Regular readers of our fanzine will be aware that we produced two issues – WIE 55 and WIE 56 – during lockdown. Both were online editions, which we made available for free.
These issues are no longer available online. But thanks to our wonderful printer we have a handful of both now available in our usual hard copy format.
And if you’re attending the game against Eastbourne Borough at PVR you might want to take up our special offer. You can get your hands on the new issue – WIE 57 – and both lockdown editions for just £2*. Yup, you read that right, just £2. See our sellers either outside the ground or in the bars before the game.
If you can’t get to PVR on Saturday and want to take us up on this offer then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for our postal rates.
As many of you know, during the height(s) of the pandemic we published two online editions of the WIE. Issue 55 was made available in November 2020 and issue 56 in February 2021. Thanks to our printer we have been able to have a limited number of both issues printed, which we can now make available to purchase. Both are priced at £1. Please email us at email@example.com for full details, including postage options.
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.
Hello everyone. It’s time for another update in support of our Campaign for Really Awful Graphics. This week we stay fairly local.
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.
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.
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?!
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
Terry 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 right (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.
Paul 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.
WIE – 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.
Stuart 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.
Zeke 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.