Whitton can set the PASE thanks to Rowe

LOCAL SOCCER: Whitton United are now in a position to out-PASE other clubs in the Ipswich area.The Programme for Academic and Sporting Excellence scheme is about to move from Humber Doucy Lane to the other end of town.

By Elvin King

LOCAL SOCCER

WHITTON United are now in a position to out-PASE other clubs in the Ipswich area.

The Programme for Academic and Sporting Excellence scheme is about to move from Humber Doucy Lane to the other end of town.

Ties are being relinquished with Ipswich Wanderers and the Suffolk College-backed venture is currently having a one-month trial at King George V Field, Whitton.

"We are moving from Wanderers and it looks as though we will now be based permanently at Whitton," said director of football Colwyn Rowe.

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"My brief is now to help turn Whitton United into a team that will become the best in the area. I am fed up seeing the Jewson League title going to Norfolk and west Suffolk clubs.

"If it all works out well, there could be scope to move up into the Dr Martens League and give Ipswich a top non-league alternative to Ipswich Town."

In the two full years that the PASE scheme, which combines football and academic studies for sixth formers, has been running at Wanderers, it has produced nine first team players and half a dozen others who are now playing at Jewson League Premier Division level or above.

Whitton, who have a spacious new ground just beyond the Whitton Sports Centre in the pipeline, are sure to benefit. One of the best teams in Suffolk under the command of Bob Field in the 1950s and '60s, they fell away and came close to folding.

Premier Division Wanderers, only formed in the last decade, have overtaken First Division Whitton, but this move could signal a reversal in fortunes.

Rowe stressed the importance of Suffolk College in the PASE scheme and said: "They put a lot of money in and pay the wages of myself and coaches John Coupe and Lenny Pack," he said.

"Things could have been rectified at Wanderers. It was not my decision and I did not walk away. It was the College who decided Whitton, with Woodbridge Town the other contender.

"They picked Whitton because of the location and a huge potential with the new ground.

"It is a wrench to leave Wanderers, a club I managed on two occasions. I coached Bramford Under-14s when Dave Gooch was manager and they turned into Sunday side Loadwell Transport, who eventually became Wanderers when the Jewson League expanded into a First Division.

"I have been impressed with Whitton chairman Jeff Crane and he has been a key man in this."

It is expected that the full complement of PASE boys will switch to play for Whitton. They are not under contract at Wanderers where they are signed on Border League forms only.

Crane said: "This is very good news for the club. It will help put Whitton United right back on the map.

"We already run our own teams, Under-12, U-13 through to U-16/U-18 and this will be an add on, a chance for some of our best boys to develop further."

Wanderers chairman Alan Haste said: "As a club we are a small fish in a big pond. Many of our first team have come through the PASE scheme or our own youth team.

"Colwyn Rowe wasn't happy with the facilities we are able to provide. We are grateful for what he has done for the club for the past few years because he is a good coach."

Tomorrow Whitton visit Cornard United in the second round of the Suffolk Senior Cup.

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