15 May 2009
Many people in the north of the borough will be deeply saddened to learn that Fisher Athletic Football Club has been wound up.
Just as with Dulwich down in the south, a succession of young players learnt their skills at the Surrey Docks Stadium - some going onto greater things, with others content just to represent their local community.
The Fisher name carries great weight in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, for both football and boxing achievements, and the winding up of the club in the Royal Courts of Justice due to unpaid tax is almost a death knell for a way of life and a sense of community that sadly seems to have disappeared forever.
Few will be surprised by the news. Not just because this is the club’s third appearance in court in a bid to stave off execution, but because since the ‘90s it has been all too apparent that the club has been fighting against the odds to keep its doors open.
For, as much as it was held in affection by local people, that wasn’t translated into bums on seats, as the traditional fanbase migrated away from Rotherhithe and football fans across the country increasingly pledged their allegiance to the biggest clubs.
Even a club of Millwall’s size and history is feeling the effect of this.
For years the club has depended on the largesse of local businessmen to ensure its survival, and we all knew that this couldn’t go on forever. And while, initially, there was a community of Fisher fans around the stadium, perhaps those who argued for it to be based in Bermondsey back in the early eighties were correct in their assessment of the longterm supporter base.
Yet there could still be a glimmer of hope. The desire of young footballers to play in their local community is still great and there is a decent argument for Fisher re-forming as a real grassroots organisation in the heart of Bermondsey.
Whilst ambitious plans from the owners of Surrey Docks Stadium to build a new stadium in Southwark Park were rejected by Southwark Council, isn’t there a chance that a popular local side could play in the park, and work closely with Millwall to provide talented local lads for their youth academy?
There was huge controversy a decade ago when Fisher cut back on its youth provision. So why not take the opportunity now to preserve the prestigious sporting name, but anchor it solidly in grassroots sporting talent?
Agree or disagree?
Let us know what you think!
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