As the 2018-19 football season gets into full swing, we go behind the scenes of the #BuildbaseFATrophy and #BuildbaseFAVase clubs with non-league football champion and talkSPORT and Sky TV presenter Tony Incenzo.
Holland 1 Wivenhoe Town 2
Where: Dulwich Road, Holland-on-Sea, Essex CO15 5HP
Kick-off: 7.45pm Friday 28th September 2018
Eastern Counties Football First Division South
Overview: A nice trip out to the Essex coast for a newly-opened Non-League stadium. I drove across there early with my wife and we had some lunch followed by a relaxing stroll along the sea front at both Frinton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea before watching the football.
History: Holland were founded as recently as 2006 and began life in the Essex & Suffolk Border League. They originally played at the Eastcliff Recreation Ground on Dulwich Road. After finishing third in 2015/16, promotion to Division One of the Eastern Counties League was achieved with Holland groundsharing at nearby FC Clacton. But this season, the club returned to Dulwich Road after a £550,000 upgrade that involved installing a new stand and rotating the pitch through 90°. Holland now have a dozen youth teams across eight age groups as well as the first and second elevens, a veterans’ team and the under-18’s. So they currently draw on 165 youth players and more than 60 adult footballers.
Ground description: The 100-seater stand sits next to the cosy new £350,000 clubhouse and changing room block. The arena is fully railed with floodlights.
Programme details: Twenty pages, priced £1. A colourful cover carries the matchday details and an action photo. Inside there are more photos, pen pictures, managerial notes, stats, the club history, line ups and details of opponents Wivenhoe Town.
The match: A quirky fact is that Holland FC play in the Dutch national team colours of orange! They started brightly and opened the scoring through Steve Eaton on 32 minutes. But the visitors grew into the game and Myles Passley equalised just before half-time. Then with 12 minutes to go, Markel Greenidge scored a memorable winner for Wivenhoe with a 20 yard snap shot. This was followed by a unique and very funny goal celebration with Greenidge running down the centre of the pitch screaming “I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO!” as his team mates tried to catch up with him!
The people: Club chairman Mark Sorrell has been one of the driving forces behind the rapid rise of Holland FC with Rob Batten doing a great job as manager. The gateman Terry gave a very friendly welcome to all spectators who arrived. With it being a newly-opened stadium, around 50 groundhoppers from all over the country attended the match with the furthest travelling from the Garstang area in Lancashire. There was much friendly debate amongst the groundhoppers as to whether they could count this as a new ground or not as some had seen Holland play before when the old pitch slightly overlapped the current playing area. This influx of groundhoppers meant that the programmes sold out on the night. Various headcounts put the overall attendance at around 120 but Terry told me that the paying customers numbered 75 with various kids and club members being admitted free of charge.
Tony Incenzo is a reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo
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