Clubhouse is a footballing shrine

PUBLISHED: 15:00 07 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:38 04 March 2010

THE clubhouse at Cornard United is renowned as a footballing shrine.

The walls inside are covered with framed football shirts, which have been donated by clubs who have used the club's facilities a combined total of 40 times in the past six years.

THE clubhouse at Cornard United is renowned as a footballing shrine.

The walls inside are covered with framed football shirts, which have been donated by clubs who have used the club's facilities a combined total of 40 times in the past six years.

Symes explained: “A lot of professional clubs come to train at Cornard when they play at Ipswich or Colchester. They stay at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club Hotel and we have made lots of contacts and I think we have now got around 70 shirts in the clubhouse.

“Paul Jewell (the ex-Bradford City, Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan and Derby County manager) phones me twice at year, Stoke City manager Tony Pulis rings me, Walter Smith used to call me when he was at Everton. They all like coming down here and it is all part of the football fellowship.

“Billy Davies came down with Nottingham Forest a few weeks ago and we made another contact there and we recommended a player to him, and he sent his chief scout to watch him.”

With such an obvious love of the beautiful game, it is not surprising that Symes is never short of an opinion, and he is outspoken in his views on a wide variety of topics, many of which he used to air through his well read Cornard United notes in the printed version of the Green 'Un football paper.

He said: “There is a downside. Football is changing and players are getting more greedy and money rules everything. There are too many clubs for not enough good players.

“There are probably 100 good players in East Anglia and there are 50 or 60 clubs for them to go around, so if they get put on the bench one week or are left out altogether they go to another club. That is the merry-go-round of local football.”

Symes, who has never been booked or sent off in 40 years of playing or managing, said: “I am also now coaching players whose fathers played for me and they sometimes give me a bit of lip. I tell them I never took it from their father, and he was a better player than you so I am not going to take it from you!”

Indeed, lining up at centre forward for Cornard against Whitton United was 16-year-old Jack Harrington, son of goalkeeper Dave Harrington, who played for Symes in his Eastern Counties title-winning team at Braintree Town.

Symes, who is now coaching players who are two generations younger than him, admitted: “Some of the players aren't as keen as I am so you have to meet them halfway.”

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