New name at youth football club reflects ‘inclusive’ values

The badge of the newly-named Dunmow Rovers Youth Football Club.

The badge of the newly-named Dunmow Rovers Youth Football Club. - Credit: Archant

There is a new name for Dunmow Rhodes Youth Football Club – after the club decided that the name carried too much of a negative connotation and didn’t reflect their “modern and inclusive values”.

They will now be known as Dunmow Rovers and a statement from club chairman Jamie Smith on behalf of all the committee members explained why the change was required.

He said: “In the light of the recent events in Bishop’s Stortford and around the UK, as well as feelings within our community, we as a committee have been discussing the issue of the name Rhodes being connected with the club.

“The name was innocently taken in 1976 from the avenue in which our founders Bill and Norah Pratt lived in Bishop’s Stortford.

“They later moved and settled in Dunmow, hence the connection.

“We are very proud of Bill and Norah’s commitment and hard work to have started our journey as a club but we now understand that this commemorates the birthplace of businessman, politician and imperialist Cecil Rhodes, founder of the former Rhodesia in southern Africa and who is now reviled as a white supremacist.

“We have already actively engaged in an ongoing process with the town council and local petitions and surveys on this matter, and that has enabled us to make a decision and rename our club.

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“This has been decided unanimously by the committee and it has been chosen to truly reflect the wishes of our local community and diverse society we live in today.

“We hope that such a move would be very welcomed and would better reflect our society and our modern, inclusive values as a club.”

The name change is the only change that the club have made with Smith saying that keeping the club colours and as much tradition of the club as possible was needed.

The Pratt’s vision was to provide football for boys and girls of all abilities and to develop their skills in a competitive environment and that vision remains the club’s ethos.

Today the club offers a safe place to play football in Great Dunmow at their Recreation Ground base.