From the archives – WIE 46

It’s been a while, so we thought we’d bring you this article from WIE 46. Published in September 2015 you’ll see that some things have changed and not all for the better…

Defending our Corner

New job, new town, new people. Same old questions.

As the conversation inevitably arrives at football, the “No, not Welwyn Garden City” gets dragged out once again. Why has everyone heard of that particular town? OK, it IS the site of the world’s first boutique hotel chain for cats, which deserves respect (thank you, Wikipedia), but other than that, what? It’s not even the first garden city. That magnificent accolade goes to Letchworth, and who has heard of that? Microsoft thinks it is a spelling mistake. And so do I. And, quite frankly, who cares about garden cities? Ebbsfleet Garden City, anyone? If my garden was anything like that I’d take napalm to it.

Only once have I managed a satisfactory response to the “What, Welwyn Garden City?” question. Having delivered the standard weary response to some posh bloke, I asked for his home town in return, receiving the reply “Hampstead” allowing me my “What, Hemel Hampstead?” reply.

Then there is the “But who do you REALLY support?” question. There was a time when I would ignore my Welling fixation and say “Leeds United” in reply to that, and in all fairness I was already 12 by the time Welling moved into PVR, so I hadn’t actually heard of them until then, and Leeds WERE my team. But there came a time when closets had to be left. It’s hard to convince yourself that you are only mildly interested in the fortunes of Welling when you find yourself in Merthyr Tydfil. For the fifth time. When plans are being made for that trip to Barrow. The final couple of straws which convinced me that my relationship with Leeds was no longer sustainable involved being stuck next to a very fat and perpetually angry Yorkshireman in the away end at Spurs, and realising that I could never care that much about Leeds losing 4-0; and my last trip to Elland Road, where I sat in the upper tier of their enormous stand which gives a fine view of the tops of the other three stands, so that you don’t actually feel you are in the ground, and that some private function is going on far below you to which you haven’t been invited. I spent my time distracted by the view from my seat, over the adjacent stands, of the utter desolation of that area of Leeds, while having the wax blasted out of my ears by one of those PA operators who believe we are there to listen to them and their favourite music.

So, although there are one or two fanzine editors and writers who still say “Chelsea” when asked, “Welling, no, not Welwyn Garden City” is now my answer.  And with my new town being in Shropshire I’ve now had to add “No, not Wellington” to my repertoire. 

This leads to stage two of the football conversation, mockery.

It’s hard to convince people that division 5 is actually a high level. That it isn’t played in parks. That not everyone brings their dog along. That you are not totally mad. Although sometimes it is hard to argue that last point: paying £15 to watch Welling is hardly a sign of sanity.

Often it’s easier to just admit defeat, and confess to madness, but sometimes when I hear the usual tedious rubbish about how oh so wonderful the premier league is, and that I should watch “proper” football, I feel obliged to defend my corner.

It is sometimes easy to forget that we are supporters of a pretty unique club. There is a lot of stuff by noisier non-league and former non-league teams, such as FC United, AFC Wimbledon and the like about “starting at the bottom of the pyramid”. Really? The bottom, you say? Well obviously they must know, but there is this other club that was started by a couple of brothers and their dad as a boys’ team playing in a park in 1963, and took precisely 23 years to reach division 5, one step from the professional divisions. Now, some people might not think that that is impressive. But perhaps they should. Perhaps they should know that one of the brothers is still running the club, along with the other brother’s son. That the whole thing is not a huge ego trip, or someone’s expensive toy. That the people who run it run it modestly, not for their own glorification.  Too modestly, probably.  Too modest to actually sell the club to the local area at times, but perhaps that is changing.  I suppose I could compare Welling’s performance with that of the richest club in England, from the fine town of Trafford. Welling clambered up the divisions from boys’ football on a Sunday to division 5 of Saturday football from 1963 to 1986, while Trafford’s finest threw oodles of cash at attempting to win the league from 1968 and failing to do so for 26 years. So, 23 years of success mostly overlapping with 26 years of failure, but it is us that get mocked. Such is life.

