Thursday, 29 July 2010

Dorchester Town FC (England)

Dorchester Town, based in the county town of Dorset play their football in the English sixth tier, The Conference South. Formed in 1880, they're one of the oldest clubs in the south-west of England. Despite being around for so long, they played their first regular competitive football when they joined the second division of the Western League in 1947. They eventually made their way to the first division, and despite winning it in 1954, had to wait until 1972 until they were invited to join the Southern League - but such was the way of things in football in those slightly less sophisticated days.

They play in one of the best purpose- built grounds in the league, at the 5009 capacity Avenue Stadium on the outskirts of town. The club were fortunate that their old ground was built on land owned by The Dutchy of Cornwall. Indeed, when Prince Charles discovered that Tesco was to build a new superstore on the site of Town's ground, he insisted that not only should the grocery chain chip into building them a new ground, but that the Dutchy's own architects would design it. Charles himself was a frequent visitor when the building work was going on, and the eventual ground is a fine looking brick-built stadium, designed to look like it has come from a whole different era.

Despite usually attracting crowds of less than a thousand, it is their games with their rivals from down by the seaside Weymouth that really draw in the punters. Games between the pair have frequently broken all Conference records - the biggest then a league record of 4129 in 1999, although the games can usually be relied on to break the 3000 mark. Sadly though, Weymouth's relegation last season has denied The Magpies their banker bumper payday.

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