Norwich football team Newsman Celtic FC become the ‘club without a pub’ after closure of the Earlham Arms

A forlorn team of Sunday league footballers is desperately seeking a new spiritual home after the demise of a much-loved local turned them into “the club without a pub”.

Newsman Celtic FC, from Division 3A of the Norwich and District Sunday League, spent years testing out various drinking venues before eventually finding their perfect post-match pub at the Earlham Arms.

So the players were horrified to hear of its unexpected closure last week, just five months after completing an extensive revamp.

Not only did the pub provide a cosy atmosphere to watch the afternoon kick-offs on TV, soothe the wounds from industrial-grade tackles and reminisce about “40-yard howitzers”.

But the mutual relationship was also cemented when the Earlham Arms became the team’s proud shirt sponsor.


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Now Newsman Celtic must hope another kindly publican will take pity on them if they are to avoid a bleak winter, bereft of beer, live Premiership games and rowdy bar-room banter.

Club manager Matt Colley, said: “We are just trying to find somewhere we can go after the match. A lot of the players have families and we don’t get the chance to do as much social stuff, where everyone can get a bit of leeway to watch the footy and have a couple of pints with their mates.

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“We were based in the Garden House for years, but when they got rid of Sky TV we moved to the York Tavern – but the same thing happened there.

“We shopped around until we found the Earlham Arms, which was a really nice boozer with good beers and a nice vibe. Out of the blue we heard it was closing. We didn’t see it coming at all.

“We have been talking through a few options in the city centre or the Golden Triangle, but most pubs already have a team attached to them – because everyone wants that on a Sunday.”

Mr Colley, 31, who works as a freelance editor, said the club could bring some considerable value to any pub which offered them a base.

“They are guaranteed to have anywhere between eight and 12 of us in there on a Sunday lunchtime, buying food and beer and giving the place a good vibe,” he said. “It would become our social hub. They are more than welcome to sponsor us as well, but the most important thing is having a place that feels like home.”

Newsman Celtic, which plays its home matches at Eaton Park, was formed in 1998 by Norfolk-based staff from various departments at Eastern Countries Newspapers, which was then the publisher of the Evening News.

The name reflected the ties with the company’s now-defunct Newsman Social Club.

David Powles, Newsman Celtic centre back and Evening News senior content editor, said: “As far as pubs are concerned you’d think it was the perfect offer. All we need is a good atmosphere, good drink and footy on the television and in return we promise to spend loads behind the bar after games and during club get-togethers.”

Any pubs interested in becoming the team’s new home can contact Matt Colley on matcolo@gmail.com or look up Newsman Celtic FC on Facebook.

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