If you play a team once in a blue moon, you might never get the chance to make amends for a duff result – like us against Gorleston. The footballing circles in which we operate are two very different ones. Even when we did have a reason to come up against the Greens, it was nothing more than a quirk of fate. And if you don’t get it right on the night, you can be waiting ages for another shot at things.
From the Norfolk coast, the Greens came to Broadhall Way for the first time in December 1984 to end our FA Vase hopes that season. It was quite a charming introduction, no? At the time, they were coming off a spell of dominance in the Eastern Counties League; a competition they’ve been in for all but 10 years since joining it as a founder member in 1935.
Gorleston: The Facts
Woodfarm Lane, Gorleston, Norfolk, NR31 9AG
Formed in 1887, there’s quite a lot of water under the bridge at Emerald Park. For those of you who don’t know, Gorleston is a town in Norfolk; sat next to – and just under – the better known Great Yarmouth. We imagine there’s quite the rivalry there. But we don’t care about that. In the beginning, the club knocked around in local leagues and competitions. The Norfolk and Suffolk League is as prestigious as it got during the first quarter of the 20th century.
Mind you, they won the title seven times. And that’s a pretty impressive and relentless march.
This did, however, mean the Greens needed a new challenge as the 1920s turned into the 1930s. In 1935, that challenge arrived; helping to form the Eastern Counties League. Nearly 90 years on, they’re still there too – though league success wasn’t too quick in arriving. The first few seasons saw them finish in the bottom half, before an epic 1952-3 campaign saw them pick up their first title. It was a feat they’d repeat three more times between 1973 and 1981.
Why do we know the Greens?
Of course, the Greens have remained in the Eastern Counties League for the entire time that we, as a club, have been in existence. It’s a bit off our radar too, so there was no conceivable reason for us to ever meet. The fact that we have all comes down to the FA Vase (as is so often the case at that level of the game). The 1984-5 edition saw us force our way past Holbeach United in the Preliminary Round and Haverhill Rovers in Round One.
Now, we thought Servowarm League Division Two North was higher in the non-league pyramid than the Eastern Counties League. But the Greens didn’t have to put up with all the Preliminary Round nonsense we did. And they only needed to overcome Potton United in Round One to get their place in the Round Two draw. With both of us in the hat, our two names came out side-by-side. And it meant the Norfolk side would make the awkward journey across to Broadhall Way.
How to get to Gorleston – Travel Information – Distance: 116 miles
Gorleston is in the same area as Great Yarmouth. So, start off on the A505 in the direction of Cambridge. Keep going until you join the A11, before merging onto the A14. After seven miles, get back onto the A11 towards Norwich.
It’s now a fair while until you next need to do anything (42.6 miles). Take the A47 east for Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft until you reach the outskirts of the former. By a large lake and before reaching the station, take the A12 across the River Yare and keep going until you come to a roundabout by a Toby Carvery.
Here, you need to take the third exit for Beaufort Way. Turn right after the next roundabout onto Carrel Road; taking the first left for Woodfarm Lane to complete your trip.
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