Bloaters hopeful of returning to action

THE on-off saga of Great Yarmouth Town’s Norfolk Senior Cup tie with King’s Lynn Town continued this week with the further postponement of Tuesday’s game, writes Gerry Brown.

But with the cold period seemingly coming to an end, the prospects of next Tuesday’s re-arrangement going ahead are bright. As they are for tomorrow’s league game with Histon Reserves (Wellesley, 3pm) with temperatures said to be approaching the seasonal average.

Last Saturday’s postponed game at Haverhill Rovers joins the abandoned/postponed games at Leiston and Dereham plus the League Cup tie at home to Kirkley and Pakefield on the to be re-arranged list.

For Yarmouth captain Craig Roberts, this week’s two games will be tinged with sadness as they will be the last he plays for the Bloaters.

Roberts is leaving his native Norfolk for a new job in London, and though he will be living in South Essex – strangely in Loughton, the location of the players’ promotion celebration party last summer – travelling distances will make it impossible for him to continue as a Bloaters player.

Roberts was brought to Yarmouth by manager Paul Tong at the beginning of last season from Norwich United, but his football began as a youth at Thorpe Rovers before he gained further experience at Norwich Union, Wroxham and Loddon.

Roberts was made Yarmouth captain this season, and led the team with great skill and an infectious enthusiasm from centre-back and also weighed in with a healthy goal contribution of 16 goals in 68 games (before this week).

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Tong said Roberts was one of his better signings: “Robbo has been not only an excellent player but also a quality person and clubman who leads by example both on and off the pitch. He played a significant part in the club getting back to the Premier Division and we all owe him

our thanks for that. We wish him every success in his move down to London.”

Roberts described his feelings as varying from trepidation to exhilaration: “Any time that something this big happens in your life your emotions are going to vary, but I am very excited about the move as it will be a fresh beginning and hopefully the start of a long and happy life with my partner in and around London.

“I also hope to catch up with some old friends from university who I have not seen for the past year or so. This excitement is tinged with a little sadness that I will be leaving Norwich and my family and friends behind, but I’m sure that I will still keep in touch with most of them.”

Two things he jokingly said he will not miss about moving away were the club’s pink away kit and the cold north-easterly wind “that always seems to blow off the North Sea no matter what the weather or time of year!”

He added: “On a serious note though I’m going to miss a few things about GYTFC, the banter and camaraderie between the players has been second to none and this as well as the friends that I made at the club is what I will miss the most.

“Turning up on a Saturday to see what colour Jake Reed is, how well Dom Smith’s rug has grown, how much hair Martyn Magee has lost, whether Luke Fell’s agent has been in contact with the gaffer to name a few, has been priceless and made the drive from Norwich worthwhile.”

Among the memories he will hold dear of his time at the Wellesley, Roberts named doing the double over Gorleston last year, gaining promotion at Team Bury with five goals in 20 minutes and the penultimate match of last season when Yarmouth came from two goals behind to draw with Clacton to ensure that they were still able to clinch the title. He added: “However my abiding memory has to be clinching the Division One title away at Whitton last year, not least because I scored and we got the trophy presented to us by Ruel Fox, but mainly because it was a massive reward for all the hard work, effort and commitment that the gaffer, Trevor, Mazze and the playing squad put in over the nine month season.”

In conclusion, Roberts wished to pass on his thanks to the club: “I’d like to thank all the people involved behind the scenes, Gerry Brown, Kevin Smith and Carl and Julie Harding to name but a few, who do a lot of unsung work to help to keep the club moving.

“I’d like to thank Trevor and the players who have had to put up with my bad jokes and the occasional bad mood, but they have been a pleasure to play with and they have made my short time here so enjoyable. Finally I’d like to extend a massive thank you to the gaffer for signing me at the start of last season. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Bloater and to be given the role of captaining the side on their return to the Premier Division has been a massive honour for me, I just hope that I have been able to repay some of the faith that Tongy has shown in me.”

Other club games this week include the Reserves at Diss Town Reserves (Saturday, 3pm) and the Youth U18 at Gorleston Youth (Wednesday, 7.45pm).