Nov. 22, 2017, 11:41 p.m.

Ray Youngman's service to Hempnall FC has, in 2013, been honoured by Hempnall Parish Council who have erected a seat with appropriate plaque, recognising Ray's 60 year service (up to 2012).

The Club is indeed fortunate to have had the services of Ray.

Ray continued to prepare our pitch until May 2015, but as we all know, has held various positions in the Club, most notably, the longest standing Secretary / Treasurer. We hope Ray will continue to visit the ground and offer advice to those who have taken over the duties from him.

Some memorabilia

Many thanks to Eric Ladbrooke for the above memorabilia

Many thanks to Mr. Moore for the above results booklets

Hempnall FC has a long history and has been in existence since about 1900 but our oldest photos are from the mid 1920's, some of the people on there aren't known, others have relatives still in the area, including John Ellis who lent us the photos.

 The main photos commence from the 1940's, showing well known former Hempnall players, many of whom still come along to Bungay Road to watch - Laurence Chapman, Bernard 'Iky' youngs, and of course, Ray Youngman, our Secretary/Treasurer for many years.

In those days there was local success, winning local leagues, in those days with an entirely locally based side, Ray Youngman is included in the History section with his interesting recollections, and Neville Day is also represented.

Whilst Ray and Neville, along with Hughie Tweeddale, were the important personnel in the Club for many years, Hughie sadly died some years ago, and Neville retired we think to take up knitting, but he has never confirmed that.

Ray though, has, in 2012, served the Club for an amazing 60 years and continues to be our groundsman. He was the ground standards officer for the Anglian Combination until he retired in 2012, and was our very successful and respected Secretary / Treasurer, and has on more than one occasion won the 'Secretary of the Year' award.

 

Hempnall really started punching above our weight in the mid 1980's.

In the 1982/3 season, Hempnall were struggling to compete, and after much deliberation, Nick Page, probably the best player to have pulled on a Hempnall shirt, and still fundraising manager at the Club, decided he would "pull the club around". He did that with comparative ease, in that not only did he win the fourth Division of the Anglian Combination, but he took the team all the way through the divisions in successive years, to the Premier Division, where they finished in a hugely creditable third position.

Nick used his vast experience to recruit players of senior standard to play for the club. The likes of Mick Ryder, Ray Cooper, Bob Briggs, John Beresford, Andy Pointer, Karl Heffer and many more joined him at Hempnall. Top goalkeeper around, the legendary Mark MacRae, was part of that success, and many who remember Mark will also remember him as "the best sweeper around" due to his speed coming off his line - he often covered the last third of the pitch on his own!

Nick also brought the flamboyant Arthur Chenery to the club, along with Trevor "Sticks" Buck, and between them they took the reins from Nick, although Nick continued to play and be part of the continuing success. Nick was then the Club General Manager for several seasons, highly successfully we believe and he continued to be our Fundraising Manager until 2013.

The 1st team hadn't won anything in Senior football until the season 2006/7 when they secured the Division 1 Championship with Paul Franklin and Tim Clarke holding the management reins, capably supported by 1st team coach Bob Briggs.

 

Then followed the History making season, when as well as finishing 3rd in the Anglian Combination Premier Division (having led the table for several weeks), they secured the Mummery (League) Cup with a narrow 1-0 victory over Watton in the final.

The run to the final saw them not concede a goal after the 1st round.

 

Since then, the competition has become fiercer, but our resolve as a Club remains unaltered. With a number of Clubs in our league paying players, we at Hempnall continue to play in the traditional fashion - we have secured sponsorship where we can, and involve players where we can in fundraising. A great historic local football club that will continue, we hope, to 'punch above our weight' in the future.

 

Talking about historic sponsorship, it is interesting to know that Harry Pointer, the father of our current Chairman, was the first person in local football to sponsor a team, that being the Hempnall Sunday Team, which incidentally contained most of Pagey's Saturday team, and won everything in the South Norfolk Sunday League.

It is still good to see in 2015 that we have a number of longstanding supporters, a number of which are former players, including Iky Youngs, Fred Bloomfield, Roger Allen, John Warne and Mick Leggett.