Last Year’s Final

After many attempts to continue tradition of holding the East Riding Senior Cup final at the KCOM Stadium, SuperStadium Management Company, who hold the lease to the stadium, refused permission, leading to the final being held at Hall Road Ranger’s ground, Haworth Park.

Naturally the teams involved, and especially the players, who had worked hard to earn their right to play a game in a fantastic stadium, were thoroughly disappointed. No disrespect meant towards Hall Road, but there’s no comparing the two facilities. Due to the differences in investment between grassroots/non-league and the top couple of leagues in the country there’s vast differences.

Still, the final went ahead and the general idea was that the final would go ahead at the KCOM Stadium the following year.

This Year’s Final

Given the twelve months of time to plan, acquire funding and sponsorship, and arrange this year’s East Riding Senior Cup, you would expect some form of agreement to be able to be met between the East Riding FA and SMC (SuperStadium Management Company).

In a statement on the Bridlington Town AFC website, Peter Smurthwaite tells us he received an email confirming availability of the stadium for the final, yet the local FA could not afford for the cup final to be held there. Through hard work, and determination to set things right, Smurthwaite managed to raise the funds needed to get the game to go ahead.

Then, in an unexpected turn of events, the East Riding FA contacted Smurthwaite to tell him the date is suddenly not available due to a miscommunication.

For that reason the final would now be held at the East Riding FA’s own facilities on Inglemire Lane.

Roy West Centre

With so many finer facilities locally, this being the best they could come up with is a farce in itself. Many local clubs have much better facilities, including Bridlington Town, North Ferriby United, Hall Road Rangers, even a quick trip over the Humber to Barton Town’s ground would have been an improvement over holding the final at the training pitch-esque ground situated at East Riding FA’s facilities.

There’s a very limited parking area, not suitable for the 300+ that attended the final, coupled with the numerous other games being held in neighbouring fields at the same time. The facilities are questionable at best, with limited access to food and drink, and toilet facilities not capable of handling crowds of over 100.

Finally there’s the floodlights. It wouldn’t have been a surprise if the officials had asked the fans to turn their phone torches on to improve the lighting on the pitch. The lights emit an orange-yellow “playing on the street at night” kind of light, not suitable for more than a friendly kick around.

Marley The Tea-Cup Yorkshire Terrier

With great disappointment the cup final finally got underway. At least for the majority of fans that made the trip. One fan, Julie Paylor, whose son plays for Bridlington Town, brought her tea-cup Yorkshire Terrier, Marley, to the game.

Marley is very well known to Bridlington Town fans. Somewhat an unofficial mascot, he attends home and away games, rain or shine, and is quite possibly the calmest dog you will ever meet.

Unfortunately, due to reasons unknown (except to the steward and Competition Secretary), Marley was not allowed into the ground to watch the final. After making the 140 mile round trip to the game it was apparently against the rules for a dog to enter the ground (calling it a stadium would be a joke in itself). Before we continue, we should probably take a look at the vicious and dangerous dog that was now allowed in. Meet Marley:

Marley Bridlington Town AFC
Marley, in his favourite seat. (Image © Julie Paylor)

“That Isn’t My Problem”

After asking why dogs were not allowed, when Marley was gladly given entry to the Semi-Final a month prior, after making the 70 mile trip to the game, the Competition Secretary said “that isn’t my problem”.

Suffering the indignation of being refused entry to a football match between two local clubs, with no hint of violence flaring up during the game, wasn’t enough. The only way Julie could see her son play in the cup final was through the bars of the neighbouring pitch.

If the shame of having to watch through bars wasn’t enough for the East Riding FA, there was the ongoing questions why she was watching through the bars at all. Was she avoiding paying the £6 entry fee (a cash grab in itself)? Was she banned?

Sadly common sense in the East Riding FA is not, in fact, common. There’s no way Marley was going to cause any harm to any of the fans, officials, or players. Most of us haven’t seen his legs, let alone his teeth.

Not Fit For Purpose

Unfortunately the East Riding FA are no longer fit for purpose. They offer no protection or support to the teams in the region (see the 5 players poached illegally by North Ferriby United from Bridlington Town).

They cannot even secure a venue for their own cup final, given a year’s worth of planning time. It has to be questioned what their actual purpose is, other than to fund themselves and their staff.

No Reply At All

We tried to contact the East Riding FA before writing this article, offering them the chance to have their say on the matter, or perhaps elaborate on the events. Sadly they have blocked our Twitter page, and have not answered our messages on Facebook (after reading them).

We asked only, if given the time, they would be willing to share their side of the story. They did not answer after reading the messages.

We can only hope that the FA will take the time (though busy as they are with the World Cup approaching) to look into the farce that represents them locally.