Club History ....

The Early Days (Updated July 2014)

It all started in the late summer of 1989 as an idea born out of necessity. Football in general was very much in vogue, the local children at Welland Primary School had a football pitch next door and lots of enthusiasm, but no-one to organise them.

WJFC - HistoryPeter Manion came up with the idea of starting a Saturday morning Football Club to provide an outlet for all that enthusiasm. He approached Gordon Algeo to help him, and on that first morning in October 1989 they waited to see if anyone would turn up. But by the end of that first session there had been 22 kids, and Football Club had been born. Initially it was called Welland Primary Football Club and was only open to the pupils from the school with the age range typically only 8 to 11.

Encouraged by the Headmistress Mrs. Richardson, the venture grew steadily in popularity and numbers. More and more dads joined in to help with the coaching sessions, including John Craddock, Don Atkinson, Dave Alderson, Dave Waite and Lee Dyment without all of whom the Club could not have survived, as the numbers grew to around 80 children during the first year. It was around this time that Karen Manion took on the unenviable role of Club Secretary, to co-ordinate all the internal and external activities.

WJFC HistoryThe original objectives of the Club were simply to provide coaching, and enjoyment whilst helping children to develop their skills in a non
competitive environment. Ability never was (and still isn’t) a criteria for being eligible to join the Club.

In the early years the Club didn’t take part in the Mercian League, only playing friendly matches against other local sides and helping out the school when they took part in the local Small Schools Tournaments. After about 3 years the next obvious step was finally taken and a side was entered into the Mercian League at Under 12’s.

The inevitable then followed, with the Under 12’s moving up to the Under 13’s the following season, with the Club entering a new side at Under 12’s. This steadily progressed until there were 5 sides playing at every level from Under 12’s to Under 16’s and even Welland Youth participating in the Stourport League at Under 17’s. It was during this period that the Club was re-named “Welland Juniors” and became affiliated to the FA. The age range of the Club naturally expanded right through from 5 to 18, with the number of pitches, coaches and helpers increasing proportionately. The ethos and beliefs of the Club have still not changed over 25 years. It is still only non-competitive football for the younger age groups, with the emphasis just as much on development and fun as it ever was. Even with the older age groups, where many championships and cups have been collected over the years, there is still a balance being achieved in using the whole squad as much as possible. Welland Juniors has grown over the years to a membership base of over 300 children, making it the biggest club in South Worcestershire. The Club has 50 active ‘Level 1’ & ‘Level 2’ coaches with a network of young Junior Leaders coming through the ranks.

From small beginnings, girls football has also been successfully introduced, initially under the guidance of former professional footballer, Paddy Mullen with Welland now working as a ‘WFA Girls Hub Club’ with active Under 11, Under 13 & Under 15 squads. Jodie Williams is now at the helm of girls and Ladies football and currently working towards her UEFA B Coaching qualification.

WJFC HistoryIn 2008 Welland Junior Football Club was presented with the ‘County Winner Club Award’ and achieved the level of FA Charter Standard Club, before going on to reach highest level possible, of FA Community and Charter Standard club, in 2009. This award can only be achieved by placing the Club at the heart of the community, and developing a high quality, multi-team (minimum of 10 teams) set up with excellent social, training and playing opportunities for all. As such, the number of Community Clubs is one of the truest measures of success for The FA Football Development strategy. It was this achievement and support from ‘Worcester County Council’ and the ‘Football Foundation’ that saw Welland able to build our pavilion and full size pitch on ‘Spitalfield’ working closely with the Parish Council and Welland Pre-School. The Pavilion was completed and fully operational in May, 2010, officially opened by Lord Pendry from theĀ  Football Foundation in August of that year.

The Club continues to develop with the formation of a Mens Team in 2011 providing an continued progression for Under 17 and Under 18 boys coming to the end of their youth football. This team has already progressed from Div 5 to Div 3 in the ‘Cheltenham Association Football League’

In 2012 Welland Ladies were formed and they now compete in the ‘Hereford & Worcester Girls & Womens County Football League’ on a Sunday afternoon.