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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Bungay Town FC

The Maltings Meadow, Ditchingham, Suffolk
Nickname: The Black Dogs
Anglian Combination

Note Bungay Town FC was formed in 1925 following the amalgamation of existing local clubs, and dominated the Norfolk & Suffolk League between 1946-52. The Black Dogs were founder members of the Anglian Combination in 1964 and recent years have seen two further mergers: with Bungay Rangers, and Ditchingham Rovers. Four figure crowds were regularly attracted to their original home at “The Rec” with the record being 2,498 for the visit of Wycombe Wanderers in January 1950. However, the ground was on the flood plain of the Earsham Down and, according to Peter Miles, was frequently reduced to a quagmire. The club therefore also had two temporary homes at Outney Common and Honeypot Lane the latter of which is now beneath Bungay Police Station.

In 1953 the club moved to its current home at the Maltings Meadow, which boasts an attractive stand of brick, and steel construction, with wooden bench seating and the club name on the roof fascia. Some of the material for the original structure was taken from the old race track stand at Outney Common. In May 1987 the stand - recently named in memory of club stalwart Barney Vass - was badly damaged by fire but has been renewed, albeit in slightly smaller form as is evident when compared with Bob Lilliman’s 1974 photograph below

Adjacent are a couple of sturdy brick dugouts. A corrugated iron building with a pitched roof currently houses the changing rooms, and was part funded by a donation of £1,200 from the mother of a player killed during WW2. However, one imagines that the building may not survive for long once the club’s impressive new clubhouse, which also incorporates an overhang for spectator cover, opens in March 2006.

One certainly doesn’t have to look for long at the Club website to realise that these are exciting times: not only for the football club, but for local sport as well, with the club in receipt of a massive £466,323 grant from the Football Foundation. As well as helping to fund the clubhouse development, the money will also allow the Bungay & District Sports Association  to provide three new mini soccer pitches for junior players, complementing the five pitches already at the site. DB

Photographs of the completed building can be found on the club website