Champion club effort sees Bloaters champions

Great Yarmouth Town's achievement in winning the Ridgeons First Division championship will be honoured with a civic reception at the Town Hall, writes Gerry Brown.

Great Yarmouth Town's achievement in winning the Ridgeons First Division championship will be honoured with a civic reception at the Town Hall, writes Gerry Brown.

Chairman Stephen Brierley said it was fantastic for the club to be recognised in this way: “We're very grateful and pleased that the Mayor can make time in his busy schedule for us. It will be great for the club's success to be recognised in this way.”

“It has been a marvellous team effort through the season, and not just from the players and managers - but everybody, including those who make the tea and those who stand on the gates in all weathers. We're a team. At this level of football it's got to be all-for-one and one-for-all.”

Commenting on his original aim when he joined the Bloaters in November 2007, Brierley said: “When we came here we said we wanted to achieve promotion within three years, and we have.

“Our priority now is to consolidate in the Premier Division and we'll take it from there, but I would expect to be in a similar position there in another two years, ready to move on to the next level.”

On his earlier pledge not to break the bank in a quest for advancement, the chairman said: “Every club at this level is fighting for survival. We will survive, and we will take the club forward, but we will not overspend on the playing budget.

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“The manager will have a budget which he can spend as he sees fit. But for now, winning the title is just a great achievement for everybody at the club and for the community of Great Yarmouth.”

In winning the division title, Yarmouth lost only two games, and based on an average points gained per match of 2.50, Yarmouth were the 20th best team in the whole country, taking into account nearly 1,600 teams from level one (Premiership) to level 11 (Anglian Combination Premier).

On this basis, Premiership Chelsea were in 94th place and poor old Durham City held up the whole

lot with nil points. Yarmouth's points average is the highest in Ridgeons Division One for at least the past 12 seasons.

Yarmouth and second-placed FC Clacton have been fighting over the division leadership in the final weeks of the season, but both remained unbeaten at home.

The only difference in their records (apart from goal difference) is that Clacton drew three home games while Yarmouth lost points in only two, and those were draws with Clacton themselves and the other promoted team, Brantham Athletic.

Top scorer in Yarmouth's season was characteristically Stewart Roach with 26 in all competitions, and he made the most appearances, missing just two games.

He was closely followed in the scoring charts by Jake Reed on 23 in only his second full season of Ridgeons League football.

Scott Woodcock with 13 came in third place, and defender/midfielder Craig Roberts weighed in with a healthy 12 goals. Goalkeeper Michael Hilton kept clean sheets in 16 of his 44 games.

The Bloaters' first team last won their league in season 1968-69, when they were champions of the Eastern Counties League (the generic name of the Ridgeons League) ahead of Lowestoft Town, interrupting the Blues' run of consecutive championships in the 1960s and 70s.

Yarmouth's Under-10 side added their League Cup to the divisional title for the second season in a row when they beat Gorleston FC B 1-0 at Emerald Park on Sunday.

Wayne Hunter's group of boys have been together for five years in which they have lost only three games.

On Sunday they travel to Ipswich for their final game, the final of the Ipswich and Suffolk Open Cup, when they face a rematch with last year's 1-0 winners, Ransomes.

Any new players, young or experienced, who would like to join the Bloaters for next season should contact club secretary Colin Jones on 07872121942.

See also Pages 28 and 64