Hoping for a happy birthday

EVENING NEWS NORWICH SUNDAY LEAGUE: Tomorrow sees the start of another season - the Sunday League's 50th year of recognised football by the County FA.

TOMORROW sees the start of another season - the Sunday League's 50th year of recognised football by the County FA.

Previous to that football was being played by Sunday clubs on a friendly basis - one of them I can proudly mention being a club I was secretary and captain of Culley and Co (Accountants) who in fact was one of the first clubs to play in the County Senior Cup 1960/61 at Carrow Road, we beat Unity FC by 4-2, a proud moment.

At the start of promoting Sunday football we had two divisions so you can see we have progressed to be one of the largest leagues in the county.

Sadly, running football is not the same, in my annual report at the league's annual general meeting I pointed out that the 2007/08 season was the worst since I have been secretary, some 28 years ago.

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Withdrawals, discipline of clubs, money problems within clubs made it a difficult time for all concerned.

Well, the start of the 2008/09 season tells the same story, in my report last week six had already withdrawn, during the last week another has called it a day, Division 4A

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Mulbarton Wanderers have dropped out, they came into the league saying they had a number of teams in youth football but wanted, when they became of age, to progress in grown up football.

I am told they cannot get the players to play which meant they had to withdraw.

Attitude has changed with players wanting to do other things or in some cases nothing at all, Saturday leagues have also suffered so we are all in the same boat.

The annoying thing within the Sunday League is that while these seven clubs have withdrawn the interviews we carried out at the end of May were with 11 applicants for six places, so in fact we turned away five clubs.

Moving on to an important item, respect to referees at all times.

Enough has been seen on television regarding professional football and the respect to referees and from the FA carried through by the Norfolk FA to Saturday, Sunday or football in general that we must show respect to referees, of course everyone is not perfect so mistakes are made during the game in decisions made but the same goes to players in missing goals, concerning goals and bad passing.

So the message to all clubs, show respect to the referee, it is a difficult job.

The County FA are holding a league's respect meeting during the past week, too late for these notes to report on.

So come on clubs, players and officials, let's make it work so everyone including the referee can enjoy their Sunday morning, it is a team game, not only with the two clubs facing each other but also the referee.

I would like to point out certain items which would help all concerned, change of names from last season.

Premier Division: Rosary Rams are now Bertrams United, Delaneys are now Doghouse, Eaton Beehive are now Unthank Arms.

Division 2A: Norwich Union are now AFC Norwich.

Division 4A: Mitre are now Bowthorpe Athletic.

Division 4B: Royal Oak are now AFC Oak.

Change of grounds.

Division 1A: Champion, Sloughbottom.

Division 1B: Prince of Denmark, Hewett School, Manor Park, Bayer Social Club, Marlpit Lane.

Division 2A: AFC Norwich, Thorpe High School.

Division 3B: PL Rangers, Anglian Windows, Cromer Road, Norwich.

Division 4B: AFC Oak, Cringleford.

I, on behalf of the Sunday League, wish you all players, club officials, referees and spectators an enjoyable season, let's try and make it a good one.

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