Crowds flock to the seaside as Felixstowe & Walton set the early pace

05 September, 2017 - 12:32
during the FA Cup Qualifying
 match at Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe,on 17September2016  Picture: Stan Baston

during the FA Cup Qualifying match at Goldstar Ground, Felixstowe,on 17September2016 Picture: Stan Baston

Archant

There’s a real ‘feelgood factor’ at Felixstowe & Walton football club these days.

Felixstowe & Walton United winger Joe Francis, the Seasiders' big signing this season.Felixstowe & Walton United winger Joe Francis, the Seasiders' big signing this season.

Top of the Eastern Counties Premier division, a new clubhouse and facilities in place and crowds that have gone through the roof this season, means the future has never been brighter at Dellwood Avenue.

On Saturday, Kevin O’Donnell’s side made it seven league wins on the bounce and an unbeaten start to their Step Five campaign, with a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten Histon.

And while O’Donnell knows there are far too many league games to go to even begin to whisper the word ‘promotion’, in front of another big crowd on Saturday – this time of more than 430 – Felixstowe & Walton are a club full of smiles right now.

“It’s staggering the support we are now getting,” O’Donnell said.

“The crowds have just got bigger and bigger, the support is fantastic. We even get the players being clapped off the pitch after the warm-ups. They talk about it in the changing room, it is such a boost to them all.”

There is a wind of change at Dellwood Avenue.

Kevin O'DonnellKevin O'Donnell

Four years ago with average crowds of 70-90 and facilities that had seen far better days, floodlights that had to be put up and down for training and match days, the club were treading water in their pursuit of promotion up the non-league pyramid.

That’s all changed now.

The new facilities have attracted new fans, and new players want to be part of the Felixstowe experience, former Leiston man Joe Francis being the club’s marquee signing of the summer.

“Joe has come into the club and made a big difference on and off the pitch” O’Donnell said.

“We are not a one-man team, but Joe’s influence has been superb. As a team we have learned to adapt our game. We have learned how to grind out results. A few years ago if we had not played well, we would draw or lose, now we are winning and the crowds love a winning team.

“I don’t think we are sleeping giants, more a club with untapped resource.

“Our aim is promotion, simple as that. If we go up, we are now a club looking the part, not a team of paupers.”

You have to finish in the top two of the Eastern Counties Premier division to be eligible for promotion.

In pursuit of that, Felixstowe & Walton are at Hadleigh tonight.

Meanwhile, Ipswich Wanderers entertain FC Clacton.

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