28th February 2016
Hurrah! At last dear listeners – a new guest post and one in the sadly-ignored ‘This Sporting Life’ section of Born again Swindonian. I’ve put the section on the blog because it should be represented even though I have no interest or inclination to sport myself. So hooray for Stratton Juniors!
And thanks to Paul Sunridge for sending me the information and some super photos of their players. All of ’em stars I have no doubt!
And any fans of Speedway or any other Swindon sports clubs listening – get in touch!
Founded in 1992, Stratton Juniors Football Club has grown from just one team and a handful of players to 15 teams from Under 6s to Under 16s with almost 200 children in the local community playing structured grassroots football.
In 2010 the club achieved the FA Charter Standard status which is awarded to football clubs who provide a high quality football experience. FA Charter Standard clubs are proven to be well run, sustainable, and importantly place child protection, quality coaching and safety as paramount. The aspirations of the Stratton Juniors committee do not stop there, with plans to take the club to the next level by achieving the prestigious FA Charter Standard ‘Development’ status.
After a number of years of playing at various venues around Stratton including local schools, the club has this season moved all of its teams to Meadowcroft playing fields run by Stratton Parish Council. The club and council have been working in partnership for some time and are both committed to a long term future together. We are currently fund raising for a defibrillator at Meadowcroft, hopefully supported by a council grant which will provide life-saving equipment accessible by the whole community. We are also holding a charity race night on 15th April at the County Ground Legends Lounge for the same cause.
On the pitch, Stratton Juniors goes from strength to strength.
Committed to playing the game in the “right” way, the emphasis of coaching is about development and enjoyment. The development primarily focuses on the technical side of the game, which is delivered in a structured but fun way.
“To me it was never about what I accomplished on the football field, it was about the way I played the game.”Jerry Rice
Working with parents, the club ensures that match days are a pressure free environment and the emphasis is on development and not winning. But by playing with a smile and focusing on technical ability the results naturally come good. Testament to this approach is the number of boys that, year after year, are selected by various football league academies, who we hope we have helped develop.
Under 16 Squad Photo 2015-16
Stratton Juniors Under 7s
Stratton Juniors only exists through the dedication of volunteer coaches and committee members and to help the club meet its aspiration of charter development status, funding is critical.
The club has sponsorship opportunities for a number of age groups and if you would be interested in sponsoring a team please contact Paul Surridge at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07587 003990.
Facebook: /strattonjnrsfc – https://www.facebook.com/strattonjuniors?fref=ts
Sunday May 18th 2014
Here’s a guest post from Thomas Little on the subject of sporting Swindon.
It’s an interesting consideration on the value of sport generally and also the diversity of sporting facilities and activities Swindonian’s can enjoy. For the moment anyway.
Thomas’ comment about the successful sports people with Swindon origins is interesting. David Howell I know of but not anyone else – well apart from Don Rogers and Harold Fleming of course. There’s material there for further research and blog posts I feel.
Sport in Swindon
“On a beautiful sunny day like today it’s hard for many to resist the urge to pull on a pair of boots, get the golf clubs in the back of the car or check the strings on the tennis racket and just get out there and take part in a sport. With a winter that wasn’t cold but certainly had its fair share of rain, there’s something almost primordial about the connection between sport and summer time and the residents of Swindon certainly have plenty of choices.
As a town, Swindon has a proud sporting tradition with Swindon Town F.C., Supermarine Rugby Club and a whole host of other local sporting teams, as well as being the home of a number of successful professional sports men and women involved in football, golf, boxing and more.
With venues across the town to cater to almost any sporting desire there really is no reason not to get involved.
One of the greatest sporting assets that the town has is the breadth of sports facilities on offer across the borough, whether its football, golf, cricket tennis or even something a little more subdued like bowls then there are a number of local clubs who would be happy for you to get involved.
However if you want to try your hand at something a little more energetic or you’re a bit of an adrenaline seeker then fear not! Swindon has a number of public skate parks, an indoor rock climbing wall, and, if you can travel a little further afield to the South Cerney Water Park, you can take part in jet skiing, cable water skiing and much much more.
