Millwey Rise FC – a blast from the past when the sloping pitch was under attack!

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The sports pages of 1966 made for concerning reading for supporters of Millwey Rise FC, writes Dick Sturch.

The headline of the September 10, article screamed loud: ‘Rise ground shocking’ and the main body read: ‘Millwey Rise have played only one home match since they were promoted to the First Division of the Perry Street League, but already there has been a protest over their ground.

Merriot, who were beaten 4-1 there, thought it was shocking. Their long serving full back, Derek Osborne, described it as the worst he had ever played on. Said Osborne: “I feel sorry for Millwey because they cannot get anything any better and they are stuck with it.

“But what teams are going to return to the Perry Street League while there are grounds like this about?

“It well may drive more away. I know it sounds hard, but until the League adopts the suggestion that there must be a minimum standard for First Division grounds, pitches like these will do more harm than good.”


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That was followed a fortnight later with a headline of ‘Amalagamate - or

wrap it up!’ and the content read – ‘Derek Cleal, outspoken secretary of Crewkerne Town had a seven word message for Millwey Rise after his side had lost 3-1 down in Devon on Saturday - Amalgamate with Axminster FC or wrap it up.

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Mr Cleal added: “I had heard a lot about Millwey’s pitch and I must say I was disgusted with it. It is not fit for First Division football. It is doing the Perry Street League no good.

Agreement for Mr Cleal’s remarks came from an unexpected source – Millwey’s long serving player Percy Downton who said: “I`m afraid Mr. Cleal is right” he said. “I thought the pitch was particularly bad on Saturday. The grass was too long, but what can we do? Our mower`s broken down and the council, who own the pitch, wont mow it. We asked them to roll it last year - but they refused.”

Millwey Rise Football Club played on the afore mentioned ‘slope’ for 50 consecutive years from 1961 until moving to their current ground at Cloakham Lawns in 2011.

This article is from our regular correspondent for all things Millwey Risse FC – Dick Sturch who was a tender 24 years of age when the article appeared in that ‘never to be forgotten footballing year of 1966 when England won the World Cup.

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