Shouldham Football Club

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Nearly 700 years ago in the small, peaceful West Norfolk village of Shouldham, four miles from RAF Marham, an accident was to occur that would assure the village a place in footballing history.

“To William de Spalding, canon of Scoldham of the order of Sempringham. During the game at ball as he kicked the ball, a lay friend of his, also called William, ran against him and wounded himself on a sheathed knife carried by the canon, so severely that he died within six days. Dispensation is granted, as no blame is attached to William de Spalding, who, feeling deeply the death of his friend, and fearing what might be said by his enemies, has applied to the Pope.”

This account was taken from a 1321 dispensation, granted by Pope John XXII to William de Spalding of Shouldham, and is reference to one of the earliest accounts in England of a kicking ball game. Times have changed somewhat, and the FA no longer allows Shouldham players to carry ‘sheathed knives’, but the village of Shouldham retains a strong footballing ethos, supported by personnel and their families from RAF Marham.

Over the past five years, Shouldham FC has increased both its membership and number of teams, investing in new pitches and facilities at King George V Playing Field including a Clubhouse, where vital cups of hot chocolate and coffee are endlessly supplied to parents on those cold wet winter nights, and floodlights, allowing teams to train in the evening throughout the year. Recently, and as a result of our on-going improvements, we successfully gained the coveted FA Chartered Standard Club Status. The success of the Club has not been as a result of endless success on the field, but as a result of the Club’s ethos – that football should be fun. We want children, whatever their ability, to enjoy playing a team sport. Provided they attend training and whatever their skill level, the children will play games and represent the Club in the distinctive sky blue and navy strip. Our aim is to improve the standard of all players and not just make the most skilful players more skilful.

Looking ahead to the 2013/14 season, and as a direct result of the success of the current season, we again are able to expand, increasing the number of teams and therefore places available. We will have 8 teams in Mid Norfolk Youth League, from U7s (Year 2) to U14’s (Year 9), plus a ‘minis team’ for our most junior players (Reception and Year 1). With the exception of the U10’s, all squads have space for more players. In addition, if you think you are the next Alex Ferguson and are interested in giving your expertise as a manager or coach to a team, then again please contact us. The Club already has many Service personnel who provide their time and expertise as coaches, and we would welcome support from more personnel who would like to be involved in the West Norfolk community.

If you would like to learn more about the Club, or visit our pitches and facilities then please contact the Chair, Keith Matthews, via Email: keithjmatthews@aol.com.

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