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Village football club needs your help

Posted onPosted on 29th Oct

Dates are the signposts we use on our journey through life — birthdays, anniversaries, and memorable events, writes Paul Fryer.

For those of us in Rainworth aged over 50, one of those dates would probably be Saturday, 8th May, 1982.

That was the day little old Rainworth Miners’ Welfare Football Club played in the FA Vase Final at Wembley Stadium as most of Rainworth and the surrounding villages took the opportunity to have a ‘special day’ out.

More than 5,000 fans had witnessed the semi-final home leg at Kirklington Road, when Rainworth defeated Barton Rovers 2-1 to reach Wembley — an attendance that remains an FA Vase record for ties held outside the Wembley final.

It was estimated that on the day of the final at least double that number made the trip to Wembley to support the club.

The FA Vase was established in 1974, replacing the FA Amateur Cup. In 1982, Rainworth were the first and so far only miners’ welfare team to have graced the final. They also share a rare distinction of being one of the few teams who reached the final to still paying subs to play.

Life for Rainworth MWFC since those heady days in 1982 has been mixed. There have been periods of success, when a string of promotions in the late 2000s and early 2010s saw then reach Step 4 in the FA pyramid — that would be Level 8 if you think of the Premier League as Level 1.

However, after battling above their weight for five seasons, playing teams with large crowds and budgets, Rainworth took ‘voluntary relegation’ to Step 5 for the club to survive financially — and not long after a further voluntary relegation to Step 6, the level they play at today.

Those decisions were a major factor in helping the club reach its centenary in 2022.

Today the club is run by a small band of volunteers, who consider themselves custodians for the future of football in the community. Sadly, that number is small and there is an urgent need for an injection of ‘new blood’ to come on board.

Anyone interested in joining the committee would be most welcome and should either pop down to the ground on matchdays or most mornings, from 9.30am to 11am.