Despite the years we have spent in the Conference (more than any other Kent team), and thus years spent having our results read out on the telly and radio, we are still spectacularly anonymous, even in South East London. A friend from Forest Hill had never heard of Welling (neither the team nor the place) despite having a sister who travelled through it on her way to Dartford Grammar School, although to be honest I’d only heard of Forest Hill as it used to be written on the front of the 122 bus. So if South East Londoners haven’t even heard of the place, it would be unfair to blame Wrexham fans for admitting to having to look us up on the internet. And the “No, not Wellingborough either” replies that I have to give are the inevitable result of coming from somewhere of such utter inconsequence (Wellingborough being famous for Frederic Henry Gravely, of course, who was very, very interested in spiders – Wikipedia again). If Kate Bush can’t put Welling on the map, no one can.

And pity poor Tranmere. Their year of living dangerously last time out has ended with a fun filled year in the Conference added to the diary. No doubt their poor travelling fans have been on the internet trying to find out where the hell we are (The Garden of England, ho ho ho!), and the Conference fixture pencil has punished them possibly more than is entirely necessary by sending them down here for an early kick-off and probable 5am leaving time, for their first taste of a properly crap non-league ground and non-league atmosphere. After they get back home after their monumentally crap day out they can say “I’ve just got back from Welling”, and can listen to the inevitable cries of “Where? Welwyn Garden City?”

They should pity us. Some of us have had a lifetime listening to that.


CAMRAG update (12/07/2020)

Hello everyone. It’s time for another update in support of our Campaign for Really Awful Graphics. This week we stay fairly local.

camrag 1
So close…

Hot on the heels of last week’s horror from Bexley United’s programme comes an example from an away game the club played. On 8th April 1967 they made the relatively short journey to the coast to take on Ramsgate Athletic in a Southern League First Division game. Although the game ended 2-2, the main talking point for supporters surely was this image on the front cover of the programme. It’s a more in keeping with actual match action when compared to Bexley’s effort from last week, but only just. Was it a glaring miss or a decent save? We’ll go for the former.

camrag 2
Studs up…

Next we venture through the pipe into Essex for the image taken from the cover of Billericay Town’s programme in the 1985/86. So we’ve gone forward nearly two decades on from Ramsgate’s effort. And have the graphics taken leaps forward in quality that are in line with the burgeoning technological advancements of the time? Clearly not. But this is a typical example of the time in English non-league football, with the quick sketch style reasonably prevalent. This example shows a particularly agricultural studs-up challenge aimed at the opposition player’s achilles. Roll-on to the next frame and the player in the foreground will be crumpled in a heap waiting for the stretcher bearers. That said, the assailant probably mistimed the challenge, got his studs stuck in the turf on impact and knackered his knee ligaments in the over extension caused by his momentum. Or something.

CAMRAG update (05/07/2020)

Happy Sunday, people. We hope you’re having a good weekend. One of the better things to come out of the TV coverage of football in its present state is that it has at least woken up some of the players, pundits, journos, etc. to the importance of the contribution that us, the fans, make to the beautiful game. Another is that we have turned off the TV to go in search of further examples to bolster our rejuvenated Campaign for Really Awful Graphics. And we’ve found a couple more for you.

First up, on the left, is a graphic from the cover of Parliament Street Methodist’s FC’s undated programme. Nope, we’re none the wiser either. But there’s something gloriously non-league about depicting a centre back seemingly getting an aerial challenge all wrong. The second graphic (right) comes from a bit closer to home as it originates from the cover of Bexley United’s programme in the 1968/69 season. Bexley United were, of course, our predecessors at PVR and we can only speculate that if the quality of football they offered up was depicted accurately by this image then it is little wonder that dwindling crowds led to their ultimate demise. Just what are the two players in the background doing?!

CAMRAG update

Not a bad sequence…

Our Campaign for Really Awful Graphics continues unabated. This time we bring you three more examples, which were found recently while trawling through the depths of eBay (don’t ask). The first, on the left, featured on the cover of Ardley United’s programme in 1998/99. So it could be considered as fairly modern and rather disturbing. We *think* it depicts a player attempting a back flick that would only end in tears at the level Ardley were playing, especially trying it with that odd shaped ball. Unfortunately we don’t have a date for the middle image, which comes from a Wotton Rovers programme. It’s a bit of an odd pose for the competing players and reminds us a little of Torvill and Dean’s Boléro. Or something. And finally, on the right, we have the graphic from Telford United’s programme in 1973/74. Good catch, massive right hand, great moustache. What more could you want? CAMRAG, it just keeps on giving.

