Footie team saved from the brink of extinction

Neal Luther and Michael Lemmon from Hethersett Athletic FC

Neal Luther and Michael Lemmon from Hethersett Athletic FC - Credit: Contributed

A Norfolk football team threatened with extinction has been reprieved by an injection of new players and a partnership with one of the county’s top clubs.

Hethersett Athletic made a desperate appeal for more players for its Saturday men’s team after having to call games off in the Central and South Norfolk League.

The appeal followed an exodus of players, leading club chairman Neal Luther and manager Michael Lemmon questioning the commitment and enthusiasm for the game.

There was a good response following appeals in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News newspapers and this has led to a link-up with Wroxham Football Club as Neal Luther explained.

“We had a good response and got some new players. One is travelling from King’s Lynn.

"As a club we have also been in discussions with Wroxham FC around having a joint venture where their Under-17s and Under-18s use our Saturday side to give them experience of adult football.

"Some of these lads already play for Wroxham Reserves and a couple have played in the first team.”

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At one point, Hethersett had only six players signed on. This has now been boosted to about 25.

“These boys are all of a good standard and will improve the team tremendously. Wroxham will also be supporting manager Michael Lemmon with a coach on match days too. Fingers crossed we are now over the worst,” Neal Luther added.

The Hethersett club has also gone global by supporting youngsters in Africa by donating shirts to help them enjoy their football.

Hethersett Atheltic has donated football shirts to Africa

Hethersett Atheltic has donated football shirts to Africa - Credit: Contributed

This link has been masterminded by club supporter John Bakewell.

He said: “My twin sister is the Director of Service in Mission in Ghana and one of her colleagues is involved in building community relationships through sport, particularly with young people.

"It’s a great way to discuss teamwork, looking out for each other and creating relationships within a safe environment."

It isn’t the first time that Hethersett Athletic has been linked with Africa.

In 2007 a donation of football strip was made to the Divine Providence Children’s Home for abandoned children in Kakamega, Kenya.