Long-standing football festival cancelled

Action from a previous staging of the Westfield FC May Soccer Festival
Action from a previous staging of the Westfield FC May Soccer Festival

One of the south east’s longest-running and most popular small-sided football tournaments has been cancelled this year.

The annual Westfield FC May Soccer Festival, which dates way back to 1976, will not take place in 2011 due to a lack of entries.

Festival co-ordinator Melvyn Young said: “I’m absolutely devastated. We’ve had 22 entries for 13 age groups so we’ve decided to cancel it.”

The six-a-side event used to regularly attract 200 or more teams from several counties, and it was so large that it was spread over two weekends - the May Day Bank Holiday weekend and a fortnight later.

Entries suffered a pronounced dip last year - put down to the season over-running following bad weather during the winter - and this year - when the winter wasn’t so harsh - they’ve plummeted still further.

The highest amount of entries in any of the age groups was seven at under-9 level, but the under-7 event - due to take place on the same day - had just three and two of those were from the same London-based club.

There was just one team in the veterans’ and adults’ competitions as of the closing date for entries on Tuesday, and none at all in the ladies’ and under-16 categories.

Westfield Football Club is likely to hold a meeting around August or September time to decide whether to attempt to get the festival up and running again next year.

The full article will appear in Friday’s Observers.