Archive for July, 2011

Brightlingsea Regent XI 4 Tottenham Hotspur Legends 2

30-07-11: Brightlingsea Regent XI 4 Tottenham Hotspur Legends 2 (Friendly) North Road, Brightlingsea, Essex

Western Promenade, Bateman's Tower & Beach Huts

With a population around the eight-and-a-half thousand mark Brigthlingsea sits on the estuary of the River Colne, 10 miles south-east of Colchester and eight miles west of Clacton on Sea. Once known for its oystery fishery and shipbuilding industries these have all but vanished although the town does have a marina and a recently refurbished yacht club to retain a ‘working’ link with the sea. You may remember the series of protests against the live export of animals through the town in 1995 that became collectively known as the ‘Battle of Brighlingsea’ and kept the local Police busy for some nine months.

The western promenade, which is overlooked by Bateman’s Tower, boasts hundreds of beach huts and a 1930’s open air swimming pool. Although nowhere near as grand as Ipswich’s Art Deco Lido at least it’s still functioning. The tower (which leans in a similar fashion to its more famous counterpart in Pisa) was built in 1883 by John Bateman as a folly for his daughter as she recovered from consumption.

Tottenham Hotspur Legends

Former Ipswich captain and midfielder Matt Holland swore by the healing powers of the sea water here. Football’s Mr Indestructible regularly paddled along the beach at the Essex coastal town following manager George Burley’s recommendation of salt-water therapy to a reduce the swelling in a ankle injury. He’d picked up the knock during the home match with Manchester United – Town’s first following their return to the Premiership in 2000 – to put in jeopardy a remarkable record of 171 consecutive appearances in Cup and League games. But the treatment worked and Holland went on to extend the run to 223 consecutive appearances for the Blues!

Steve Sedgley a midfield predecessor of Holland’s at Portman Road is probably more commonly associated with Spurs and Coventry than with Ipswich. In a playing career that spanned fourteen seasons he made 84 league appearances for Coventry, 164 for Tottenham, 105 for Town and a further 106 for Wolves. He picked up two FA Cup winners medals, one with Coventry as an unused substitute in the Sky Blue’s 3–2 defeat of Spurs in the 1987 final, and one four years later, with Spurs this time, as the North Londoners beat Forest 2-1.

Steve Sedgley

Ipswich paid £1 million for Sedgley in the Summer of 1994 and he spent three eventful seasons in Suffolk as Town were relegated a year later, just missed out on the play-offs in 1996 and were close to a Wembley appearance in 1997 but lost out to Sheffield United in a heartbreaking play-off semi-final second leg. His languid playing style saw him spend most games wandering seemingly disinterested around the centre circle before coming to life to make a crucial tackle or to ping an inch perfect pass out to the flanks.

And that’s pretty much how he played this afternoon as he and a Tottenham Hostpur Legends side took on Brigthlingsea Regent – new members for the coming season of the Ridgeons League – in a Charity match in aid of ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’. While I recognised many of his teams mates faces, and their names as the teams were called out over the tannoy, I can’t claim to be able to match one with the other. Perhaps a passing Spurs fan could take a look at the team picture above and do the honours. In any case good on them for putting on a decent performance and Brigthlingsea Regent too who, on this showing anyway, should prove a handful for other clubs in Ridgeons Division One.


The original and the greatest … Sir Alf

Artathon 17: Sir Alf Ramsey Statue

Sir Alf Ramsey

Sir Alf Ramsey and his wife Lady Victoria Ramsey lived for more than 30 years in a modest three bedroom detached house on Valley Road, Ipswich, just a hop, skip and long throw in from chez Extreme Groundhopping. Sir Alf could often been seen walking along Norwich Road to pick up his newspapers from Goldings Newsagents (now Hunterskill Recruitment) but never without a shirt and tie.

The same was true when he headed to the town centre on a shopping excursion where yours truly almost flattened the football legend, rounding a counter in Debenhams a bit sharpish and crashing into Sir Alf. Oddly it he was that was first to apologise. Not one for suffering fools gladly he had clearly made an exception in my case.

Although he was known to have been ill for sometime it was still with great sadness that the news of his death made the headlines in late April 1999. Then ITFC chairman David Sheepshanks put it so succinctly when he said: “As much as we mourn his passing, I think it is important that we celebrate properly the remarkable life and achievements of a truly extraordinary man. To take a small club, as Ipswich Town were in the last 50’s, from Division Three (South) to the First Division Championship on limited resources was a legendary feat.”

But of course Sir Alf didn’t stop there, becoming the only manager in the history of football in this country to win both the League title and World Cup when, four years after his success with Town, and on that so so famous sun drenched day at Wembley in 1966, his England side beat West Germany 4-2 to lift the Jules Rimet trophy.

