Welcome to Felixstowe & Walton United Football Club

Welcome to the Seasider’s official website 2017/18.

2016 was the dawn of a new era for the club, an ever growing youth section, the first sod being turned and the first brick being laid for our new home.

The building of the clubhouse which we now call home was a long time in the planning & construction and it was all done with one objective, to take our club and all its teams, both senior and junior, to a better place on the football map!

Hopefully 2017/18 will see us consolidate our place and go from strength to strength.

Join us on the Journey, bring a friend, there’s room for everyone!

webmaster@felixstowefootball.co.uk

 

 

 

NEW CLUBHOUSE/FACILITIES UPDATE

IMPORTANT INFORMATION UPDATE

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Thursday 27th July 2017

Statement regarding matchday ground access!

I am aware of some confusion over the matchday access into the ground on a First Team home game - disagreements over the decisions made, and even hostilities from a minority of people aimed at some members of the committee that has led to some club officials, myself included, questioning whether to continue at the football club, overshadowing what should be the most exciting period in the history of the club.

Therefore, I have decided to detail the reasoning behind the decisions, taking into account the challenges we faced with the new ground layout, the various options we had, the results of the test events and clarifying in detail the resulting matchday procedures.

Firstly, it’s important to remember where we have come from. A fenced off corner of a recreation ground, with a wide open entry gate and all the toilet, bar, changing rooms and kitchen facilities being located 40 yards away down a walkway. Clearly, moving all of those facilities to the side of the main pitch and fully enclosing the ground was going to be new for everybody, after decades of being used to the old way. 

It is also important to highlight the challenges we face, in terms of meeting FA requirements.

Felixstowe & Walton United’s senior side are part of the football league pyramid, playing at step 9 of the national game and step 5 of the non league game. We are several leagues above ‘park football’ and at each level of the pyramid there are ground grading requirements to compete at that level. In our case we currently have a GRADE F ground, and are working towards GRADE E, which is the grade required for clubs wishing to be promoted from Step 5 to Step 4.

These grades include the following ground rules amongst dozens of others:

The ground must give an overall appearance and impression of being a football ground suitable for the National League System. 

The ground must be enclosed by a permanent boundary, which will prevent individuals from viewing the game from outside the ground. 

There must be at least 2 spectator entrances to control the ingress of spectators. These must be controlled by fully operational turnstiles of the revolving type and must be suitably housed and lit.

Where deemed that they are likely to interfere with the playing of a match, ball games must not be played on adjoining pitches whilst a match is in progress. 

We are also obligated by membership of the Thurlow Nunn (Eastern Counties) League to charge admission to spectators to view the game, detailed here:

All League and Cup games shall have a minimum full, adult admission charge of £5 (although we have charged £6 for the last 5 years, comparable to other local clubs). Concessionary reductions are permitted. This entrance charge to the ground is the responsibility of the home Club and ALL spectators, other than League or Club officials of both teams who show a current League Pass, shall be charged accordingly.

In recognition of their dedication to the club, we grant complimentary entry to all club managers and coaches, but in terms of fairness to those who do pay the admission fee, we have a duty to charge the admission fee to all others wishing to view the game, although we are proud of the fact we are one of the few clubs at our level who give free entry to all children under the age of 16, and have done so for the last 9 years.

So, coming back to the decision process on the new ground layout and matchday access. We had to work out a system where we met all those requirements. Whichever option we went with, there were winners and losers, it was our job to find the best solution that worked for the vast majority, whilst also taking into account the simplest and best solution for the team of volunteers who have to administer the matchday procedures.

Initially, it was thought that we would keep a similar system to the old method, i.e. have the clubroom and bar open to all, with anyone wishing to view the match having to leave through the main doors and walk to the turnstile entry point to gain access to the enclosed ground. This meant keeping the patio doors on the pitchside of the clubroom locked, to prevent entry into the ground without paying or showing a relevant pass. The major stumbling block with this option was the fact that anyone, once inside the ground, couldn't then access the bar or clubroom, disadvantaging all those (with increased spectator participation predicted) who wish to purchase a drink, shelter, meet friends in the bar or view TV matches, at least until after half time when the pitchside clubroom doors would be opened again.

