Monday, 9 May 2011

Tividale FC with Leon Murray

Please read below for my interview with Tividale general manager Leon Murray. It was published in the latest Football Focus magazine which can be viewed here for absolutely free! Included in the current issue are Leyton Orient, Dunfermline Athletic, Crawley Town and many more football clubs.

Tividale FC
The Beeches - home of Tividale FC
Last month Football Focus caught up with Leon Murray, the General Manager of Tividale Football Club. 'The Dale', at time of writing, were striding away at the top of the West Midland Regional League, Premier Division and Leon was hopeful they could see out the challenge, although he was also looking forward to a bit of a rest before throwing themselves into another gruelling season. “Our hopes are to win the league and the two cup competitions that we are still in. Then a well deserved break!”

Leon is not surprised that Tividale have competed at the top of the table all season when he looks at the quality throughout the first team squad and says the nurturing of talented players is not uncommon at the West Midlands club. “There are a number of players in our squad who could play at a much higher level and a number of our former players have played at a higher level. Of our previous players, Leroy May left us in 1991 and signed for Walsall FC, and more recently Matthew Barnes Homer went to Wycombe Warriors in 2008 and David Davis signed apprenticeship forms for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2009.”

Even if Tividale are successful on the pitch, times are hard in the current financial climate. However, Tividale are well known for their busy social club and there is no doubt that it brings in some vital extra income, even though some of it's members do not watch Tividale. “Despite the recession we have a thriving social club, even though many of our members have no interest in football! There is no doubt that our biggest challenge is simply survival. Since I have been here I have seen 6 pubs within walking distance of the club close down. I have also seen the demise of 3 very local football clubs, who all operated at either our level or the level above. However, along with the rest of our committee, we spend every spare minute we have, trying to keep the club afloat and thriving.”

While Tividale stormed their way to the top of the Premier Division, they were delighted to have club legend, Harry Shaw, as guest of honour for a match against Bustleholme recently. Harry was born in June 1925 and was brought up in Tividale. During the Second World War, he served in the RAF, but after being demobbed in 1947, he made his way back to the Black Country and immediately helped to form Tividale Rovers Football Club. He converted the sloping field at the club's Packwood Road into a playing surface, cutting down the rough growth with limited equipment. He played as a right-half for the first four years of the club’s existence before moving to Sedgley after meeting his late wife, Edith. Harry still follows Tividale's progress and would be delighted to see the club seal promotion this season.

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