Day: June 15, 2011

A Domain Name Dispute At Kings Lynn

When The Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk awarded the lease to The Walks stadium to the Chapman family last year after the collapse of Kings Lynn FC, this can hardly be what they had in mind. The Chapmans have been acting with antagonism towards the clubs supporters trust, The Blue & Gold Trust, for some considerable time but this division has hit a new low with the behaviour of the club’s owners this week. Chairman Buster Chapman has been reported as seeking to ‘distance the club’ from a trust, some of whose membership have already been highly critical of his stewardship of the new club, Kings Lynn Town. Itis, of course, his right to do this. It may not be wise – there is scarcely a non-league football club in the country that can afford to alienate sections of its support with such clumsy attempts at what looks from this distance like divide and conquer – and he may well find that he pays the price for such fighting talk at the turnstiles at the start of next season, but it’s his decision. Where those running the club seem to cross a line in the sand in terms of petulant behaviour, however, is in issuing legal threats to the supporters trust over the ownership of the domain name of the trust’s website. The trust’s website has...

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Those We Have Lost: Feethams, Darlington

Next up in our series on the lost football grounds of Britain, comes one of the most poignant stories of all. Darlington left Feethams for The Reynolds Arena in 2003, leaving behind a home of over a hundred years to play in a vast bowl that has proved to be disastrous for the club. Stefan Volkmann writes on this most painful of moves. When historians of the beautiful game look back at the cast of tinpot dictators and petty megalomaniacs that have graced English football throughout it’s chequered history, the figure of George Reynolds will be little more than a footnote, albeit a quirky one.  Born into poverty in Sunderland and raised in a poorhouse before being convicted and sent down for safe-cracking, Reynolds emerged from humble begininngs to become a multi-millionare in the kitchen surfaces industry before saving Darlington from the brink of bankcruptcy in 1999. Had he stopped there, he would have secured his place in the hearts and minds of Darlington fans forever.  He didn’t, though, and before long he began to talk of taking Darlington from Feethams, their home since the club was founded in 1883, to a new 25,000 seater arena.  Unlike much of what Reynolds said, sadly this time he backed up his word with actions, and went on to spend £18 million on the decadent Reynolds Arena, the whitest of white elephants,...

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Those We Have Lost: The Dell, Southampton

Tom Tully surely performed a double take when he happened upon the match report from Southampton’s final stand at The Dell. Having written so many tales of glory for Roy of the Rovers, he likely thought his work had been plagarised when news came through that the final goal at those grounds, after 103 years of football, was a match winner over Arsenal scored from the foot of modern club legend Matt LeTissier. To complete the storybook ending, it was “Le God’s” final tally in his league career, as he retired following the 2001/02 season without finding the back of the new nets at St. Mary’s. For a player whose raison d’etre seemingly was to drive in goals from the penalty spot, him being unable to score at St. Mary’s makes a certain amount of sense–his favored pinch of grass worn down in front of the keeper had been left back down Milton Road, along with the place he had kept his shooting boots for sixteen years. After all, the St. Mary’s pitch has nothing of his history recorded in its lines nor has not been properly soaked through with his sweat and blood as had the grass in The Dell. Either that, or LeTissier had some helicopter crash that injured his foot that prevented him from scoring there. The stands, built near “a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and lofty aspens” according to those who have read Philip...

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