Another option was to keep all the doors open, main doors and pitchside clubroom and direct anyone from the clubroom back to the turnstiles, if they wanted to watch the game. This helped those who had entered the match to gain access back into the clubroom and bar, but logistically is incredibly complicated to police. Keeping track of every person coming both in and out of the pitchside doors and knowing if they have paid (or have a pass) would require tickets to be issued when coming through the turnstiles, having volunteers permanently manned by the pitchside doors, and potentially lead to confrontations when people were denied access back out into the ground in the event of lost tickets, or people not taking kindly to being able to sit outside or join their family and friends who have paid to enter the ground. At the Ipswich Town match, it was estimated that 80 spectators entered to watch the match without paying, not necessarily deliberately, but by walking up to the new main clubhouse entrance, coming through to the bar and then gaining access to the main pitch through the pitchside doors.

The 3rd option was to do what we have subsequently tried to establish. To ‘move’ the main doors over to the turnstiles/accessible gate entry point, 2 hours before kick off on a first team matchday. This meant closing the main clubroom door, and directing anyone wishing to gain access to the ground, bar or clubroom through the new entry point. By using this method, the pitchside doors could remain open throughout the period before and during the game, because we knew that everyone would have either paid the entry fee or shown a valid pass, or been exempted the fee. For the ‘foot soldiers’, the volunteers working on the ground, it was a simpler solution and it worked for the vast majority of the people at the football club. This is also the method used at every other club. Every away ground we go to has the same system, and it was important we took guidance from them, given this is all new to us, and obviously works for them.

However, there are some people who are disadvantaged by this system, namely those social club members who have paid their membership and wish to come up to the club on a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday evening and socialise and enjoy a drink, but do not want to view the match - something that was perfectly possible in the old pavilion 40 yards away from the main pitch. Personally, I felt that in effect, the football club are ‘hiring’ the facility from the social club in the period before and during the game, and therefore the bar and clubroom would be unavailable to social club members not wanting to view the match. Effectively, this is the same situation members would face if we hired the social club to any 3rd party. If a private party was booked on a Saturday evening we would have to inform the members that the club was unavailable to them, just as we did in the old pavilion. 

Early on in the discussions, it was decided that if the juniors were playing on Saturday morning and were still in the clubroom at 1pm when the ‘matchday entry system’ was put into effect, they would be allowed to stay in the club. Despite suggestions to the contrary, nobody was being ‘locked in or locked out’, although those present would still be asked to either pay the admission fee, or show a pass, if they subsequently stayed and wanted to watch the match outside. Anyone leaving the clubroom to go home would have to go out through one of the 2 ground exits, rather than through the main clubroom doors.

Some confusion still exists for those who are social club members, wanting to use the bar on a matchday not wanting to watch the game. So for clarity, social club members wishing to do this can show their membership card to the steward on the accessible gate adjacent to the turnstile building, who will then grant access in to the enclosed ground, and direct them round to the clubroom. The club is trusting that these members will not exploit this, and subsequently watch the match (that don’t forget we have an obligation to charge for), they must stay in the clubroom. On Saturday a couple of members were admitted this way saying they just wanted a drink and didn't want to watch the match, and were then observed a few minutes later sat in the stand watching the game. Clearly this isn't fair on the club, or all those who have gained admission legitimately. The club will monitor this relaxing of the entry rules for members, and if the membership is being abused in this way, we will review the system and if widespread, may withdraw the privilege, and/or revoke the membership of those not adhering to our rules.

To confirm, for any other senior match that has an admission charge, such as Reserves, Under 18’s and Ipswich Town Ladies fixtures, the turnstiles will not be in use. The main club doors will be open and we will have a ‘gateman’ on the pitchside patio doors to take the admission fee as spectators exit the clubroom and enter the main pitch surrounds. Again, we will monitor this and if it is found not to work we will review, and may implement the same system used for first team matchdays.

It has also been alleged that decisions have been made without consultation. The club committee is open for anyone to join and have their say in the decision making process. Every single committee member has the opportunity to have their say, whether they agree with each other or not, and then a majority decision is made, hopefully in the best interests of the club in what it is trying to achieve. Nobody is setting out to be anti-junior, or anti-members or anti-anything! We are pro-whole-club! 

