Support floods in for Wisbech Town FC stalwart after nearly 60 years of service

PUBLISHED: 18:48 19 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:48 19 August 2020

Messages of support have flooded in for John Petch who has stepped down as president of Wisbech Town FC. Picture: SPENCER LARHAM/WISBECH TOWN FC

Messages of support have flooded in for John Petch who has stepped down as president of Wisbech Town FC. Picture: SPENCER LARHAM/WISBECH TOWN FC

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Messages of support have flooded in for a Wisbech Town FC stalwart, who has stepped down as president after nearly 60 years of service.

Messages of support have flooded in for John Petch who has stepped down as president of Wisbech Town FC. Picture: SPENCER LARHAM/WISBECH TOWN FCMessages of support have flooded in for John Petch who has stepped down as president of Wisbech Town FC. Picture: SPENCER LARHAM/WISBECH TOWN FC

Since attending his first Fenmen game in 1951 against King’s Lynn, John Petch has been involved with the club since the 1960s and has been president since April 2014, as well as holding other roles such as chairman and secretary.

John, 79, has also walked 10 laps around the Elgoods Fenland Stadium pitch during a game to raise £450 for the club in November 2019.

Speaking on his resignation, John said: “Thank you all for your very kind comments which are much appreciated. It’s been an honour to serve Wisbech Town Football Club.”

Paul Brenchley, chairman of Wisbech Town, was taught by John while a pupil at the town’s St Peter’s Junior School, before crossing paths at the club in 2008.

He said: “He’s Wisbech through and through, and it will be big shoes to step into.

“John has always been on the scene in different capacities. He’s old school. He has the club at heart and will be sorely missed.”

John was a regular columnist for Wisbech Town’s matchday programme, working alongside club secretary Spencer Larham who was one to understand his niche humour.

He said: “He’s a man who enjoys a bad joke.

“John is someone who would not use emojis, but if he understood what emojis were, there would be one that indicates sarcasm; that’s his kind of humour. We have always had a good relationship.”

MORE: No need to mention relegation fight, says Wisbech Town boss ahead of pre-season campaign

Social media users shared their thoughts on John’s service. Former Fenmen boss Dick Creasey wrote that John was “always a pleasure to speak to”, while coach Jonny Pearce labelled the outgoing president as “a true clubman”.

Wisbech secured their second pre-season victory with a 5-1 win over Norwich CBS on Tuesday. Avelino Vieira and Dylan Edge netted braces, while new signing Jack Gurney also scored.

Today, the FA has issued guidelines on the return of spectators for clubs between steps three and six, which includes step four Wisbech, after the government updated its guidance on recreational team sports events.

Stage one of the guidelines, which also applies to tiers three and four of the women’s football pyramid, will enable clubs to allow no more than 15 per cent of its ground capacity between August 22-30.

From August 31, clubs can then allow up to 30 per cent of its ground capacity if both the FA and government are happy that club has followed the initial guidelines.

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