His success on the field should however not overshadow his victories off it as it was after all he that was responsible for starting the revolution that shook sense into the men in grey suits at the Football Association. His new methods propelled English football into the modern world and shook off the cosy and amateurish ways in which the game had been run for so long. He became the national side’s first true manager, responsible for all matters football and no longer a messenger boy for the international selection committee.

Despite his unparalleled success he remained a very modest man, loved the town of Ipswich, which he had adopted as his own, as the townspeople did him. A no more fitting a tribute of him exists than that of the Sir Alf Ramsey statue at the corner Portman Road and Sir Alf Ramsey Way (formerly Portman Walk and renamed in his honour) a very popular pre-match meeting point for Town fans since its unveiling in 2000.

Full Artathon details here.



My first entry in the Friday Photo Challenge for several years features two ‘enormous’ sumo wrestlers grappling with a shipping container in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris in 2006.

Artathon on Europark

Artathon 15: The Man and Ball

Out on the eastern extremities of the town ‘The Man and Ball’ sits on the edge of the B&Q carpark in Ransomes Europark. By sculpture Giles Penny this is one of five identical bronze casts (two of the other four can be found in Portsmouth and Cheltenham) and very much along the same lines as the other commissions he has undertaken. At busy times the sculpture gets lost amidst a sea of cars so perhaps one of Penny’s other peices may have been more appropriate for the space.

Artathon 16: The Rhumba

Originally part of an exhibition in Christchurch Park ‘The Rhumba’ by Peter Blunsden was moved to Ransomes Europark in the summer of 1995. Now rather forlorn looking – covered as it is with ivy and weeds – it is constructed from pieces of steel that have been welded together to form the outline of a Cuban dancer.

View larger images in my Flickr stream here and here.

Full Artathon details here.

Grundisburgh 2 Ipswich Wanderers 2

Grundisburgh 2 Ipswich Wanderers 2 (Friendly) Playing Field, Grundisburgh, Suffolk


A double-header at the ‘Playing Field’ as reigning Suffolk and Ipswich League Champions Grundisburgh took on Ridgeons League Ipswich Wanderers in a 2pm kick-off while at 4pm the respective reserve teams were to be in action.

The home side have been SIL champions three times in the last five years and are coached by Micky Squirrell who has amassed an impressive 10 SIL championship wins as both player and manager, and eight of them with ‘The Villagers’.

The first elevens played out an entertaining 2-2 draw but I didn’t stay for the second game instead heading across the village to the green where they were busy setting up for the annual village duck race.


Around the green are the Church of  St Mary, the former village school, a quaint old village shop and to complete the picture a ford over the River Finn along which 1,200 plastic ducks would later be put through their paces.

Predominantly a medieval church St Mary’s has an imposing red brick bell tower which replaced the original in the early eighteenth century and contains a ring of ten bells that are held in high regard by the campanologist fraternity.

Inside the church sixty wooden angels hang down from the roof (a reminder of the eerie, but considerably more contemporary, Weeping Angels in the 2007 series of Doctor Who) although for many years they did so in a head- and wing-less state after being decapitated/clipped during the reformation.

There are also fragments of wall paintings that pre-date the Black Death and numerous other artefacts and architectural features that make for an interesting visit.

Languard Point

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Languard Point, a set on Flickr.

Sitting cheek by jowl with the Port of Felixstowe on the Orwell Estuary is Languard Point the tip of the Languard Peninsular, forty-six hectares of land that is now primarily a wildlife habitat but one that is scattered with military gun emplacements, lookout posts, tank traps and jetties. All of this is watched over by Languard Fort, which dates back to 1540 (with numerous additions since) and whose initial responsibility was to guard the entrance to the Orwell from invasion by sea but more recently (amongst many other uses) was a launch site for Operation Outward a WWII project whose aim was to attack Germany with free-flying incendiary balloons. The sand and shingle are now home to a number of rare plants (we spotted a few miniature orchids) and the ground nesting site for many migrant birds.



Thorpeness, a set on Flickr.

A month ago we enjoyed a great day out in the Suffolk coastal town of Southwold and a bit more of the same today (sans Sun) in Thorpeness, also on the Suffolk coast, 25 miles from Ipswich and a few miles north of Aldeburgh. Once a small fishing hamlet the entire area was purchased in 1910 by Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie. Ogilvie had made his fortune in the design of railways around the globe and set about turning Thorpeness into a private fantasy holiday village, to which friends, family and work colleagues were invited during the summer months. Still very much a holiday village today the population swells from 400 to four times that number in season. Major attractions in the village are the ‘House in the Clouds’, a water tower disguised in mock-Tudor style and just a mater of fifty yards away the Grade II listed Thorpeness Mill.