In this specific case, the matchday volunteer team had a de-brief session after the Ipswich game (the first fixture in our new ground layout) to look at what worked and what didn't work, coming up with some solutions that the majority thought would work. The options detailed above were then put to the wider committee/s to vote and the majority decision was implemented, i.e. the system of moving the matchday entrance to the turnstiles. Admittedly some don’t agree with the decision, but hopefully in a few matches time when everyone is used to the new system, and with a few tweaks along the way (like the entry to members to the bar) we will find it is the best way forward for 99.9% of us (you'll never please everyone). On the plus side, many comments have been received about the ground finally feeling like a ‘proper’ football ground rather than a fenced off pitch. Unfortunately, as I said at the beginning (if you're still with me!) some negative criticism is driving a wedge between people in the club.

Another couple of contentious issues are, balls being brought into the enclosed ground, and people being allowed onto the main pitch to play before, at half time, and after a game. Like any other football ground from Old Trafford to AFC Sudbury, clubs have these rules. We have always had these rules too, but perhaps they have not been enforced as they should have been, leading to it becoming the norm. The club took the opportunity of instigating the new ground layout to come up with a set of ground regulations that clearly stated the behavioural standards expected at the ground, for the benefit of all users. These have been available on the website for a couple of weeks and have been distributed via the newsletter, social media and with signage at entry points into the ground. 

Spectator balls are not allowed into the enclosed ground. On many occasions, balls have entered the field of play during a game or have even hit other spectators. 

Nobody is allowed onto the field of play without permission. The main pitch is used by 6 teams this coming season - U15 EJA, U16 EJA, Ipswich Town Ladies, Under 18’s, Reserves and First Team. Clearly, this puts a strain on the surface, and it is in everybody’s interests to protect the pitch as much as possible, to avoid postponements later in the season. 

We urge you to adhere to these rules, and not argue with our volunteer stewards when requesting people to come off the playing surface. It has been suggested that a couple of children won’t do any damage, but if we let two on, it’s giving license to everyone to then go on and play. 

This is a new, exciting time for the Seasiders, on and off the pitch. Although causing some teething problems, the new building gives the club a future it wouldn't have had in the old pavilion. The junior section is thriving, membership is increasing, the club is receiving publicity and capturing the imagination of the Town, like it has never done before.

Season ticket sales have been exceptional for a club at our level, first team matchdays are thriving social events, with crowds doubling, and probably doubling again this season. We are set up to progress through the divisions (bringing in stricter ground grading conditions!), providing a pathway for the current children and future generations to represent the club. We haven’t built these facilities for the first team - although clearly the first team at any one time in history is the side that has to adhere to the strictest FA guidelines - we have built them for the children of today and tomorrow. Without it, the current U12’s for instance, would not have had a club to play at in three or four years’ time when the old pavilion would have been condemned. The reality is, without a senior set up, there wouldn’t be a junior set up, that’s why we all need to focus on the positives - not find fault in every decision made, and work together to build a bright future for Felixstowe & Walton United Football Club. Remember the old saying…… 22 teams, ONE club… Stronger, together! 

Regards

Chris Daynes

Facilities Manager

Felixstowe & Walton United FC

Posted 3pm 27/07/2017

 

FULL FACILITIES OPENING DETAILS

Club Officially open pitchside facilities

Sunday 9th July

The day some thought would never happen finally arrived when David Sheepshanks CBE DL, Chairman of St Georges Park, home of England football, pulled back the curtain to reveal a brass plaque marking the occasion in front of around 100 invited guests to say ‘This facility is now officially open!’

He was accompanied by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey who has been a strong supporter of the project and the club throughout the last two years, helping to raise funds & the clubs profile in the wider community & it marked the culmination of countless hours spent by volunteers working hard over many years to make it happen.

There were short speeches from club president Dave Ashford, chairman Andy Wilding, Therese Coffey, David Sheepshanks and the man who the club have to thank most of all Chris Daynes, having overseen the fundraising and having spent almost every day at what was for 12 months, a building site, seeing the project through, Chris spoke from the heart about a club he loves and his pride in what had been achieved.

      

         A photo opportunity caught by Steve Waller shortly after the ceremony

 

Invited guests & club committee members gather outside for the official opening

(Left) Dr Therese Coffey MP gives a short speech before the official opening

(Right) L-R David Ashford (Club President) David Rose (Football Foundation) Mrs Newman, Graham Newman (Deputy Mayor), David Sheepshanks CBE DL, Andy Wilding (Club Chairman), Dr Therese Coffey (MP), Phil Lawler (Chairman Suffolk FA)

Left - Right & Below - David Sheepshanks CBE DL, Officially declares the new facility open and reveals plaque to mark the occasion.