From the archives – The Wingsaurus (Part 7)

Well, we’ve made it. Here’s Part 7 to complete the Wingsaurus, which covers the entries for V to Z that were originally published in WIE 40 and WIE 41 back in 2013. The whole thing was put together by Russ, White Socks, Tim and Terry. You’ll see that we’ve made a couple of amendments to update them. And now it’s over to you. We intend to include a significant update in our first issue back as and when the football resumes and we’re able to attend games again at PVR. So, please send your contributions to us at (or via the Contact page on our website).


FA Vase – Hmm. This wasn’t a great competition for the Wings. In the early 1980s when Tony Sitford was manager we were the highest ranking team in the Vase. A shoo-in for a decent run and Wembley glory. Until we drew the might of Three Bridges away and duly lost 1-0. The kick off was delayed because of the late arrival of the Wings supporters’ coach. In the end we wished that we had failed to find the ground.


WarrenTerry Warren – Former Wings striker who appeared on Blind Date in 1988. And maintained his abysmal scoring record. Absolute top bloke who sadly passed away in 2019. RIP Wizzer.

Mark Watson – Striker signed by Kevin Hales from Bournemouth in the summer of 1997, he looked a decent prospect in pre-season but was utterly shit once the real stuff started. Took three months to open his account, a tap-in he celebrated with a cupping-of-the-ear to the PVR faithful.

Lew Watts – Signed from Gravesend and Northfleet as a midfielder but converted to Wattsright (wing) back and then centre half by a succession of managers. Earned his ‘Bud Boy’ moniker through his extra-curricular activities that generally involved being spotted by fans downing several bottles of Bud in various local establishments. Was sponsored by WIE during our less than spectacular webzine period with the promise of a Bud for every goal he scored.

WebsdalePaul Websdale – Former chairman by virtue of his family ties. That being he is Pam’s brother-in-law. So he was the perfect choice for chairman given that he’s got a different surname to Hobbins. With Mark Goldberg’s arrival he moved on to an honorary position within the club that secured him access to free cups of tea and cake.

Welling Building Services – Announced the biggest sponsorship in non-league in the 1990s only to be trumped a few days later. Built the Exec Lounge as part of the deal.

cropped-new-emblemWIE – Us, the fanzine. Over 50 issues published and still limping along. Thank you to all our contributors and those of you who have bought copies over the years.

Wings – The team’s nickname. See here for the full story of how it was fallen upon.

WhiteStuart White – Right winger in the late 80s and early 90s, Whitey is third in the club’s appearance chart. Sadly perished in a car crash in South Africa in 2010, aged 47. RIP.

Woking – Their fans, known as the Tarquin Army to us, are narrow-minded and hugely deluded about the size of their club and the sumptuousness of their Kingfield home. To hear them talk about themselves you would think they were some sort of sleeping giant. As we know, Kingfield is a soulless collection of corrugated iron with one ridiculous stand dominating. Have become real rivals over the years.

Worcester City – Did the double over us in Southern League winning season. Their chairman Dave Boddy kicked up a fuss about playing on a Sunday in the Trophy in 2007. Turned up with more hangers-on than combined previous turnouts at PVR but were sent home with their tails between their legs when goals from Martin Carthy and Des Boateng overturned their early lead. The game ended on a sour note when Boddy threatened to report the Wings for failing to prevent his manager, Andy Preece, from storming the stand to confront the referees’ assessor, despite them dealing with the fatal stroke suffered by Graham Hobbins during the game.


X-rated challenges – Now we have had some for and some against in this category. My favourite being Duncan Horton and, in particular, the look of absolute fear on the face of ex Woking and Chelsea favourite Clive Walker anytime our Duncan got within ten yards of him!


