Sunday League football has its roots in community
The scramble for grassroots football's survival continues through funding, pitches and in some cases players.
But the Napit Chesterfield and District Sunday League fights on providing half a dozen divisions for delivery driver, IT worker and warehouse operative to have some ‘serious’ Sunday fun.
Hepthorne Lane FC are an example of a club rooted in their community, established in 1984 with its original founder, Ted Mansbridge, still widely involved in current activities.
Thankfully, grassroots football has people like fellow long serving club man and now manager Dave Edinboro who gets up early to put up the nets and flags.
Most pre match encounters recount the previous night’s total pint intake, the desperate need for a light for a cigarette and the usual culprits are just turning up with five minutes to go.
The Lane’s Station Road ground is known for its slope, skiing facilities could be offered with lots of sledging in the snowy times and many teams will complain about it but probably not Clowne Wanderers, who found themselves three down with 15 minutes to play. Mustering up all their effort they produced three goals in eight minutes thanks to a Carl Longmore hat-trick which saw them get up a head of steam down the incline and secure a draw in an entertaining encounter.
The back to back terrace houses enfold themselves around sections of the ground with a part rural view of the close by St Lawrence’s Church.
Sat snugly by the church is The Blue Bell public house which was used as a changing base for the club in their formative years, these are now provided on ground by a tidy and functional changing room block.
Grassroots football is local to you and it’s alive with entertainment, characters, genuine effort and you might even find a bit of skill too!
Hepthorne Lane in itself is a quirk that confuses many as they look for the street but the area makes up North Wingfield as a whole.
The village’s Shinnon pub was formerly called the Midland Hotel. A landlady many years ago had a boutique re-design of the barnet by the name of a chignon, pronounced shinnon, and after constantly being asked about her hair she renamed the pub in a unique way.