Billed as Promised Land Ė an Evening with Local Author Anthony Clavane,
at Wivenhoe Town Football Club didnít disappoint. This was very much an
evening of two halves: celebrating the survival of the Dragons, and then
a reading and Q & A with Anthony based around his current Leeds United
The common theme here was that of community. The very survival of
Wivenhoe Town was in some doubt two years ago. With financial woes now
hopefully behind the club, the forward planning is taking place that
allows the whole community to use the Broad Lane space. The parallel
theme in Anthonyís book is the decline of community, and the decline of
the Elland Road club.
A statement of declaration: I know very little of what has taken place
over the previous two years at Wivenhoe Town FC. What I do know is that
on the day of my 40th birthday, the very same day that @AnnaJCowen and I
came Hoe house hunting, we stumbled upon a march of passionate fans,
protesting from the Quay up to the Cross about the mismanagement of the
site by the Wivenhoe Town Trust.
Splendid. Iíll Ďav a bit of that, I thought to myself.
And so not wanting to bang on about something I know little about, I was
enthused on Thursday night to hear more about the future of Wivenhoe
Town FC and Broad Lane. With representation from the entire first team,
Wivenhoe Book Shop, Transition Town Wivenhoe, the Moving Image cinema
and the Mayor of Wivenhoe, bringing on board the non-football element
around these parts doesnít seem to be a problem.
Speakers were invited to explore the idea of how the community can use
the club. With a waiting list already in place for Wivenhoe allotments,
Transition Town Wivenhoe is keen to let out short terms plots ahead of
possible future building plans. The aim is for temporary giant grow bags
that can be moved around the site, as and when the space becomes free.
A wonderful short film followed, documenting the decline and rise of the
club over the past two years. For the Love of the Game [which really
should go up on youtube...] articulates brilliantly how the club can
only survive if it focuses on developing football talent right though
form the junior ranks up to the first team. Paying ageing proís is of no
benefit to anyone.
Kevin Hall, a local architect, then gave a great presentation about his
Development Plan for the Broad Lane site. The current location of the
clubhouse is seen as not being inclusive to all Broad Lane users. Kevin
is keen to build a new Broad Lane facility that will be in a more
central location on the opposite corner of the pitch. An investor is
keen to splash out the cash, providing the whole community comes on
The Promised Land evening then came to a close with Anthony Clavane
reading from his new book about the reinvention of Leeds United. Anthony
explained how he now has more passion in watching the Wivenhoe junior
teams compared to the Premier League big boys as part of his day job.
There is little sense of community on the big stage, whereas back at
Broad Lane, football remains fun.
Q & Aís followed, exploring the idea of big business and foreign
investment in football. The consensus was that the connection between
community and players in the Premier League was lost some twenty years
ago with the arrival of the Premier League.
This discussion brought the evening full circle, and the conclusion that
in order to survive and flourish, Wivenhoe Town canít operate in
isolation. The whole community needs to become a stakeholder, and the
clubs needs to accommodate the different interests and needs.
It will be seventeen years since my last Wivenhoe Town home game when I
return to Broad Lane in a couple of weeks. With such fond memories of
three seasons watching the Dragons, Iím hoping that little has changed.
Iím also hoping that everything has changed, and that the club has
learnt from previous financial mistakes and can build a bright future at
The above review can be found at the link below;