With all of the choices on offer there is however something that we need to be mindful of which is the recent announcement by the local authority of plans to lease a number of public leisure facilities and playing fields.
The facilities concerned are the golf courses at Broome Manor, Highworth and Moredon and six leisure centres; Croft Sports Centre, Delta Tennis Centre, Dorcan Recreation Complex, Haydon Centre, Healthy Hydro and the Link Centre. The proposal does not include Highworth Recreation Centre at this point but may do so in the future.
The proposals for the leases themselves are for 99 years with a change of usage clause inset after 3 years. Whilst I understand it is not the intention of this blog to become mired in the politics of local government policy, I have highlighted this issue simply as a means of showing how important it is for people to make use of their local sports facilities. How many people have great memories linked with a local playing field, or with the local football pitch or tennis courts at this time of year? Especially when we have just seen the end of the football league and the FA Cup has been played. Now we have Wimbledon just around the corner, and the World Cup starts in a little over a month.
So let’s not forget how much a simple patch of grass, a net strung between two posts, or a public pool can have a positive effect not just on health but on our memories and our wellbeing. Get out there and enjoy sport, support your local communities and most importantly have a bit of fun!”
Read about the consultations on Swindon’s sports facilities here.
As I think I’ve mentioned before, what I know about sport can be written on a pin head with room to spare. Hence I’m getting guest writers to produce me a few words here and there on the sporting aspects of Swindon. I’ve already had a lovely post from Lee about STFC – the town’s football club. Now we have, from Jamie, a Twitter ‘friend’, a few lines on his first visit to an ice-hockey game in Swindon. Like me, Jamie is not a native of Swindon, hailing as he does from Yeovil in Somerset. And also like me, he considers himself to be a Swindonian, having pitched up here aged 16, as he put its: ‘some (cough) 27 years ago.’
So too with the ice-hockey. As with STFC, I know there is an ice-hockey team here in Swindon: The Swindon Wildcats and that they are based in the Link Centre in West Swindon. And that’s it. So it’s been great to get Jamie’s account of his first time at a Wildcats game. I reckon he’s successfully conjured up an image of what is to be expected. Can’t you just hear that drum? And, whilst I’m not really a sports fan, it sounds like it might be fun to try out. So thank you Jamie for sharing this with the blog. I’ve really enjoyed reading about it. Anyway, with no further ado here’s what Jamie had to say about his experience:
” So it was on a Saturday night, in the inevitable post Christmas pre New Year lull that myself and a group of friends decided to to give a Swindon Wildcats Ice Hockey match a go at the Link Centre. I’ve been a regular at the County Ground for many of those 27 years and am a sports fan in general, so it’s odd that I’ve never got round to watching the Wildcats.
If you like peace and quiet then Ice Hockey isn’t for you, even before you get to the arena you’re met with shouty kids trying to sell you stuff. Once in the arena, the crowd, a genuine equal mixture of male and female, young and old, sing along to the pounding of a drum. The match DJ (yes really) seems to have a song prepared for every possible incident. It’s all foam fingers, enormous shirts and lots and lots of noise! It is really great fun and easy to get sucked in to the atmosphere.
As for the game itself. Well, first of all it was reasonably easy to follow … how hard can it be? The Wildcats need to score more than the other guys. The play is fast and exciting, sometimes so fast you lose sight of the puck. The turn over of players is constant. I won’t give a detailed run down of the proceedings because infinitely more qualified reports are only a click or two away, but for the record, the Swindon Wildcats beat the Basingstoke Bison 7-5. Result! This being the Christmas season the Wildcats were in Father Christmas outfits and of course there was a fight. It seems that an ice-hockey game is incomplete without a fight!
So I’m no longer a Wildcats Virgin. I can’t see myself becoming a regular at the Link Centre because my heart belongs to the County Ground but I’ll definitely try it again. Lets go Wildcats!”
