. On the other hand, a lot of teams might feel they lost the chance to take points off us.”
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The thorny issue has placed a cloud over a fantastic season for Whitton, which saw them finish second in Division One and win the Suffolk Senior Cup final at Portman Road.
Ridgeons League secretary, Nigel Spurling, said the club had given an “excellent presentation” at the management committee meeting where members gave their backing to Whitton’s promotion. But the ultimate decision would be made by clubs at the annual general meeting on June 25.