 

                        

Facilities Manager Chris Daynes who spent a year on site during the build with David Sheepshanks CBE DL. 

 

Big Thanks to Steve Waller our photographer who offered his services free of charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The club have announced that the ‘Official’ opening of the new clubhouse facility will take place on Saturday 8th July 2017. There will be invited guests and dignitaries at the opening, including many of those who have worked closely with the club over the past two years to raise the £528,000 needed to build the complex.

The club are also extremely pleased to announce that the official ribbon cutting ceremony will be carried out by Mr David Sheepshanks CBE DL, a friend of The Seasiders for many years, supporting the club at many of its functions, including the annual Suffolk Sportsman’s dinner.

Mr Sheepshanks is the founding and current Chairman of the St George’s Park National Football Centre and a former Chairman of Ipswich Town FC and The Football League, the club are very proud to have him as the chief guest at the opening.

Following the official opening the ‘New’ turnstiles will open to let in the general public and Seasider supporters to watch a match between Felixstowe & Walton United and Ipswich Town Under 23’s with a 4pm kick-off to officially christen the whole of the new facilities.

The full facilities will be open and available to the general public from 3pm onwards, including bar, Kitchen and clubroom. With this been a representative match, season tickets will not be valid for the game but entry via the turnstiles will be at the usual price of £6.00 adults, £3.00 concessions, under 16's go free with the club maintaining the admission levels of 2016/17 for the new season.

More info on this to follow …..

 

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CLUB BAR OPENS

Updated Sunday 28th May 2017 5pm

The date for the diary finally arrived as Chris Daynes fired up the BBQ and opened the New Clubhouse bar for the very first time. There were winners and losers on the day, anyone supporting Arsenal got to see the game on three screens and those supporting Chelski suffered on the same three screens.

The sun came out, the BBQ was good, the beer went down easy, so all in all it was a pretty good day all round. The object of the excercise was to test out the various bits and pieces like taps, hand dryers, beer pumps etc. and they all appeared to work, one little glitch when the power went off, but that was quickly restored and the 100 or so who visited over the afternoon appeared to have a good time.

Watch out for the next event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE ARE GOING TO OPEN!

Yes you read it correctly

Updated 3pm Monday 22nd May 2017

You know when you go on holiday to the seaside (although that probably doesn’t apply to the majority reading this) and you dip your toe in the water to test the temperature?

Well, IT’S HERE!

On Saturday (27th), metaphorically speaking, Chris Daynes is going to put his toe, foot, whole body and nervous system into the water by opening the new clubroom for the very first time!

First & foremost this will be a TEST event, and it just so happens the FA Cup Final is on the telly, so what better way to test run the building than have an opening afternoon with a bit of interest and entertainment thrown in!

THERE WILL BE A MAXIMUM OF 100 PEOPLE, AND IT WILL BE ON A BASIS OF FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED - NOT AT THE DOOR, BUT BY CONTACTING CHRIS DAYNES AND BOOKING YOUR PLACE. IT WILL ALSO BE RESTRICTED TO MEMBERS OF

The Felixstowe & Walton United Community Club

Bookings-

Email:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call/text: 07415 886803

Names will be checked against the registered members book.

 

There will be an ‘All you can eat’ BBQ

Doors open 3pm, BBQ served from 4pm, kick off 5.30pm. Closing time is 10pm.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION – RULES ARE RULES

We will only receive the keys on Friday afternoon and will spend Saturday, up until 3pm, stocking and preparing the new building.

The limit is in place due to the fact we won't have tested any of the building functionalities beforehand, which will be in public use.

It's also important to remember that the external surrounds of the new clubhouse are still making the transition from being a building site, and work is continuing on fencing, seeding and other ground improvements. Many hazards remain outside – therefore, apart from a small paved area set aside for the BBQ, NO OUTSIDE areas will be in use.

Footballs will NOT be permitted onto the site, and children must be supervised at all times and stay INSIDE the building.

Members must agree to these restrictions when booking and adhere to them. By mid-July, the whole site will be available, but until then the restrictions will be strictly enforced.

This test event is available to current members only, and membership cards must be shown to gain entry. You are advised to book asap. As soon as the 100 places are taken we are unable to allow anyone else to attend.

