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Felixstowe & Walton see their crowds top 600 as they gun for promotion to Step 4

Hadleighs Damon Artiss (blue) sees off Joe Francis in front of the Seasiders' record league crowd of 623 on Friday night as the fans keep flocking into the Goldstar Ground. Photo: STAN BASTON

Hadleighs Damon Artiss (blue) sees off Joe Francis in front of the Seasiders' record league crowd of 623 on Friday night as the fans keep flocking into the Goldstar Ground. Photo: STAN BASTON

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Felixstowe & Walton are going from strength to strength as the crowds continue to flock to the seaside.

Felixstowe & Walton joint bosses Kevin O'Donnell, left and Ian Watson. Felixstowe & Walton joint bosses Kevin O'Donnell, left and Ian Watson.

More than 630 fans were at the Goldstar Ground on Friday night – a club league record – as Kevin O’Donnell’s side extended their lead at the top of Thurlow Nunn Premier division to 21 points, before the weekend’s games.

That’s a huge outpouring of support for a Step 5 club. Putting it into context, it’s a crowd figure most National League North and South (Step 2) sides would be thrilled with.

For O’Donnell, whose team were at home to Needham Market Reserves in the League Cup last night, it’s a case of keeping everything and everybody calm as the club look to achieve their goal of promotion to Isthmian North next season.

“The whole thing is just snowballing,” he said.

“We now have more season ticket holders than we used to have crowd numbers a few seasons ago! It’s amazing.”

There is little doubt Felixstowe & Walton have been buoyed by their excellent new facilities, which are pitchside and make for a cracking atmosphere.

For years the facilities were basic, having to put up and put down their floodlights after training sessions and matches.

That’s all changed now.

“There have been two aspects to the club’s improvement,” O’Donnell, who has been boss at the club for five seasons, said.

“Obviously the facilities are great and our style of football on the pitch is enjoyable. It’s a style I’ve always looked to play, but now word is getting round. We are attracting new fans, who are coming again.

“The squad has more strength too.”

Before last night’s games, Felixstowe & Walton were 18 points ahead of Stowmarket and Brantham in the Thurlow Premier, while Coggeshall, with five games in hand on the Seasiders, look the main threat to the Seasiders’ hopes of Championship success.

“Our focus all season has been on promotion to Step Four,” O’Donnell said. “I think two teams from our league will go up. We want to go as champions.”

Felixstowe & Walton travel to Haverhill Borough on Saturday, before a tasty, under the lights, clash in the Suffolk Premier Cup with Stowmarket next Tuesday.

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