The beautiful game
Of late I’ve started to feel that this blog can’t be complete – well not that a blog is ever complete but you know what I mean – without some mention of its sporting activities. I am aware that Swindon has a football team, an ice-hockey team and a speedway team. I also know it has swimming clubs – and only then because my daughter went to one. And THAT is the summation of all I know about the sporting scene in Swindon. So I decided that the best, indeed the only, way to tackle (see what I did there?) this was to get someone else to write something for me. So now I’ll stop dribbling (pun intentional) on and let you read Lee’s lovely, very personal reminiscences about the club.
And yet again, as so often with this blog, I’ve learned something new. Don Rogers I was aware of – even I couldn’t miss that one! But Harold Fleming, after whom Fleming Way is named, I had not heard of. Sorry Harold. I know now! Lee also kindly shared photos of some of his memorabilia which you can see in the gallery at the bottom of the post.
“My name is Lee (@Leefer3 on twitter)…and I have been watching Swindon Town since 1975, so it’s close to forty years now.
As a 12 year old I was given 50p pocket money a week and I felt incredibly rich. I was living in a childrens home at the time and they were not keen on me going to football, it was a lot rougher on the terraces in the 70s. But to a young lad with plenty of tension inside him, that was part of the attraction.
I vividly remember my first match v Mansfield Town and paying 35p to get in the Town End, bus fare 5p return from Stratton, programme 5p all of which left 5p for sweets or a bag of chips and scrumps. I was in my element. A couple of seasons went by before I went to my first away match at Everton in the FA Cup; the noise and atmosphere were simply electric.
The years rolled on and I moved away, but always tried to watch the Town whenever possible. Over the last twenty five years I have watched most home matches and plenty of away ones, with two league cup semi finals and four Wembley appearances notched up.
The best player I ever saw in a Swindon shirt has to be Glenn Hoddle, although past his best years when at Swindon, he still had the qualities to change a match single handed. My favourite player though has to be David Moss who went on to play for Luton. In my opinion should have got an England cap. In recent years, Jan Fjortoft and Charlie Austin have caught my eye. In the last two seasons I have watched the Town a little less due to work and playing the game with a little white ball over 18 holes, but people who know me, know how passionate I still am about the club.
You see I love Swindon as a place, and the club is a massive part of the community. And, whether you like football or not, it’s part of the make-up of modern Swindon and Swindon past.
I have been pleasantly surprised at the current regime, as I have to be honest and feared the worst. But MarkCooper and the people trying to run the club have done a very decent job. Funnily enough, within the photos I have shared is a letter from Terry Cooper the current manager’s father. I received it while he was manager at Birmingham about twenty odd years ago!
So as the years dribble by, players like Harold Feming (Fleming Way is named after him) and Don Rogers surely our greatest ever player are a constant reminder of greatness at the club. And lets not forget players like Freddie Wheatcroft who gave thousands of Swindon fans pleasure only to perish in the Great War doing what thousands of Swindonians did…..pay the ultimate price for our freedom,the freedom that paves the way for people like myself to take for granted the pleasure i get on most Saturdays and midweek matches when Swindon Town FC win, lose or draw.”
The man himself – Don Rogers – source Wikipedia:
(born 25 October 1945) is an English former footballer is regarded as one of the best players to pull on a Swindon Town shirt; his principal rival in this respect being Harold Fleming. He played at outside left and served the club in two spells.
Born in Paulton, Somerset, Rogers signed a youth contract with Swindon in January 1961 at the age of fifteen; having turned professional in October 1962, he made his first-team debut on 17 November in a Third Division match against Southend United. Rogers scored the two extra-time goals which won the 1969 Football League Cup Final for Swindon, 3-1 against Arsenal.
He signed for Crystal Palace in 1972 for a fee of £147,000, then joined Queens Park Rangers in September 1974 in an exchange deal involving Terry Venablesand Ian Evans. Rogers played 18 league games for QPR scoring 5 goals before returning to Swindon in March 1976 in exchange for Peter Eastoe.
In November 1976 Rogers moved on loan to the Southern League team Yeovil Town, where he joined his old Swindon team-mate Stan Harland. He returned to Swindon two months later and, after suffering a hip injury, retired at the end of the 1976–1977 season and now runs a sports shop in Swindon bearing his name.
*Picture of clipping courtesy of Brian Carter of Carter Collectables
Some items from Lee’s collection of memorabilia: