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Naive question

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Naive question
« on: October 20, 2013, 06:53:35 PM »
In posting this, I should first declare an interest – I was a highly dedicated supporter of Aylesbury United from early childhood until the birth of my children. I invested more time and effort than was healthy, following the team home and away over nearly 30 years.

I was present at a lot of key events – some of the last games at Turnfurlong, the first game at Buckingham Road, winning the Southern League, FA Cup occasions and so on. When Sir Cliff of Hercules did the Duck Walk, Kingstonian 1994, I was there.

I contributed to life around the club – first informally, and later in a more “official” capacity.

I stopped being actively involved about 10 years ago – mainly because of the time pressures created by building a young family and trying to progress my career – but also because it seemed to me that the regime in charge of the club at the time were wilfully running it down.

Put simply, I used to go to football for a bit of fun, a good-natured sing-song and a bit of escapism. It wasn’t fun any more – it had become an emotional drain. I didn’t have the time and energy for that… and I still don’t.
 
Back in the mists of time, there was never any question which team I would support – Aylesbury United was my home town club.

I don’t live in Aylesbury any more, but I live close enough that I could come to games on occasion – particularly since my children are now older, and at least one of them might want to come along.

Except – Aylesbury United no longer plays in what was my home town. Thankfully, it still plays, and from what I can see, seems to have turned a corner both in terms of results, and of having people in charge of the club with its best interest at heart.

But there is now another home town club, called Aylesbury FC. I don’t know much about Aylesbury FC - it seems pretty impressive that they are at the level they have reached – but with an average attendance of less than 150 this season, they hardly seem to be capturing the town’s imagination.

So – there are two Aylesbury clubs.

Both at the same level of the pyramid – about four levels below where the town’s club once played.

And both getting attendances, even when they are playing each other, of less than a quarter of what the town’s club used to get on a regular basis.

I had a look at some recent postings on the forum of both clubs – many have a depressing air about them, I’m afraid – a lot of pretty childish “us and them” stuff from both sides – for every petty reference to “Bedfordshire Nomads” there’s something equally petty about “Haywoods” or “Stocklake”.

Now I realise I am being wilfully naïve here. And I realise that there will be 10 years of back story with which I have made little effort to keep up. But…

-   One Aylesbury club has a proud history and, attendance figures would suggest, greater latent support
-   The other Aylesbury club has a base in the town.

So one club has what the other one could never have, and the other club has what the other one desperately needs.

So, why are there two clubs? Could there ever be just one? Or are there too many egos involved?

As well as providing me with some education about what I’ve missed, I hope this post triggers some reasoned debate.

Looking forward to enlightenment…

Re: Naive question
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 09:07:37 PM »
pull on tin hat and Duck  ??? ???

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Ian

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 09:21:48 PM »
No need for that Cheshfan, things are looking bright for the future, the club is on the up!

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Prez!

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2013, 09:43:08 PM »
Burnley, a town with a population roughly the same as Aylesbury Vale has a fully fledged (ex Premiership) proffesional club. Dunstable & Biggleswade, to name just two local towns support two clubs at around our level.
Whatever my personal view on the other lot, there is, surely, room for both, and, I would like to think that will always be the case.
I think there is room for both.
A law unto himself since 1960.

Re: Naive question
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2013, 10:07:07 PM »
Both clubs are too proud to become one:

Utd has the fan base, history and reputation. People will always say: 'Aylesbury FC, you mean Aylesbury United?'.

FC are proud too. They have built a strong club from very little an cemented themselves at step 4. They're proud to be playing in the town at a senior level while being such a junior side.

If there is in the future only one Ayleabury side, it'll be because the other has folded.

Both clubs are both (rightfully too )proud for a merger.

Hopefully a move back to the town is on the cards for the Ducks!

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Lee

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 09:58:59 AM »
The naivety of some at AFC when it comes to United returning home is laughable. AUFC will return home at some point and when they do it could spell the return of South Midlands League football to Haywood Way as there will be such a fan fare of publicity at the return of the town's proper club most casual supporters will forget all about them (if they were aware of them in the first place).

AFC are a flash in the pan for me, I don't think they'll ever fold or anything like that but I do feel the division they are in at the minute is as far as they can go. The people of Aylesbury just aren't interested as they haven't done anything the Ducks haven't done in the past (statistically the Ducks even got out of the South Midlands league with a better record than them). 


Re: Naive question
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 01:44:03 PM »
When will we return though? Is it realistic? I'd love to see it happen!

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Liam

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 02:47:28 PM »
The naivety of some at AFC when it comes to United returning home is laughable. AUFC will return home at some point and when they do it could spell the return of South Midlands League football to Haywood Way as there will be such a fan fare of publicity at the return of the town's proper club most casual supporters will forget all about them (if they were aware of them in the first place).

AFC are a flash in the pan for me, I don't think they'll ever fold or anything like that but I do feel the division they are in at the minute is as far as they can go. The people of Aylesbury just aren't interested as they haven't done anything the Ducks haven't done in the past (statistically the Ducks even got out of the South Midlands league with a better record than them). 



Really?  Personally I can't see how without FC being involved as well.  The council said if they were to help then both clubs would need to be involved and we know that's never going happen.  Also where would a new ground be built?  The college talk has gone on for so long it looks unlikely it would be there. 

Maybe a trick was missed with the Arla dairy.  Part of their plans could have been to include a sports facility where AUFC could play and be sponsored by the dairy.  Arla would then instantly have a connection with the local town and the football club would have somewhere to play.

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Lee

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 03:15:54 PM »
You have a point, I've long thought that both clubs sharing a new facility would make such a venture more attractive to the authorities and any investors (income every Saturday / midweek rather than every other Saturday / midweek etc).

That having been said I'd much rather it was a last resort in order to get the Ducks home. It's pretty obvious both clubs would prefer to work independently of each other.

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Graham D

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 03:54:43 PM »
OMG not again . There will be no groundshare , no merger and AUFC will return to Aylesbury .

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Luke

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 03:57:40 PM »
Grounds seen Aylesbury at: 186 | Steel Park, Corby
Total grounds: 249 | Last new: Alfred Hall Memorial Ground, Eynesbury

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Lee

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 04:05:03 PM »
OMG not again . There will be no groundshare , no merger and AUFC will return to Aylesbury .

This is what happens when there's no midweek game to talk about!!

Re: Naive question
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2013, 04:30:06 PM »
The fact that the club turned down the opportunity to buy back Buckingham Road last season shows how confident they are in returning to the town. If they made that decision I have every confidence in them.

We are a well run club, with an excellent committee who have taken us this far already, and a good supporters association.

If the club are to return to the Town, there is no one I'd be more confident in.

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Prez!

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2013, 06:07:45 PM »
The naivety of some at AFC when it comes to United returning home is laughable. AUFC will return home at some point and when they do it could spell the return of South Midlands League football to Haywood Way as there will be such a fan fare of publicity at the return of the town's proper club most casual supporters will forget all about them (if they were aware of them in the first place).

AFC are a flash in the pan for me, I don't think they'll ever fold or anything like that but I do feel the division they are in at the minute is as far as they can go. The people of Aylesbury just aren't interested as they haven't done anything the Ducks haven't done in the past (statistically the Ducks even got out of the South Midlands league with a better record than them). 

Kind of sums it up for me, really.
A law unto himself since 1960.

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Ian

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Re: Naive question
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2013, 03:59:05 PM »
This isn’t going to be a tale of “us against them”, as others have pointed out, both clubs have a legitimate right to exist alongside each other, in a (hopefully) friendly rivalry.  When the Ducks do return to their home town, perhaps we will see which club truly is the stronger, on and off the pitch.  One thing is for sure, both can exist sided by side and no doubt the rivalry will continue and drive each club on to prove themselves the top dog!  Any talk of a merger between the 2 clubs is pretty much dead in the water because of personal differences between the major personalities on both sides - but I don’t see either club (Board or fans) really moaning too much about that.

As a former fan of the Ducks, you probably know more about the history than I do, so no need to reinforce that.  Suffice to say since the day Bill Carroll sold Buckingham Rd from beneath our feet, the club descended on a downward spiral, on and off the pitch, relying on ground shares with Chesham and now Leighton to continue operating.  Without the massive input and enthusiasm of Graham Read (and John Newman until a couple of years ago), there really would be no AUFC to even be talking about today.  21CD was formed to help out behind the scenes, and every penny that is raised by our members goes directly to supporting the club’s expenses, on and off the pitch.

We are only now starting to see the fruits of Graham’s labours.  On the pitch, under a fantastic management team, the fans have at long last had plenty to cheer about over the past 18 months.  They have built a competitive squad, with a team spirit second to none in my time watching the Ducks.  Only the team that Hercy and Terry Back put together came anywhere close for me.  Having been relegated from the Southern League, Tony Joyce and his team have gone from strength to strength, gaining experience and more importantly winning games, winning Trophies and gaining promotion back to the Southern League.  This season, the game against Aylesbury FC aside, no one can claim that the team hasn’t played well and proved their worth back at this level.  The crowds certainly back it up, averaging 190 this season at home (opposed to 119 at AFC), proving that the latent Ducks fans are starting to return, obviously seeing for themselves the progress that is being made and the potential for the future.

Off the pitch, plans are being put in place to return the club to the town.  While I hear plenty of people question when and where it will happen, I trust the Board when they say progress is being made.  As with many things that happen in business, plans are often sensitive and can’t be released for general consumption for fear of being compromised.  However, from my discussions with those in the know, AUFC fans have plenty to look forward to in regard to getting a base back in Aylesbury.  When that happens, I am sure we will see that average attendance double – for example, when we played AFC at Leighton this season, the attendance of 476 was made up predominately of AUFC fans.

What I find sad about AUFC’s plight is that we have lost a lot of fans who used to make that ritual visit to Buckingham Rd (and Turnfurlong before that) every time there was a home match.  There are a multitude of reasons for that, some can’t afford to make the journey, some physically can’t make the trip and others maybe don’t want the inconvenience of doing so.  Some have just drifted away and found something else to do on a Saturday afternoon (MK Dons or WWFC maybe).  However, I refuse to believe that the majority of those don’t look for the Duck's result after each game, either on our excellent website (second to none at this level and comparable with many at a higher level of the football pyramid), or read the report in the local press.  Those who supported from a long time back will retain that fondness for the club that may well be rekindled when we return to town.  The ones that I find it hard to accept are those that changed their allegiance to the other team in town because it was more convenient to do rather than retain their loyalty.  I wonder how many will return again in the future?

What can those who waver (like yourself Once and Future fan) do now to help your club?  Well, come along on a Saturday afternoon and sample the atmosphere and excitement generated on the pitch.  On Saturday we play Slough - one of the classic rivalries in the time I have been supporting the team.  What better time to pay a visit, bound to be a great crowd and hopefully a great match.  You will see a committed team and fanatical supporters who all want success and a positive future for the club.  Going further, take out membership of 21CD – just £10 for the season.  Our AGM is just around the corner, on 31st October.  You could come along and hear for yourself the positivity that is coming out of the club these days.

Sorry it’s been such a long post, but hopefully it gives a taste of what the future holds for our club.  Things are looking up!