Come and be the first to see the new bar and clubroom, watch the Cup Final and eat as much BBQ as you like (or until it's all gone!) for £5 a head, payable on the day. Tickets will be issued to exchange for food at the BBQ.

Please bear with us while we settle in and find our feet. Your understanding will be appreciated if there are teething problems. That's what these tests events are all about!

 

Whoever draws the long/short straw gets to view this from the kitchen hatch where 'Burgers' will be served, wonder if we will get any willing workers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 7th May 2017

The Pub’s got no Beer!

Cricket Pavilion Bar Closes for Last Time

Director of Football Tony Barnes pulled the last pint in the old Cricket Pavilion on Sunday afternoon (7th May 2016) as the club said it’s last goodbye to its home of the last 40 years.

There will be a quick (ish) changeover from the bar in the old Pavilion to the purpose built bar in the new clubhouse in time for Thursday’s First event in the new building.

The final session ended in disappointment for Ipswich Town fans as they watched their side lose at Nottingham Forest but rounded off a busy final weekend with the junior presentation day having attracted several hundred visitors on Saturday!

That's All Folk's!

 

 

Thursday 4th May 2017

RECOGNITION FOR CHRIS DAYNES

CIVIC AWARDS 2017

Chris Daynes Hard Work Recognised at Civic Awards 2017

Chris Daynes, the club Facilities Manager at our new Clubhouse which is due to open later this month was amongst the guests to receive recognition for his work over the last 18 months in helping to raise funds for the new facility.

He received his certificate  

Mayors Award for outstanding community service to the town of Felixstowe"

Pictured left to right Roy Gray, Mayor Jan Garfield, Chris Daynes

At an awards evening held in the town council offices on Wednesday 3rd May, along with several other award winners, presented by the Mayor, Councillor Jan Garfield.

The certificate was awarded to Chris after being nominated by Roy Gray a former secretary of the club back in the 1970’s for his unstinting efforts, not just in raising thousands of pounds for the new clubhouse, but for overseeing the project from day 1 when the first sod was dug to start the building project.

Above: The start of the Project. Above Right Chris and Brother Stuart during their fund-raising 92in92 tour!

Well done Chris, good to see recognition for all your hard work!

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Thursday 20th April 2017

UPDATED INFORMATION

0900Hrs 20-04-2017

IF, the schedule remains on track for the final week or so, and there is always an IF in capital letters, then the contractors are due to handover the completed clubhouse next week on the 28th April.

BUT, and there is always a BUT, sadly this does not mean work on the structure is complete, neither inside or out and work will continue for a couple of weeks into May.

Chris Daynes who has overseen and monitored the build from first sod being dug through to what is so nearly completion, is not being negative when he says "It’s a case of wait and see” when talking about events that were scheduled for the new clubhouse. Too often so far he has seen the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter, only for someone to throw the dimmer switch and extend the final handover date, on ‘several’ occasions.

Here is what this all actually means as at 0900Hrs Thursday 20th April 2017

The remaining home senior games will be hosted in the existing Pavilion; this includes the final first team match against Newmarket Town (3pm Saturday 29th April 2017)

The ‘Dutch’ weekend will also be hosted in the existing clubhouse, although the Viz-Currey match & tournament will still be played on the main pitch!

MUSIC ON THE PITCH

Scheduled for May Bank Holiday Monday 1st May, this has now been postponed. This will mean a new licence being applied for with a new proposed date of Sunday July 30th.

JUNIOR PRESENTATION & FUN DAY

With this event scheduled for Saturday 6th May, it is too early to determine if the event will be in the existing or NEW clubhouse.

Points to note over the next couple of weeks that might/will effect usage and availability  

Our supplier and bar sponsor Greene King will be removing all bar and cellar equipment from the current clubhouse as from the middle of next week (24th-28th April). A consequence of this will be that the club will be unable to sell draught beers from the current clubhouse after this date (28th April 2017). This means that only bottles and cans will be on sale for the remaining matches, including the Dutch weekend.

The ‘current’ clubhouse will be completely out of action next midweek April 24th-28th) as at times there will be no water or power available as preparations are made for the re-direction of services. Access to the main pitch and training areas may also be limited due to final groundworks to 'link up' the new building.

IMPORTANT – IMPORTANT – IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT

It is crucial that Chris Daynes, BEFORE the event, is contacted by any person or teams wishing to use ANY areas of the ground, so Chris can let you know if it is available.

 

 

 

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