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Festive football set to be saved for AFC Sudbury, Bury Town, Felixstowe & Walton United, Leiston, Lowestoft Town and Needham Market amid league suspensions due to Covid-19 tier impact





After their leagues pulled the rug from under their feet with a continued fixture suspension, AFC Sudbury and Suffolk’s other Step 3 & 4 clubs will hope to recoup some of the match-day income in a round-robin festive festival, SuffolkNews can reveal.

It is the brainchild of AFC Sudbury’s commercial director, Roger Peck, and would see six teams go head-to-head across three home and three away matches for county bragging rights.

AFC Sudbury are already committed to the ‘Festive Football Festival Sponsored by Caribbean Blinds’ along with Needham Market, Felixstowe & Walton United and Leiston. He was still awaiting firm answers from Bury Town and Lowestoft Town at the time of going to press.

AFC Sudbury are hoping to draw some decent crowds to three festive fixtures later this month Picture: Mark Westley
AFC Sudbury are hoping to draw some decent crowds to three festive fixtures later this month Picture: Mark Westley

The dates of fixtures would encompass the traditional bumper gate Christmas holiday dates; Boxing Day and the Bank Holiday Monday.

It comes after the hammer blow late last week that Suffolk’s Step 3 & 4 clubs would not be allowed to continue their league fixtures under the currently assigned regional tiers.

The announcement by the Trident Leagues – the Pitching-In sponsored trio of the Isthmian League, Northern Premier League and Southern League – enacted on a majority (totalling 75 per cent) of its 225 member clubs voting to continue with a pause on the season. It will be reviewed with regional tier changes.

Sudbury company Caribbean Blinds, who took on a two-year kit deal sponsorship across all AFC Sudbury shirts throughout the club in the summer, are set to sponsor a series of festive fixtures involving Suffolk's Step 3 & 4 clubs. It was the idea and is being driven forward by AFC Sudbury's commercial director Roger Peck (pictured far left). Also pictured alongside him (from left) is Caribbean Blinds operations director Brad Dantzic, Caribbean Blinds managing director Stuart Dantzic and AFC Sudbury chairman Andrew Long
Sudbury company Caribbean Blinds, who took on a two-year kit deal sponsorship across all AFC Sudbury shirts throughout the club in the summer, are set to sponsor a series of festive fixtures involving Suffolk's Step 3 & 4 clubs. It was the idea and is being driven forward by AFC Sudbury's commercial director Roger Peck (pictured far left). Also pictured alongside him (from left) is Caribbean Blinds operations director Brad Dantzic, Caribbean Blinds managing director Stuart Dantzic and AFC Sudbury chairman Andrew Long

As well as health concerns during the pandemic, clubs had been vocal on their thoughts that playing on in the government’s tougher regional tier system made staging games for many financially not viable.

Suffolk clubs were not among those though. And Peck, a former commercial director at Suffolk FA, is hoping to deliver good news with plans almost in place for round-robin style festive games that he hopes will fill the gap for clubs, players and fans alike.

“I am just trying to get clubs who want to play playing again to help them out with some revenue at a key time, as the festive fixtures are usually when they will get their biggest gates,” he said.

“Hopefully it can be a competitive tournament and we already have a local sponsor on board in Caribbean Blinds who are extending their support for local non-league football out of just AFC Sudbury, which is great.

Luca Collins makes a save in the last seconds of the match for AFC Sudbury in a derby fixture at Bury Town - the sides could be set to meet in some festive fixtures Picture: Mecha Morton
Luca Collins makes a save in the last seconds of the match for AFC Sudbury in a derby fixture at Bury Town - the sides could be set to meet in some festive fixtures Picture: Mecha Morton

“I am also worried people have not been at football for quite a long time now and they are breaking their habits and we want them to be able to get back to it and enjoying it as soon as they can.”

The ‘Festive Festival’ would be set to start from December 19 and be concluded by January 9, when league fixtures may return.

But Peck said more games could be added in if the suspension persists.

He also hopes the format can add some fun interest with three points for a win, one point for a draw, one point for a penalty shootout win – all games will end with one – and a point for each goal scored.

It is not clear whether clubs would need to bring players off furlough for it, with no charge for entry, but AFC Sudbury’s players have been and are said to have committed to non-payment throughout the festival to help out.

Admission would be on a ‘pay what you want’ donation basis to go back into clubs with Caribbean Blinds and Peck’s The KBB Centre business covering costs, such as match-day officials.

* Any business wishing to help can email roger@kbbeastanglia.co.uk

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