Youth – The bedrock of Welling United FC over the years. Clubs our size are by their very nature selling ones and what better way to survive than by spotting, nurturing and developing your own talent. Many of those players listed in this Wingsaurus came through this very route. The YTS scheme that produced both Steve Finnan and Steve Barnes – and Dean Frost, less we forget – were probably the highlight.


RoweZeke Rowe – Or Ezekiel Bartholomew Rowe to give him his full name. Another in the long line of loanees from Uncle Barry Fry, he was brought in late in the 1998-99 season as the club attempted another Houdini act. Joined permanently in the summer, was on fire pre-season and then… he was shit. Had an impressive tattoo, erm, apparently.

Chris Zorivich – Kiwi who pitched up at PVR during Kevin Hales’ tenure. Played a mid-season friendly and one league game at home to Slough before buggering off. Went on to skipper the All Whites.

From the archives – WIE 32 (Part 2)

WIE 32As promised, we bring you the following article from WIE 32, which was originally published in August 2000…

Game for a Laugh

After selecting my all-time favourite Wings XI in the last issue, I set my mind to thinking about an all-time worst XI. I am sure that most of you will agree that this was a much harder selection, but I’ve finally come up with a team having whittled them down from a preliminary squad of 87!!

I should stress that this is a purely personal selection and consists of players who have appeared in the last ten years or so. My sincere apologies to anyone who is upset at being selected or not selected as the case may be. There are undoubtedly worse players than some of those listed below, but my team is based on performances in a Welling shirt and the amount of effort and commitment shown whilst playing for the Wings.

This team would adopt a very trendy 3-4-3 system and, in my opinion, would certainly be good fun to watch!!

Goalkeeper: Jeremy Parsons

This was probably the toughest selection of the lot with so many outstanding candidates to choose from. I was very tempted to pick the fans favourite Maurice Munden who, much to my horror, has actually played one game for the Wings. However the vote went to Jeremy or “Gluegloves” as he was affectionately christened by some fans. If you can’t recall him, think back to an FA Cup visit to Swansea where he almost single handedly turned a 2-1 halftime lead into a 2-5 defeat.

Centre Back: Steve Perkins

I have a theory that any ex-d*rtford players who turn out for the Wings deliberately set out to sabotage our club. This theory will be borne out by one of my later selections. Steve is obviously an automatic choice after his full Conference debut against Scouseport where he found the net twice before halftime (unfortunately the net that we were defending in the first half!). Sadly Super Kev denied him the chance of a hat-trick by substituting him although we did manage to score another og in the same game.

Centre Back: Christian Barrett

Quite possibly another unfamiliar name to some of you. A player who graduated through the Kent League, and in true Welling tradition, was chucked in at the deep end with very little experience. We had been promised great things by the Welling hierarchy but, alas, Christian disappeared after about 15 first team appearances. I do recall that he had a little party trick where he took throw-ins which never actually made it on to the field!!

Sweeper: Micky Crowe

Playing in the middle of the centre backs would be Mr Crowe. My fondest memory of him was during a home thrashing many years ago by a Stan Collymore inspired Stafford Rangers. Poor Micky was having a terrible time and actually proceeded to help the opposition by putting one in his own net. At this point, my dad exclaimed “Crowe, you’re the worst centre half I’ve ever seen”. Bearing in mind that he has seen a lot of football including a great deal of Sunday morning football, this was indeed quite a compliment!

Left Wing Back / Midfield: Michael Harle

It has not been my policy to select current players, but now that he has been released and as Phil Neville has never played for the Wings, then Michael can claim his place in the team. Although I only really attend home matches, I can’t recall him having a good game and I’ve certainly heard some horror stories about his performances away from PVR. Another master stroke to have a younger, skilful and more committed player for the same position but rely on the ex-pro instead. At the end of the season Harle released and Harney retained. Nuff said.

Right Wing Back / Midfield: Steve Finnan

Or to give him his full title Steve (you should see what he does in training) Finnan. This may be a shock to most fans but, when you think about it, he achieved very little playing for the first team. Admittedly he was hampered by a virus for a long spell but was a very frustrating performer. I suppose in the long term the club has benefited financially and certainly Steve is carving out a very promising league career so good luck to him. But purely on his displays for the Wings, no one could have suspected that a league career beckoned (Ah, but you should see what he…..zzzzz).

