Sidmouth Town - looking forward to the coming season

Football generic picture

Football generic picture - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Town are busy preparing for next season, writes Andy Argyle,

Whilst most people are watching Wimbledon or perhaps indulging in some Test Match Cricket during the short summer break from football the Vikings’ committee and team managers have been working hard in order that the coming campaign can see the club build on last season’s success.

In terms of the football, last season saw healthy league positions attained by all three teams, coupled with two Cup Finals and the discovery of young talent. It all leaves the club well equipped to push on.

Settled team management has been the key with Josh Stunell and John Clements overseeing the senior side, the experienced Paddy Thomas aided by Gary Bargery looking after the second team and Ian Peacock, this year assisted by John Miller, keeping the third team buoyant and challenging for honours.

With regard to the ground - find a better playing surface in Devon and we’ll buy you a pint! The football pitch and surrounds have been constantly upgraded so that playing and attending the Manstone Lane ground is a positive pleasure. Investment in spectator hard standing, wet weather cover and safety has given the club the venue it deserves to parade its talent. It’s no wonder visiting teams both enjoy and fear the trip to Sidmouth – great facilities and strong opposition.

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So what of the clubhouse home of the Vikings? It has recently been refurbished and now offers genuine warmth and welcome for members, supporters and visitors alike.

In addition to a well-stocked and reasonably priced bar, the lounge areas are comfortable, multi-screen TV offers a variety of sport. Hot drinks and snacks are always available on match days. The weekly ‘meat raffle’ puts a Sunday lunch on the table for the winners and the ’all round’ good atmosphere coupled with the chance to join friends adds to the match day occasion. The club is also open in the evenings throughout the week to provide a home venue for the darts, skittles and pool teams and various ‘happy hours’ mean watching televised football is a popular choice.

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That’s the footballing side generally covered, so now what about how we got where we are today? Generations of Sidmothians have played for Town. Fathers and sons supported by mothers and sisters down the years have enjoyed watching the games.

The Viking’s following is loyal and passionate and new supporters are always welcome to join the club. With its proud history dating back to the late 19th century, the club has recently brought together a unique collection of rare photographs of Sidmouth Town teams down through the decades.

These have been framed and presented for viewing in the clubhouse. If you want to see the Sidmouth players of yesteryear or identify and remember players and friends from the past call in and take a trip down memory lane.

The club does of course cherish sponsorship and indeed offers plenty of opportunity for businesses to promote themselves through matchday programme advertising or by taking a ground board around the Manstone Lane pitch.

Last, but certainly not least, comes the community side of things and, one thing that Town recognises and treats very seriously is the importance of making a contribution to the local community. The club maintains and looks after Manstone Lane Park and it is kept immaculate for the use of public. The club provides a venue for parties and anniversaries, facilities for community ‘fun’ events and school sports days. During the early spring the park comes alive as part of the ‘Plant a Million Bulbs’ initiative producing a carpet of springtime blooms.

So, maybe you are new to the area and like your football then hopefully this coming season we will have the chance to both introduce you to, and welcome you to, Sidmouth Town AFC.

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