FOOTBALL: Crick’s new Community Sports Centre dedicated to Wilf Simms

Wilf Simms
Wilf Simms

Official opening on Sunday

Crick’s new Community Sports Centre will be officially opened on Sunday (June 12) - in memory of Wilf Simms, the village’s football club secretary for 50 years.

Crick Community Sports Centre will be officially opened on Sunday

Crick Community Sports Centre will be officially opened on Sunday

He was involved with Crick Athletic nearly all his life, from joining the Under 18s in 1949 until he died last May aged 79.

Performing the opening ceremony at 1pm will be ex Premier League referee Peter Walton. This will be followed by a game between Crick Athletic and a Past Players XI, who all knew Wilf and will be turning out in his honour.

Wilf’s son Alan, secretary of both the football club and sports field project, said: “It’s such a pity he’s not here to see it. The pavilion will be dedicated to him with a plaque in the hallway and a bench just outside, where he would have enjoyed sitting watching all the matches.”

Sunday’s celebrations will mark the completion of another stage in Crick’s fantastic sports project, on land bought by the parish council.

The new pavilion, which will be open from 12.30pm for visitors to look around, includes clubhouse facilities, changing rooms for two teams and two match officials and a kitchen. Work began last October and building was completed in March.

It will serve those using its three football pitches including all-weather astro, as well as the Crick & West Haddon Tennis Club. A cricket pitch has been laid and should be ready for play next season, and two more football pitches are also planned. The sports field is also home to ‘SWEAT’ Sue Whiting’s exercise and training fitness centre.

The expanding facilities are vital to Crick Athletic, which has two senior teams, 12 junior teams catering for all age groups from five year olds right through to under 17s, girls and ladies’ teams and walking football for over 55s.

Born in the village, Wilf was a founder member of Crick Playing Field Association and chairman from 1969 to 2013. He also became a founder member of Crick Sports Field Association in 2005 and had served on the parish council for 15 years.

The project has been supported, among others, by the Football Foundation, Sport England and Daventry District Council, as well as Crick Parish Council.

Paul Lane, chairman of both the football club and sports field project and Ian Gidley secretary of the Colts are also among those steering the project.

Alan added: “It is fantastic to have gone from two football pitches to what will be five and once the cricket pitch is ready the club will have their own home ground, rather than having to play all their games away.

“It’s great for the football club to have our own astro for training so that players don’t have to travel, with the tennis club using it as well.

“It’s been a whole village effort and brings people to Crick from other villages.”

A life member of Crick Athletic, Wilf played football until he was until he was 43 and was manager of the first team for 15 years. Even after he had stepped down, he was still at every home game welcoming referees and the opposition with a cup of tea.

He had remained a regular at home games right up until just two weeks before he died.

Wilf’s dedication kept him as club secretary for an incredible 50 years, from 1961 to 2011.

He also organised the club’s six-a-side tournament from 1972 to 2008.

He was president of the Colts section and a fundraiser, along with his wife Joyce, to whom he was married for 54 years.