THERE seems to be a concerted effort of late to preserve the memory of our lost sporting establishments.
Last week we took a look at Mike Bradbury's new book, Lost Teams of the Midlands, and now, hot on its heels, comes Lost Cricket and Football Clubs and Grounds in the South of the Black Country, by regular Bugle contributor Terry Church of Wall Heath.
Focusing more tightly on our neck of the woods, Terry's book features a wide range of works teams, along with town and village clubs, some very familiar names and one or two virtual unknowns. There are also dozens of photographs of cricket and football sides from all eras, as well as their lost grounds.
"I often wonder what our forefathers would make of today's world," Terry writes.
"For the sports minded among them, they would find it incomprehensible that the proliferation of so many sports grounds within a very short distance of each other are long since gone, sacrificed to the god of housing and retail development. In our own area of Brierley Hill, Cradley Heath, Dudley, Gornal, Halesowen, Kingswinford, Netherton, Old Hill, Stourbridge, Swindon, Wall Heath and Wordsley, I am aware of over one hundred cricket or football clubs or grounds that are gone forever."
Some of the less well-known clubs featured include Lye Thursday, Wordsley Hospital, and Gornal Methodist Cricket Clubs, with Netherton Town, Dunns Bank Rovers, and no less than four Kingswinford teams representing football.
The author has also been out and about with his camera to capture what's left of some of those former grounds.
Lost Football and Cricket Clubs is available from Ashwood Nurseries, Kingswinford, from the author at 6 Wharfedale Close, Wall Heath, Kingswinford, West Midlands DY6 9AZ, and online at www.wall heath.org.uk.