Ex-players to come together to remember golden eras for local football

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 July 2019

The 'Budley Bulldogs' formed in 1999. Picture: Mark Paver

The 'Budley Bulldogs' formed in 1999. Picture: Mark Paver

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Footballers from a bygone era will once again re-unite to remember the 'good old days'.

The successful East Budleigh FC side from 1977-78. Picture: Mark PaverThe successful East Budleigh FC side from 1977-78. Picture: Mark Paver

After the success of last year's event in East Budleigh, members of the village's football team will come together to remember the memorable 1977-78 season in which the club secured a league title and three cups.

This year, former East Budleigh FC favourites will be joined by ex-players, staff and supporters of the 'Budley Bulldogs' — a community football club which formed 20 years ago.

The reunion will take place at the Sir Walter Raleigh Inn, East Budleigh, on Saturday, July 20, from 6.30pm.

Mark Paver, who was the Bulldogs' first manager and played for East Budleigh, said: "It's hard to believe that was only 20 years ago.

Players and staff from East Budleigh FC's successful 1977-78 side at last year's reunion. Picture: Mark PaverPlayers and staff from East Budleigh FC's successful 1977-78 side at last year's reunion. Picture: Mark Paver

"There was a huge surplus of footballers, young and old, looking to play Saturday afternoon league football,

"It's a world away from today, when its reported that, the closest some of the younger generation get to playing any sport is playing on their X-Box or similar.

"To put the Budley Bulldogs together created a great bond between so many of the players."

Before the team could play a single game, the club had to prove to the Devon FA its long-term sustainability.

Thanks to fundraising five-a-side matches, sponsorship from local businesses and the support of the community, the bulldogs were granted their place in the Devon and Exeter Intermediate League.

However, Mark says the club 'served a greater purpose'.

He said: "The team was a great mix of experienced players who mainly had played for Budleigh Salterton FC and East Budleigh FC, plus a large injection of younger players who primarily had never played 11-a-side league football.

"The levels of enjoyment and fun we had over the period that we were together were pretty much unrivalled by other clubs around us.

"Even if other clubs had more trophy or league success than we had, our success was actually pulling this thing off and having a club of our own."

The Sir Walter Raleigh is also laying on a sausage and chip supper as part of the reunion.

For more information ring organiser Simon Pratt on 07867 810823.

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