Thursday, 14 June 2018
"WE DON'T TRAIN" - TALKING TO BEN SEYMOUR ABOUT SPORTING 50'S RISE THROUGH THE LEAGUES
Sporting 50 FC were formed back in 2013 and are a fantastic grass roots football club based in Cheam, Surrey. They had a wonderful 2017/18 season in the Surrey South Eastern Combination Junior Division One where they finished runner's up (by goal difference) to AFC Walcountians, won The Geoff Ellis Premier Shield and were runner's up to Sporting Kitz in the League Junior Cup Final. The Cold End spoke to player Ben Seymour who also doubles up as the club's secretary.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOTBALLING HISTORY?
I started off playing in the Morden Little League, back then there was some really good players in it, a couple that now play for Sporting 50 and a few who are still playing semi-pro football now. It was the right introduction into grassroots football at the age of seven. I then went to Tooting and Mitcham United for two seasons before moving to Spain and playing for CD Fuengirola until I tore my ankle ligaments. I came back and played for AFC Ewell for four seasons which was the youth football I enjoyed most until my final season at youth level at Worcester Park.
Since then it’s all been playing and trying to build Sporting 50.
WHAT'S SPORTING 50's CLUB HISTORY?
The club was started in 2013 by Warren Mott, Neil Seymour and Andy Brenen. They always said they wanted one more crack at the Surrey Cup and to do it with close friends and family. It was all started as a bit of a laugh and joke really. We got drawn in the first round against Cheam Baptists with a spare kit, a bare XI with an average age of 34 and went down to 10 men in the first half, we lost 1-0!
We played in the Redhil & District League Division Four and managed to go up. In 2014 we came runners up in Division Four and had another promotion party in true Sporting 50 style, there is nothing like them I tell you.
ANOTHER PROMOTION PARTY FOR THE SPORTING 50 SQUAD
The Redhill and District was a perfect starter league for us and provided many great memories back when Scott Andrews ran the club, but in 2015-2016 we decided to take our promotion to the Surrey South Eastern Combination, we were put in Division Three and it was a great season, new players came in, we kept winning games and had a great title rivalry with Melwood.
It came down to the last day of the season when we won 2-1 against them.
They were a good bunch of lads and we always had good games against them. On to Division Two for the 2016-2017 season and this was probably the year where we thought we could have a bit of momentum and the start of a great club. It was another bright season and we came runners up on the final day of the season to Tolworth United, once again, great fierce rivalry on the pitch and good lads off it. Another promotion captured we entered the 2017-2018 season in Division One.
MATCH ACTION FROM THEIR 2017/18 GAME VERSUS WANDERERS AFC
Some more great players signed while keeping the club a big group of friends which I think helps us massively, we don’t train, we don’t warm up properly, we celebrate three points like it’s a league title but on the pitch you won’t find a team more together than us, and with another promotion in the bag we find ourselves preparing for Intermediate football, a league I thought we wouldn’t reach, or even have a club still running after five years
So let’s see where it goes and we won’t change our ethos and routine until we aren’t progressing as club.
HOW CAN THE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION HELP CLUBS LIKE YOURS AT GRASS ROOTS LEVEL?
I think at our level the toughest part is cost. It’s so expensive to run a football club at this level and there is only so much money you can ask to get off the lads each week. I think the FA doesn’t have to do much to help, things like providing a match day pack would help, 10 balls at the start of the season, a pump and a medical kit. For the price they could get that stuff it’s probably £50 a team - but for us we see it as entering the league, a cup and a bit of money to a pitch fee.
Maybe also give the local FA a referee fund to contribute to officials costs, it isn’t much but every little saving at this level will help teams stay alive. I believe they should also do more to try and get players to clubs to try and stop teams having to pull out because they can’t field full teams.
Finally, Do clubs really need to be Charged £10 a yellow card?
WITH THE GEOFF ELLIS PREMIER SHIELD
CAN YOU AND MEMBERS OF THE TEAM AFFORD TO GO TO PREMIER LEAGUE GAMES? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE PRICES OF TICKETS?
Some of the lads have season tickets and go a lot, but they save at the start of the season so it works out cheaper and they’ll be there for the football only, if the rest of us wanted to go, it’s say £40 a ticket, £10 travel, £30+ on food and drink and that becomes expensive.
Most of the lads prefer to play for a tenner and watch it on the TV. I think it’s about preferences on how you want to enjoy Premier League football. I do think the prices are becoming ridiculous, it will keep going though with every season with the more money being pumped into TV rights and sponsorships. I’ve never felt less in touch with the club I support as it generally feels like a business and that is reflected in the passion and efforts of professional players.
MORE MATCH ACTION FROM THE GAME VERSUS WANDERERS AFC
THE BEST THING ABOUT FOOTBALL AT YOUR LEVEL?
Team spirit, feeling part of a club, the pre-match buzz, earning your three points and the celebrations when you win.
THE WORST THING ABOUT FOOTBALL AT YOUR LEVEL?
Some of the facilities, cost of running the club and the winter postponements.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET A GAME ON AT YOUR LEVEL?
A home game will cost us £155. Pitch is £120 and referee is £35. Cup games split in half and away games won’t cost. We probably spend £300 a year on footballs and equipment.
ONE THING THAT YOU WOULD CHANGE ABOUT THE GAME THAT WILL IMPROVE IT?
Fund the game at the lower levels and reap the rewards at the top level without making it all about transfer fees.
SPORTING 50 FC'S PRE-SEASON FIXTURES
Saturday 28th July - TOOTING BEC FC 7-a-side tournament
Saturday 4th August - NUTFIELD FC
Saturday 11th August - TOLWORTH UNITED
Saturday 18th August - GUILDFORD UNITED
Saturday 25th August - SELHURST
The club are still looking for players to join them as they enter Intermediate football for the first time in their history. If you are interested please contact them on social media @Sporting50FC for more details. The club's twitter feed is well worth a follow.