The following has been circulated around various local media this week.
40th Anniversary of the last football match at Joseph’s Road
On Wednesday 12th February 2014 it will be the 40th anniversary of the last competitive fixture at the Joseph’s Road football ground, the home ground of Guildford City Football Club. The rest of that Southern League season “home” matches were played at the Metropolitan Police FC’s ground in Esher and at the end of that 1973/74 season the club itself moved to Dorking (possibly the first example of franchise football in the UK?) . This was the start of a long period when Guildford could not boast of hosting a football club at a senior level.
It took 22 years before the seeds of the current Guildford City Football Club were planted at the Spectrum Leisure Centre with the help of then Mayor John Woodhatch and Burpham FC. Now, after a further 18 years of hard work by a small band of determined and hardworking volunteers the town of Guildford once again has a Southern League football club playing at a much improved Spectrum facility.
We reflect on that day in February 1974 and look at what we, as a community, have lost – namely a football venue that was the envy of many clubs at higher levels of football. This has still not been properly replaced as the Spectrum ground is primarily an athletics venue shared with the Guildford & Godalming Athletics Club. Saying that, we are thankful to Guildford Borough Council and Spectrum Leisure Centre for permitting us to rent the town’s athletics venue and then further allowing us to upgrade the facilities.
On the positive side we have got Guildford back on the football map, with the help and encouragement of many people over the last 18 years. Furthermore the upgrades to the facilities have enabled the club to win a place in the Southern League. However, the stated aim of Guildford City is a purpose-built football ground with facilities that the wider sporting community can share and enjoy but with football as the primary sport.
On the actual anniversary date of Wednesday 12th February and then on Saturday 15th February the club are at home against Southern League opposition Mangotsfield Town and Stratford Town respectively. We are therefore appealing to the football community of Guildford to come out and support us on at least one of those two days.
Looking to the future, Guildford City Football Club have submitted ideas to the Council in relation to the new Local Plan when we hope that we can finally replace that which was lost all those years ago.