This isn’t normally what I would blog about but it made me chuckle so much that I just couldn’t avoid writing about it.
As a Lincoln City fan I have a general dislike for a lot of other teams, and one of them that springs immediately to mind is the Derbyshire based Alfreton Town. The clubs have met numerous times since the Imps were relegated to the Conference in 2011, and the clubs have played each other four times already this season, with another meeting just under a month away.
Alfreton play at the Impact Arena, the smallest ground in the Conference with just a 3,600 capacity, 400 shy of the next smallest, Welling United’s Park View Road. Despite being the smallest, it is one of the most expensive to get into, which is amazing considering that there are very few places in the ground where you can get an unrestricted view of the action.
They were promoted to this division in the same season that Lincoln were relegated into it, and since then the clubs have met twelve times (7 in the league, 4 in the FA Cup and 1 in the FA Trophy), with the Imps emerging victorious on five of those occasions.
In terms of location and travelling time they are the second closest team to the Imps in the Conference (behind Grimsby) and are technically local rivals because of this.
But anyway, I digress. I logged onto the internet after getting home from watching “Birdman” at the cinema (it was ok) and I read that Alfreton were getting some investment from an American consortium. Awesome (sarcasm intented)
At first when I read that Alfreton had been given investment from an American consortium, I thought to myself “great, that club full of atrocious fans will soon be in the Football League,” but then I had to chuckle.
It turns out that the consortium owes an extremely minor (even by American standards) team over there in Fort Worth. I looked into them as I was curious about all levels of football, and I found this statement on their website regarding the investment in Alfreton – http://www.fortworthvaqueros.com/latest-news/157-vaqueros-owner-purchases-interest-in-england-s-alfreton-town-fc
It is one of the most incredibly things I’ve ever read because it makes you wonder exactly what the Chairman at Alfreton has said to them. Here are a few glorious snippets…..
“Immediate avenue for player sharing, cross marketing, international matches and preseason training in both countries. This move automatically makes the Vaqueros a stronger organization“
Now whilst that seems like a nice enough thing with good intentions, I am struggling to see how players at a team that are in the relegation zone of England’s fifth tier can majorly improve a minor side in America, and vice-versa. Even then they have to get work VISAs if you’re going to share players, it’s not just as simple as having the same people own two clubs and you can just freely move people between them.
The Reds compete in the Conference Premier, which is fifth in the eight divisions of England’s soccer pyramid.
Eight? There are 24 steps in the English football league system, and after step 6 they are all divided into numerous sub divisions. Yes, Alfreton are in the fifth, but they have effectively just made a mockery of anyone who plays lower than Lincoln United’s level.
To say that there’s just eight divisions in England is like saying that the only nine characters in The Lord of the Rings. It just isn’t true.
Alfreton Town FC has enjoyed unprecedented success in the past five years
One promotion and a few midtable finishes isn’t ununprecedented, even for Alfreton.
Sits primed to continue its climb up the ranks of the English soccer leagues
21st in the Conference and 22 points from the lowest Playoff place just screams that they are primed to rise up the leagues. This isn’t golf where the lowest score wins.
I get the feeling that with this one they were told that as it stands they will more than likely be in step 6 next year, and the investors thought that Step 6 was higher than Step 5. It isn’t.
We are thrilled at the opportunity to continue that success with marketing techniques
I wouldn’t get that excited about the marketing techniques of a club that puts two signs up so close to each other that have different spellings of the same word.
This was taken on my first visit to Alfreton in October 2011, it was still there in the two times I have been since, and I get the strong feeling that it is still there now.