Midfield: Luke Anderson

Another one in a long line of stereotype Welling midfielders. Probably owes his selection to the lengths super Kev went to sign him, only to bomb him out after a few games! From the programme notes you would have thought we were signing Roy Keane, but, as usual, he was just another very ordinary player. Perhaps he was played out of position – as Ruthers was the first choice – but he failed to make an impression and I believe is now plying his trade with Gravesend??

RobboMidfield: Steve Robinson (Capt.)

John Still, the current Barnet manager, once famously remarked when in charge at d*rtford that Steve Robinson is “twice the player that Andy Townsend will ever be”. So, by my reckoning, Robbo should have over 100 international caps and have commanded transfer fees in the region of £10 million during his career. He was definitely past his sell by date when gracing the field at PVR and developed ‘Paul Ince’ syndrome of shouting at others all the time while ignoring his own deficiencies.

If nothing else, we now know John Still knows nothing about football

Again the striking positions were amongst the hardest to decide upon. Whilst we have had to endure countless lazy bastards filling the forward roles at PVR, I have picked my three on a similar basis – players who somewhere deep down have definitely got ability but were just unwilling to share it with us supporters. No doubt you will have your own personal preferences, but I think my three would give defenders countless hours of… SLEEP!!

Attack: Mark Watson

His Welling career started in that world famous match with CAFC for the prestigious Crown Paints Trophy! At the time “Watto” was trying to secure a contract and spent the entire 90 minutes harrying the life out of the Charlton defence. He was big, strong and powerful and I for one was delighted when he signed. From that point on he did absolutely nothing for the cause. He appeared disinterested and, despite pleas from his teammates, appeared unwilling to contribute anything. He went to Sutton where, last season, he fared no better and has this season signed for our old friends from Woking (Jae Martin has my sympathy).

Attack: Darren Adams

There was no way that I could leave my old favourite “Dazzlin” out of this line-up. Perhaps I was against him from the start after the great swap deal we engineered by sending Mark Hynes to Dover – another great move from super Kev. Again there was obviously some talent lurking there somewhere but, at our level, people want to see effort and commitment as well. Darren occasionally produced a touch of class but antagonised the fans with his lack of passion.

Attack: Paul Sykes

Another one who was described as a wonder boy and a definite star of the future. There was undoubtedly potential there but, like his fellow two strikers in this team, his end of year report would say “very lazy and could do better”. Now plying his trade at Margitt although I believe he has suffered a long term injury. I know that the few hardy souls who travelled to Halifax some years back would be keen to see Paul again after his David Coulthard style salute to the travelling fans!!

Substitute: Les Cleevely

Almost claimed the number one shirt in his own right, but I feared reprisals if he was selected!! It is quite possible that our paths might cross again in the future so at least we may have the chance to marvel at his escapades and not be on the receiving end ourselves. The back pass rule change has not really helped Les as he tries to dribble around opposition forwards with very little success.

Substitute: Gary Collins

In keeping with a balanced team selection, here is another goalkeeper. Perhaps not a familiar name to some but a legend in his own household. I will always remember Gary for making ordinary saves look so spectacular and for one famous incident in particular. Long suffering Wings fans may remember a match at PVR in our Southern League days against Bedworth. Gary, upon “hearing” a phantom whistle put the ball down for a free kick only for the opposition striker to gleefully slam it into an empty net!! The goal stood and Gary’s cult status at PVR was assured.

Substitute: Maurice Munden

A disappointment no doubt to only make the bench, but after only one appearance it would be harsh to include him (wouldn’t it??). Maurice’s banter with the crowd was legendary and such gems as “I know where you lot drink” often caused great amusement with Wings fans. If it is any consolation at not making the starting line-up for this particular team then I’m sure that, at most other clubs, Maurice would undoubtedly have been first choice in their worst ever line-ups!

Manager: Kevin “INQ” Hales

This was clearly the easiest selection of the lot as he ‘inflicted’ a number of these players upon us. It also explains why we only need three subs as we never had five towards the end of last season as “INQ” picks his best XI and sticks with them through thin and, erm, thinner. At least I’ve selected three goalkeepers on the bench as with this team he would probably need them!

