A football club has been forced to move five miles down the road after a row broke out.

Easton FC, which plays in the seventh tier of non-league football, will now play its home fixtures at Mattishall Playing Field. 

The club has been forced to leave Easton College - which has been its home for a decade - due to its unsuitable 3G playing surface and a "lack of engagement" from Easton Parish Council.

Dereham Times: Easton FC manager, Chris BrownbridgeEaston FC manager, Chris Brownbridge (Image: Easton FC)

"The playing field has needed replacing for the last two or three seasons," said club manager, Chris Brownbridge.

"And now it's got to a point where it's not fit for senior football.

"The parish council have never shown any interest or willingness to work with us.

"So we felt now was the right time to leave and move somewhere we will be welcome."

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But Peter Milliken, vice chairman of Easton Parish Council, which is currently at the centre of a funding battle to complete a £2.5m community centre, has hit back at these claims. 

Mr Milliken said: "As a committed parish council, we consistently aim to support our local community and have provided financial support to Easton Football Club whenever called upon.

Dereham Times: Easton Parish Council vice chairman, Peter MillikenEaston Parish Council vice chairman, Peter Milliken (Image: Newsquest)

"Unfortunately,  we haven’t seen representatives from the football team attend any recent parish meetings or received any engagement from them.

“As part of the forthcoming second phase of the Persimmon development in Easton, there will be a versatile multi-use games area, including a small football pitch, albeit not to Football Association standards."

A space has opened up in Mattishall after the village's team moved to Bradenham - changing its name to Bradenham & Mattishall Football Club.

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But Easton - who were promoted to the Anglian Combination Premier Division last season - has confirmed it will retain the name Easton FC and has encouraged fans from both villages to come along to games.

"Fans have already told us they'll travel to our new ground to support us," said Chris.

"This has been driven a great deal by our A team - particularly Martin Butcher, Mitchell Thompson, Mark Trett and Danny Bridgwood. 

Dereham Times: The football ground at Easton CollegeThe football ground at Easton College (Image: Mike Page)

"Thank you to the Mattishall Playing Field and Social Club committees for having us.

"We can't wait to get started on this exciting new chapter."

Football clubs on the move

A number of English football clubs have relocated over the years.

Perhaps the most high-profile case came in 2003 when former FA Cup winners Wimbledon were controversially moved to Milton Keynes and renamed MK Dons. Prior to this, the troubled club spent 12 years at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park.

Coventry City spent the 2013-14 season ground sharing with Northampton Town due to a lease dispute.

The Sky Blues returned to their stadium in 2014 but left again in 2019, after rugby club Wasps had moved up from London, and had to share St Andrew's Stadium with Birmingham City for two seasons.

Dereham Times: Coventry City's home ground, now called the Coventry Building Society ArenaCoventry City's home ground, now called the Coventry Building Society Arena (Image: PA)

In Norfolk, Norwich United relocated to Plantation Park in Blofield in 1991 to meet the ground grading requirements of the Eastern Counties League, where they remain.

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Gorleston are also currently playing their home fixtures at the home ground of local rivals Great Yarmouth Town Town.

The Greens had been hoping to move to the new pitch at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, but a statement issued last year said this was "no longer" a viable option.

The announcement came after the club spent the 2022-23 season at Lowestoft Town's Crown Meadow.