The Cranes are on the rise
THREE years ago Crane Sports came within an hour of folding. Now they are looking forward to a return to senior football next season.A point against Willis and Kesgrave United tomorrow will confirm the First Division championship for a side who are going to move to a new ground for 2002/03.
By Elvin King
THREE years ago Crane Sports came within an hour of folding. Now they are looking forward to a return to senior football next season.
A point against Willis and Kesgrave United tomorrow will confirm the First Division championship for a side who are going to move to a new ground for 2002/03.
Crane are already certain to finish in the top two along with Westerfield, as their roller coaster existence continues.
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In the Seventies and Eighties they were one of the strongest sides in the Metaltec SIL and had managers of the calibre of Martin Head and Jimmy Barker. They played in the FA Vase and in one season under Barker went through a whole league season without losing a game.
But life did not progress so well and when Ipswich Town took over their ground in Playford Road, Rushmere they had to find themselves anew home.
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A move to the YM ground on the other side of Rushmere was their saviour before another problem caused a special meeting to be called.
Secretary Andy Pearce said today: "Having been part of a big company like Cranes we suddenly had to fend for ourselves. And it was touch and go whether we had the financial wherewithal to carry on.
"Five of us decided that we could not let a great club die, and we managed to keep the club afloat."
Crane came close top promotion 12 months ago, but have made sure this time under the management of Kevin Sharman.
AS move to the King George V ground at Whitton has already been buttoned up for next season and this should confirm that they will be back paying senior football again.
"We were told that the YM ground would not be up to senior football in the SIL," added Pearce. "So we had to look elsewhere. Our new headquarters should come up to the right specifications and we await the official inspection from the league.
"We have already place portable buildings on the site and will be using the pitch adjacent to the one Whitton United use in the Jewson League.
"There is a summer of hard work ahead of us but we are determined to make our promotion work."
Cranes won the SEH Sevens last summer and have been in the top four all season. Troy Paul is leading scorer with 22 goals, while Darren Jones, David White and Martin Hodgkiss have impressed through the campaign.
"We have a young side, and will be looking to strengthen up during the summer," said Pearce, who hopes the publicity surrounding their 2-1 win over Coplestonians last Saturday does not detract from their promotion.
"It would not be right to say the game ended in a brawl. There were a few people involved after Coplestonians were incensed after we were awarded a penalty.
"One or two of our players were out of order, but n o worse than the opposition. Representatives from both teams went to see the referee after the game and it was agreed that the result would stand."
Referee Irvin Flaherty has insisted, however, that he called a halt for safety reason one and a half minutes early.
There is only one game in the Jewson League, although Felixstowe and Walton United have a big fixture on Monday afternoon when they play AFC Sudbury in the final of the Suffolk Premier Cup at Hadleigh United.