PROMOTION to Division One of the Macron SIL is a dream come true for Woolverstone United.
The fact that it has been achieved in their centenary season is the icing on the cake for the club who play at Hazelwoods near Woolverstone Marina on the Shotley Peninsula.
Woolverstone sealed the Division Two title on Saturday thanks to a 9-0 win at bottom-of-the-table Ipswich Athletic, just a week after their promotion was confirmed.
Club chair Craig Catchpole, who has been in post for the past 25 years, said he can’t wait to get going as Woolverstone United prepare to step up next season.
Craig, who has been involved for 46 years and played more than 500 times for Woolverstone, stood down four years ago to allow brother Clive to take over as first-team manager at a club which has a strong family presence.
Craig’s son Matt, who has been with the club for 18 years, is the Reserve team manager, his other son Luke played in the first team, while sister-in-law Julie is club secretary and Clive and Julie’s son Hayden is the leading goalscorer.
Woolverstone United pictured above with the Division Two trophy. Main photograph: Woolverstone United players celebrate winning promotion to Division One of the Macron SIL.
Craig said: “It means so much as this was Dad’s and Grandad’s club and for me being at the club for 46 years, I have seen the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly!
“To watch some excellent football which is being played at Hazelwoods at the present time is a credit to all those involved.”
Craig underlined what winning promotion means to those involved with the club.
He said: “Four years ago when I stood down and Clive took up the reins, we held a committee meeting and set a goal for Division One football in five years.
“It was also decided at that time to include our under-18 side in these plans so that we had young players coming through. It actually happened in four years, including two Covid years, so is a fantastic achievement.
“It was a similar plan to the 2006 achievement, when I was asked to step up from the under-18s manager to first-team manager and we had three promotions in three years and a cup win. Again, bringing on the younger players is definitely the way forward.
“For Woolverstone to play in Division One is a dream come true, also this year the village has become more involved helping financially towards new facilities.”
Craig Catchpole (left) and brother Clive Catchpole (right) pictured with the Macron SIL Division Two trophy.
Craig said winning promotion in the club’s centenary was ‘just amazing’ but especially so for David Hazelwood, who is known as ‘Mr Woolverstone’ and after whom the ground is named due to his long-standing association with the club.
“I believe the difference this year is the boys are a year older and wiser, lads from the reserves that have moved up when we have been short have stepped up to the game,” continued Craig.
Everyone at the club is excited by the prospect of playing Division One football for the first time next season.
“The club and also the village can't wait to get going, we will need to strengthen and this will start straight away.
“For me personally, to welcome Grundisburgh to Hazelwoods will be a dream; for years they have been the club to copy. Also, it will be nice to go to Stanton, a place where I once had 18 goals put past me in a Mick McNeil Cup game!” added Craig.