Herts Advertiser Sunday League launched

THE Herts Advertiser has taken over the sponsorship of the St Albans Sunday Football League, it was announced this week.

A packed annual general meeting of the League heard chairman Roy Scott reveal how the former sponsors had relinquished their links with the organisation after 33 years, with the Herts Advertiser stepping in to pick up the reins for the future.

The meeting welcomed Sky Sports journalist Geoff Shreeves, a former player in the league who played for Cell Barnes Hospital, and Nick Perchard, chief executive of the Herts Football Association, together with Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams and regional sales manager Jason Valentine, who both presented a sponsorship cheque to the league’s treasurer Jean Hubball.

The deal was the culmination of extensive backroom negotiations between the newspaper’s owners Archant Herts & Cambs and representatives from the league, and has resulted in a �4,000 sponsorship package for the coming season.

The newly-retitled Herts Advertiser Sunday Football League will receive comprehensive coverage both in-print and online at our website www.hertsad24.co.uk as part of our ongoing commitment to championing grassroots football in the district.

Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams said: “I would like to stress how exceptionally proud we all are at the Herts Advertiser to take over sponsorship of the Sunday League.

“We are keen for our newspaper and website to become a platform for promoting and celebrating the best this league has to offer, and we are already investigating new ways to develop and expand upon the long-running coverage already provided.

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“This is a new beginning for the district’s Sunday League, and we look forward to working with all the teams involved in the months to come.”

Herts Advertiser Sunday League chairman Roy Scott revealed the historical links between the newspaper and the organisation: “Fifty years ago, the Herts Advertiser was very instrumental in starting the St Albans Sunday Football League by having a team of their own right at the very start.

“I was in my late teens working in the newspaper’s composing room when Sunday football was just a kickabout for men who couldn’t play on Saturdays due to work commitments.

“I managed to talk the sports editor, Dave Briffett into becoming the league’s secretary and the league started as an industrial league with 12 teams.

“The 12 companies who formed the first-ever Sunday Industrial Football League in St Albans included two teams from the large ladies nylon factory where Morrisons Supermarket is located today in Fleetville - Ballito Fully Fashion and Ballito Seam Free - plus 10 other teams: British Indicators, Campfield Press, EAC Gainsborough, Gibbs & Bamforths, Herts Advertiser, Marconi Instruments, St. Albans Postal, Sainsbury’s and Staples Printers.

“The Herts Advertiser’s assistant editor, Lionel Drage who served on the Hertfordshire Football Association Committee proved very supportive and instrumental in getting the Football Association, who had tried to ban referees and players on Sundays, to open their eyes and acknowledge and embrace Sunday League Football throughout the UK.

“So half a century later, it seems very appropriate that one of the founder companies is now the sponsor.”

Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves added his own words after this momentous occasion: “I played for Sunday League for such clubs as Marconis and Cell Barnes and it was just great fun.

“I saw people at this week’s meeting who I used to play against, but they’re now coaches and secretaries and their own kids are playing, and it remains a massive part of the local community.

“So it is fitting that the league is now linked with the oldest-established newspaper in the district, a paper which people know and has a great sports section not just for football, but for rugby, cricket and so on.

“We could have found a sponsor somewhere, but the fact that it is the Herts Advertiser means we not only gain the financial support, but also the publicity we also need, and that is a double bonus.”

The enthusiastic welcome given to the two Herts Advertiser executives at the meeting reflected how much the clubs are looking forward to seeing all their match reports published in the newspaper every week starting from August.