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Football Club Honours Two Very Special Supporters

Published on: 12 Jul, 2012
Updated on: 12 Jul, 2012

Two long-term Guildford City FC supporters have been honoured with the title of club patrons.

Bill Bellerby and John Woodhatch have been honoured with the titles of club patrons by Guildford City FC.

Freeman of the borough Bill Bellerby and alderman John Woodhatch have accepted the honorary roles with the club that has just been promoted to the Evo-Stik Southern Division  One Central league.

The honour has been bestowed in recognition of their support for Guildford City football over very many years, both as supporters, and as elected representatives in the council chamber.

Bill Bellerby was Guildford City’s president at the time of the original club’s demise in 1974, and served on the local authority with great distinction for 42 years. He said this week he was delighted when he received the offer of club patron.

Protesters on the pitch in 1974 when news broke that the Joseph’s Road ground was to be sold off. Events led to the demise of the club.

However, he is still saddened over the unfortunate events that took place back in 1974 when the Joseph’s Road ground, where the club played, was sold for residential development. “The club need not have folded,” he said.

John Woodhatch is similarly a long-time supporter of the club. He first watched the City as a boy before the Second World War.

The year is 1956 and Guildford City have just won the Southern league title. The picture was taken by Hector Cooper. In sending a copy of the photo to John Woodhatch in recent times he wrote: “Who would have thought that the ‘young ted’ in the crowd from Drummond Road with a pot of Brylcreem on his hair would one day be ‘Labour Mayor’ of Guildford. We have put a ring round John – the first Teddy Boy in Guildford!

John Woodhatch said: “I am honoured to have been asked to become a club patron.” Recalling some of the glory days of The City he said: “When national service was in operation in the 1950s with lots of servicemen stationed in the area the club attracted some very good players. They usually stayed for a season or two.”

Asked about how a side, from say the 1960s, would fare against the current team, John said: “It was very different then. Some of the players from those older teams carried a lot of weight. Fitness levels are much different now.”

During their long political careers both Bill and John served as Mayor of Guildford, and were instrumental in fighting for a return of senior football to the town.

Both will be invited to attend Guildford City’s emotive first home league game of the season, which will see the club’s return to the Southern League after a gap of 38 years.

Meanwhile season tickets are currently on sale for the coming season, and supporters are reminded that the advertised early-bird discount expires on July 16.  Further details can be found on the club website.

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Responses to Football Club Honours Two Very Special Supporters

  1. Kevin Parker

    July 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Although I may be biased as a commitee member of the current Guildford City FC can I just say what an excellent article regarding two most deserving Guildfordians.

    Thank you.

    We are all looking forward to the new season and to welcoming both of these honourable gentleman to as many matches as they can make. We would also welcome as many people from the town as well.

  2. Martin Stokes

    July 24, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Although I moved away from Guildford 40 years ago I still follow the fortunes of Guildford City Football Club. I have good memories of standing on the terraces next to the tea hut in Josephs Road with my father watching the City play. Its great that they are once again in the Southern league. I hope that the people of Guildford support them a little more than they did in 1974.

  3. Chris Knowles

    July 26, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    (Reply to Martin Stokes above.) No they don’t.
    City’s ground is remote and sub-standard due to the powers that be never letting them replace Joseph’s Road. Lucky to get 100.
    Southern League as we knew it was one league down from The Football League (equivalent to the present Conference League probably), this one is way off that.
    But I do share your pleasure at the progress of what was Burpham FC and can’t wait to see them play at St Neots Town, season after next, hopefully!
    Nice to hear about Bill Bellerby, who used to visit our Boxgrove Athletic Soccer Club dances(1961, I think)!