Friday, 26 June 2015

DONATION: Help a historic club prepare for their 125th anniversary!

I'm writing this intro after I finished this article just to say I hope I get my point 
over well. It's a lengthy post but it's one that comes from the heart and isn't a typical article you'd normally see me write. Hopefully you enjoy the read!


It's currently 1:15am in the morning and I was going to leave this write-up until later in the day today (Friday) but have decided to start it early. You may have seen my article on Wallsend Red Devils a few weeks back which in turn was highly-praised by the club and several people who aren't even affiliated with that particular club.

After writing that article on such a history-laden club I was going to do a similar one about West Wallsend as they prepared for their FFA Cup encounter with Jesmond F.C. Part of me would have liked to have seen Westy overcome the odds and reach the national stage of the FFA Cup but ultimately they hit a wall in the form of Broadmeadow Magic.

Even though I play for and support Cooks Hill United, I've been an ardent follower of Broadmeadow Magic since I got into the local football scene and now I'm involved with the club as their media manager of sorts so I certainly enjoyed the 13-0 victory on Sunday but the sizable victory didn't exactly feel as good as you'd think. I felt sorry for the Bluebells.

West Wallsend's fans not long ago were watching their side play in the top-flight at Johnston Park or Wembley as some call it and now they have to watch that same proud club receive a 13-0 defeat at the hands of a first-grade side. This was just a week after losing 8-1 to New-FM powerhouse Lake Macquarie City.

Some might think I'm putting these scores up here to "take the piss" or embarrass the Bluebells but I'm putting them there to remind them of this low point because they'll bounce back. They'll bounce back and look back on this as a low point in their history but one that will be avenged.

I'm going to a completely different sport here but it's a good example as I'm a life-long fan and a member of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the NRL. Mighty Manly came anxiously close to folding in the late 90's and were forced to disgracefully merge with their arch rivals North Sydney Bears and move half of their games to Gosford.

Manly went through those tough years and only last week I was thinking of the 2008 Grand Final win (40-0 if you need reminding) and I sitting there hearing Ray Warren in my head talking about the low-points they'd overcome to reach the pinnacle. I know I'm talking about a rugby league team from Sydney on a football/soccer article in Newcastle but take that lesson Westy, things can change over time.

I know the club experienced the worst possible outcome when they were dumped out of the top-flight in 1996 but they'd make it back. West Wallsend are a side that will never throw in the towel. They might get smashed as exampled last week but they'll keep coming back and going for it again and again.

I'm going to link an article to The Herald and something I have very rarely ever done is link other websites on here but this is necessary. Read this article from early last year and try not to feel some sort of emotion. Whether it be a small amount of relief or just happiness. This article is a feel-good one at that.

That's just how close it was. I'll admit it I only really got into the New-FM competition this year when Cooks Hill were promoted but even in early 2014 I saw this whole ordeal unfold and was happy to see it end with the Bluebells staying in their rightful spot, in the New-FM 1st Division.

They had no players, no coach and they somehow managed to get a team together. I won't get into last year's results as they're pretty self-explanatory but I'll remind you that the Bluebells were inside the top four earlier this season and were one of the form teams.

They've lost some form in the last two months or so and I've heard one or two people say that it's due to injuries and omissions but being an outsider I can't really comment on that. What I do know is that Westy will be back in 2016, better than ever and ready to steal the headlines in their 125th anniversary year.

From where they were last year to where they are now is a massive step. They were one game away from potentially playing an A-League team in the FFA Cup Round of 32 and until a month and half ago, they were in deep contention to make the New-FM finals. Of course the finals are still mathematically possible but it'll be tough from here.

The future is bright at West Wallsend though. I was impressed with the quality of their Under 17's when I saw them play a few weeks back and their 19's aren't doing too badly either so they've got players who'll maybe one day step up and fill a spot in the first grade squad.

I saw a bit in that Herald article about the federation wanting players to 'want' to play for Westy and not 'get paid' to play for Westy. People out that way are passionate. Passionate about their sport and passionate about where they hail from. 

I'm sure there's been many ups and downs over the 125-year history and at the moment it's a bit tough but West Wallsend won't fold...they can't fold, it's simply not in their blood to throw in the towel. They just keep going and going and keep aiming for success.

I'll link the Facebook post they put up earlier tonight in a second but first I'll talk about it. I was a bit stunned to see how they're aiming to reach the NPL competition in the next few seasons but then I thought, why the hell not. There's no point in being there to make up the numbers, you've got to aim to be the best and aiming to reach the NPL says a lot about this club. They're confident about their future and their club.

The club have started a donation appeal in an attempt to raise some funds and improve their ground at Johnston Park and try and start building the foundations for a serious push towards "big-time" football in the Northern NSW National Premier Leagues, why not!

If every New-FM team aim for promotion the competition will become stronger. Sure the gulf in class is still evident but year by year it should start to close as the New-FM sides start to blood their own youngsters now that the Under 17's competition is in place. It's a great competition for those who have yet to see it.

Working with Broadmeadow Magic, I can tell you that they're "winners" as new Jets coach Scott Miller would say. Magic didn't get there without hard work though. They built their ground up and build the foundation for the level that they're on today. 

It was only a year or two ago that Magic had a donation drive to upgrade their lighting at Magic Park. Last year they hosted Fox Sports and were featured live on national television because they had the facilities and the lighting to accommodate all the cameras and what not. That's aspiring to be successful.

Now don't get me wrong, Westy won't be hosting Fox Sports within the next year or two but maybe down the track they could be big enough for that. Why not! They once played a touring Canadian side back in the 1920's and they've produced over 20 internationals. Success is in their blood.

I'm not writing this article to get praise. That's not what I did with the Wallsend article and that's not what I'm doing here. I'm writing this to bring attention to one of the oldest football clubs in the region. 

My advice to Westy is to keep plugging at it, eventually things will turn and the success will come. They need juniors in the West Wallsend area to see the club's ambitions and want to play for that Bluebells badge and play in the blue and white. 

Anyway I've been going on for a good forty minutes so bed sounds nice about nice. I'll be donating on behalf of and I'm not sure on the amount yet but it'll be generous to say the very least. I'm not asking and they're certainly not asking for an 'everyday Joe' or 'little Johnny' to donate hundreds of dollars but if every-one who reads this chips in a little bit, they'll get that target eventually. So please give generously.

I'm going to be a bit controversial here and say that the NPL sides like Broadmeadow and Hamilton Olympic and even the Lambton Jaffas have too much of the limelight when it comes to media attention and funding. I know I work for Magic but they don't need donations as badly as some clubs do.

West Wallsend is a footballing heartland and I'm not a big fan of seeing their juniors along with other clubs' juniors get poached by the NPL clubs or even the Emerging Jets. Your child learnt how to kick a football at West Wallsend, not the Emerging Jets. Support this historic club and help them return to the top-tier they once graced for over a century.

Here's the link to the original West Wallsend Facebook post:

Here's the link to the GoFundMe donation page:

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