HalesI was intending to have a right good rant about “INQ” but, on reflection, I’m just bloody glad that he has gone although we will obviously miss his “extensive list of contacts” (what a pisser that was!). I just pray that we draw Stevenage in a competition next season and, regardless of the result, the whole Welling support can show him just what they really think of him.

White Socks

From the archives – WIE 32 (Part 1)

This week we look back at WIE 32 from August 2000; the final issue of the fanzine. Erm, well, that is until 2010 and the small matter of the club having a large, unpaid HMRC bill forced our return again with WIE 33.

WIE 32This was a 32-page issue that “celebrated” the club’s relegation to the Southern League from the Conference after a 15-year stay, by hook or by crook, at the top of the non-league pyramid. But the real celebration for us, as reflected by the front cover, was Kevin “I’m no quitter” Hales’ decision to, erm, quit as manager. Mind you, he shouldn’t have had the option as he should have been sacked the moment our fate was decided at Hednesford. But, heh. All of which was covered in my editorial along with a plea to join the newly formed Independent Supporters Association.

A Wycombe supporting old work colleague of mine provided the next article titled ‘Fantasy Island’ in which he commented on the impact football clubs have on their supporters. This was based on his observations of me following Hales’ departure and the speculation on who might be his replacement. Apparently, I wasn’t in a good place! The fantasy was the names being handed about in hope rather than expectation.

Next, ‘Where did it all go wrong?’ by an unidentified author, which focused on three home games they thought had a significant contribution towards our relegation; the 2-2 draw with Altrincham in October, the 3-2 defeat to Sutton United in November, and the 1-1 draw with Dover Athletic in January. Next was an article by “Darren – behind the goal” who gave us the lowdown on football in Essex following his move through the pipe a couple of years beforehand. He concentrated on his visits to Canvey Island and, the sadly now defunct, Purfleet. Darren’s piece was followed by our review of the 1999/2000 season, which given that we were relegated, was a tough read.

We then challenged the Kentish Times – blimey, remember when local papers were a thing? – and their coverage of Hales’ departure. He was basically given carte blanche to give his side of the story and wasn’t challenged on his appalling record in the dugout. No, the KT certainly wasn’t the home of hard-hitting journalism.

White Socks then provided that true staple of the fanzine, his all-time worst Wings XI. And, so glorious was it, that we will bring you this article in full tomorrow. His choices brought a surprise or two but were based on their performances in a Wings shirt and nothing else. Anyway, pour yourself a stiff drink before reading it is our advice!

The centre spread was given over to a comparison between the teams in the Southern League that we were joining to our last time there in the 1985/86 season. We’d only be saying hello again to Fisher, Folkestone, and King’s Lynn. Trips to the likes of Bedworth and Gosport had been replaced by clubs such as Burton and Ilkeston. Deep joy.

An article titled “The British Disease” wasn’t about hooliganism, but about the perceived mental fragility of top British sportsmen and their inability to deliver when required. White Socks then provided another thought-provoking piece which analysed the timing of our goals for and against the previous season. It turned out that we’d thrown away a minimum of ten points in the final 15 minutes of games, which would have kept us up comfortably. Oh well.

Another unnamed correspondent reviewed Kevin Hales’ tenure and was positively upbeat about his departure. So much so that he or she had bought a season ticket for the first time in 16 years. Now that was a statement! Martin Kay then reminisced about his one season (1990/91) watching the Wings before he moved to Scotland and his visits to PVR then being few and far between. Get in touch Martin if you still follow the club’s fortunes.

In what was the issue of the unnamed correspondent, another one speculated on where the club went from there following the relegation with the hope that it would be the catalyst for better times. Hmm. This was followed by a space filling graphic welcoming Rambo back to the club following his appointment as manager shortly before WIE went to print.

The issue meandered towards its conclusion with our Euro 2000 diary, another short piece celebrating Hales’ departure (talk about a dominant theme!) and, finally, the fanzine’s own obituary. After eight years it was 32 issues and out…