Feb. 24, 2024, 2:44 a.m.
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 - 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, with an entirely locally based side, Ray Youngman is included in the History section with his interesting recollections, and Neville Day is also represented. These two people have a long history with our Club, both have sadly passed, Ray was 'Mr. Hempnall', Neville our Chair and guiding light for many years.
Ray though, by 2012, had served the Club for an amazing 60 years though decided to retire from the Club then. He continued for a while to be the ground standards officer for the Anglian Combination, but was our very successful and respected Secretary / Treasurer.
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, 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.
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 survive well into the future.
Talking about historic sponsorship, it is interesting to know that Harry Pointer, the father of our previous 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 that we have a number of longstanding supporters, a number of which are former players.