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28 October 2014

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You are in: Cambridgeshire > Sport > Features > The Stutes dare to dream

The Glassworld Stadium

Histon FC - the Glassworld Stadium

The Stutes dare to dream

Histon were once a village football team struggling in the Eastern Counties Premier Division. Now they’re chartering planes to fly to fixtures. What’s changed, what will change and what will never change?

Chairman Gareth Baldwin remembers when the first team was watched by just 25 people. He says “the people of Histon and Impington probably weren’t even aware they had a football club”. In the early years he merely “wanted to get into the Southern League” and “make the club the number two club in the Cambridge area”.

Their manager Steve Fallon used to play for Cambridge United. He then managed Cambridge City. Now Histon play on a par with United and a league above City. Not content to rest on their laurels, Steve suggests “there are still steps further up that they want to go”.

However, Gareth wants success to be sustainable. That means the club has to remain semi-pro. He descrbes the decision as “purely financial”, but says they “may get to January and decide that they’re able to go full-time, but we may not”.

Work on the new Cambs FA building

The new stand and Cambs FA headquarters

Last year the Stutes smashed their attendance record, getting nearly a thousand fans to every game. It may sound a lot but it's not enough at this level. To push up numbers, Gareth wants to ensure that "coming to the stadium is an enjoyable experience". As a result, the Glassworld currently looks like a building site. That's because they're building the brand new Cambridgeshire FA headquarters along with a 500 seater stand.

If the club was only drawing fans from the immediate area, it could never compete with non-league giants like York and Oxford. They've recently had a director join from London because he "got the bug". Which raises the question, is Histon still a village club?

Gareth says the club's core value is "family and community". Given he runs the club with the help of his wife and some 70 volunteers that's perfectly fair. He also "hopes that never leaves the club". Perhaps it shows in the performances on the pitch. In the last decade, Histon have won more league games than Chelsea for a fraction of the cost.

Histon v Bishop's Stortford

Histon v Bishop's Stortford

You can have all the goodwill in the world, but it doesn't guarantee that level of success. There's something else going on at the Glassworld. Having talked to a number of people at the club, it seems to be a simple matter of mutual respect. Striker Chris Dillon talks of how the manager and coach "complement each other". Meanwhile, the gaffer reckons Gareth is on a "different planet to any of the other chairmen around here".

Perhaps the domestic bliss is just a reflection of their success. Perhaps reality's about to bite. Gareth remains realistic in his goals. "Getting a football league ground is the first target, staying at this level is quite high on the agenda".

...and he wants to build the volunteer base. After all, "it's such a lovely club to be invloved in".

last updated: 24/07/07

Have Your Say

Does money always make the difference in the bigger football leagues? Can the fairytale continue?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

CliffStamp56
Big Money is essential now days but players make the difference. Remember Sheringham and Cascarino in 89-90 at the den.

Paul Fisher
As my grandfather says, we are currently being bank rolled. When it goes wrong, what will happen? Will our supporters drift away? I hope not as we have to take a leaf out of City's book and make sure we get supporters who will stay loyal to the club.We have got to do better than our pre-season form otherwise we will be on the slippery slope. Make no mistake about it, this will be our strongest test yet. My Grandfather and me can't wait for it to start.

Andrew Wade
Peterborough were in dreamland when they joined the Football League in 1960.47 years later, they're still in what was the old Fourth Division. that's not dreamland, that's reality.That said, good luck to Histon. They deserve everything that's coming their way. May the dream never end!

exbumpfan
Of course the big money helps - but the community feel is an important aspect, that will keep a club going through thick and thin.And yes the fairytale will continue

Ted Fisher
Whilst we are currently being bank-rolled we will be okay but what will happen once it all dries up? Will we suffer a similar fate to Hornchurch or flounder like Weymouth?

halftimebeer
Money always makes a difference in any football club, but you also need a good chairman, committed board and of cause Fallon and Becks. The fairytale can continue for a couple of seasons then see how we get on in the league.

Tom Franklin
I think the fairytale can certainly continue. When there's a strong will running through a club, there is always a way. Solid strategic planning has been key to Histon's success so far and it this will continue to shape the fortunes of the club. Complacency is always a threat but having met the chairman and the manager, they do not strike me as the type of guys to rest on their laurels. I wish them all the very best for the forthcoming season and beyond.

Simon Allen
Histon is a fairytale whatever happens from here is dreamland Well done to everyone

Paul Collins
Interesting to hear that we're the 3rd most successful English team in the last 10 years - behind Man U & Arsenal!I think they're going about it in a sensible way - to go pro straight away could bankrupt the club. Taking stock at Christmas is sensible.I think we have a squad capable of at least staying in the BSP if not finishing above mid-way.

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