Success is a family tradition

A FATHER who helped his Boys' Brigade football side to several trophies as a youngster has lent his support to his son's team by buying them a brand new kit.

A FATHER who helped his Boys' Brigade football side to several trophies as a youngster has lent his support to his son's team by buying them a brand new kit.

In the early 1980s Karl Hammett, 35, of Shafto Road, Ipswich, was part of a very successful Brigade side, and the skills he learned there eventually helped him to Ipswich Athletic many years later.

Now he says he is delighted his son Harry, 10, is following in his footsteps by playing for the successful 12th Ipswich Brigade side, currently defending their league title.

Mr Hammett, a self-employed builder, said: “I was in the Boys' Brigade for several years - we were the top team around, we won lots of trophies.

“I joined Whitton United youths up to the age of 16, then left there and signed on for Sproughton Sports, which my dad helped run.

“I help out at the Boys' Brigade on a Saturday morning now, and they did not have a nice kit. I thought if we get them a good one and they look the part then they will play like it.”

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Harry - a defender just like his father - plays for the current Boys' Brigade Ipswich and District League champions and they have made a solid start to the new season, winning two out of three games.

The boys all go to Whitehouse Junior School, and the Ipswich 12th are the only branch of the brigade to have their own football team - all the other sides in the Boys' Brigade league are made up of two or more different troops.

Mr Hammett said: “Harry started going when he was about six and all his mates joined. They used to have a shared team with the first, but it snowballed until they had enough for their own team.

“They won the league and got to the semi-finals of the cup last year, and they have played friendlies against Whitton Under-10s and held their own. Four of the side also go to Ipswich Town for training on a Friday night.”

Mr Hammett was coached by his father at Sproughton Sports, and with long family ties to the club, there is a good chance Harry could emulate his father there too.

But many smaller sides, like the Boys Brigade, are struggling for numbers these days and Mr Hammett fears the traditional path to larger sides through the lower ranks could be a thing of the past.

He said: “Little village sides do not get much coverage these days and a lot of teams can't seem to attract people, I don't know why. You also get fines and bans these days and it can be difficult.”

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