Tucked away just a few miles north of Norwich and on the edge of the well known Norfolk Broads sits Wroxham FC and just like their Football League neighbours there appears to be a resurgence happening at Trafford Park.
Having celebrated their 125th year anniversary last year with a 13th place finish following relegation from the Bostik League North Division the season prior, The Yachtsmen find themselves right in the thick of a promotion battle to return to that level. Getting out of the Eastern Counties League is no easy task, a division full of sides able to score goals and go on never ending unbeaten runs meaning you have to go all out just to stay in touch with the leaders.
Not that Wroxham are strangers to wining the title, champions on no less than 8 occasions and that last title taking them up a level into the Bostik League North Division where they remained until last season having been reprieved twice from relegation and from a much shorter stay. Along with those titles they are also 8 times winners of the Norfolk Senior Cup and FA Vase runners up back in in 2010, a club very much steeped in history and ready to add some more to this impressive record.
Since Lee Robson was named Chairman in 2017, the club has steadily rebuilt itself despite seeing promising management teams lured away from Trafford Park and after Jamie Godbold left for Lowestoft Town in the summer, Robson had to look to start again. But instead of looking outside of the club, eyebrows were most likely raised when Jordan Southgate was promoted from reserve team manager.
Southgate, just 25 years old and one of the youngest first team managers at Step 5, has slotted seamlessly in the role and has so far led the Yachtsmen to second in the table behind Histon, a side who themselves rose from the same level all the way to the National League showing small village sides can compete with the more established echelons of the game.
Alongside Southgate is the vast experience of former Canary Adam Drury, experience invaluable to any club outside of the pro game which just adds that little bit of know how and the desire to make everything as professional as possible. The club have also been able to call on former Premiership striker Grant Holt since he left National League Barrow and once again the influence Holt can bring to the team can give the edge over opponents in getting those three precious points on a Saturday afternoon.
With only one home game attracting less than 100 spectators through the gate, Wroxham are well supported for their level and in some cases attract more supporters than some Bostik North outfits showing they aren’t out of place at that level.
I’ve followed Wroxham for years, mainly due to many childhood holidays spent boating and in holiday homes around the Broads and in Norfolk in general. I did get to see the side in Bostik League action two seasons ago, travelling there and back in a day whilst seeing sights firmly ingraved in the memory banks from years gone by, and the season before visiting Aveley in Essex in one of their final games at their old ground.
Commitments with Wick FC this season probably mean I won’t get anywhere close to watching Wroxham in action in 2018/19, but fingers crossed the games next year against Great Yarmouth fall at a decent time, if they don’t then maybe the Yachtsmen have added to the already impressive list of honours………….