End of an era as Vicarage Farm YFC close their doors after 29 years

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When the Weetabix Youth Football League returns in September, a familiar club name will be missing.

It was confirmed last month that Vicarage Farm YFC would be shutting its doors after 29 years of providing football for youngsters in Wellingborough and the surrounding areas.

Formed in April, 1994 by John Fenner, Alan Beetson and Phil Burton, Vicarage Farm has been one of the mainstays in local youth football while also having senior teams in the past.

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Phil and Tracy Pepper became involved a year after the formation and have been at the helm ever since as chairman and secretary respectively.

Vicarage Farm YFC has called time after 29 yearsVicarage Farm YFC has called time after 29 years
Vicarage Farm YFC has called time after 29 years

However, after the club’s last remaining under-16 team folded this summer, it was decided to call time and bring an end to an era.

Tracy, who is also registration secretary and Charter Standard co-ordinator for the Weetabix League, believes the Covid pandemic “knocked the stuffing” out of a number of clubs locally while other clubs’ rise to prominence in the Wellingborough are has also played a part in the Vicarage Farm story coming to an end.

“The teams were dwindling a bit,” Tracy said.

“I wanted to get to 30 years and then I was going to stop personally because I have got grandchildren I want to spend time with.

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“We only had one team left for this season, which was an under-16 team and I was going to see it out but, unfortunately, that team folded a few weeks ago because they couldn’t get enough players.

“The participation levels have dropped and I think Covid had a lot to do with that. It knocked the stuffing out of a lot of teams and clubs to be fair.

“The other thing is that, initially, we were one of the only clubs in Wellingborough but now you have Old Grammarians, Wellingborough Whitworth and Wellingborough Town and they have their venues while we didn’t have one.

“We tried to get one years and years ago but it just wasn’t feasible so we have never really had our own venue.

“It would have been great to get to 30 years.

“It is sad, of course. But we have some great memories and we have made some brilliant friends. I wouldn’t have swapped it for the world.”

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