Monday, February 20, 2012

Club Focus - Cornard United

On Saturday I'm planning on a trip to Thetford to see them take on Cornard United. Thetford who were running away with the First Division of the Eastern Counties League have had a bit of a wobble lately, but after a 9-0 win in the Norfolk Senior Cup at the weekend and the fact that Cornard are bottom of the league they will be confident of picking up the points.

Cornard are not one of the leagues oldest clubs having been formed only in 1964 when they joined the Sudbury Sunday League. In 1966 they joined division 3 of the Bury and District League and in 1970 they joined division 6 of the Colchester and East Essex League. In 1976 they joined the Essex and Suffolk Border League after having climbed up to Division 2 in C&EE League.

Cornard's most successful period came at the end of the 1980s and start of the 90s. In 1988-9 they won the Suffolk Border League, League Cup and Suffolk Senior Cup. The following season after gaining promotion to the Eastern Counties League Division 1 they were promoted again as Champions. It was during this period that Cornard fielded several 'golden' oldies. When I saw the list of some of these ex-players for the first time I thought that maybe they had developed some raw talent, but it turns out they became a bit of a rest home for ex-professionals during this period.

The players who turned out for United during this period included Gary Brooke who played for Spurs, Robbie Devereux once of Ipswich and Colchester and Tom English who turned out for Coventry and Leicester. Perhaps the biggest name though was Mark Falco, who had a very successful period in the 80s at Spurs and also turned out for Rangers when Rangers had money to blow. He also went straight from league football with Millwall to join Cornard rather than having spent time kicking around the non league scene beforehand. He always sticks in my mind for having an argument with Villa fans and then saying he was going to sink them on his own. In the resulting game he had a howler and Villa won 3-0. Despite having made his name as a striker his most memorable performance for Cornard was when he played as an emergency goalkeeper in an FA Vase game in 1993 against Felixstowe & Walton. Cornard won 2-0 and Falco was man of the match.

The good times came to an end in 1996 when Cornard were relegated back to Division 1 where they have been ever since. In 2001 they tried to change their name to Sudbury Borough, but it was blocked by the parish council (I don't know what it had to do with them either).

Things don't seem to be going too well at the moment, although the chairman seems to be intent on getting some publicity for the club. A few weeks ago he was in the Suffolk Free Press saying that an ex- England international was about to take over as manager, but he couldn't say who it was. I'm not sure if it was hot air or if Falco is making another comeback.

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