To The Manor Born

Grosvenor Vale is about as far from the Premier League as most people could imagine. The pitch there is surrounded with a wooden picket fence that harks back to a long-forgotten era and the club that uses it, Ruislip Manor has a long (if inglorious) history. Their neighbours Wealdstone are former non-league giants who found themselves homeless through a mixture of underhand dealing and exceptionally bad luck. Now, however, one of them faces closure and the other faces the possibility of (largely unfairly) being labelled a “club killer”. How the fate of these two clubs became intertwined is a story of greed and neglect, and one of them is now in such a desperate state that it is touch and go whether they will even be able to see their way through to the end of the season. Wealdstone are the bigger of the two clubs. In 1985, they became the first side to win the non-league “double” of the Conference and the FA Trophy and gave the world the dubious mixed football talents of Stuart Pearce and Vinny Jones. In those days, however, there was no automatic promotion to the Football League, and the the Stones soon faded into relative ignominy, being relegated back into the Southern League in 1988. In 1991, they lost their Lower Mead stadium. Chairman John Morritt, a property developer, sold the site to...

Read More