A Face in the Crowd. By Martin Simpson

I've never played a game of cricket in my life but what a great life I've had watching cricket at Carlton. I've been that face in the crowd for around 45 years, I remember the old wooden pavilion and the tiny changing rooms with the tea ladies in the back beavering away over a pound of tongue and a pile of mothers pride from Mick's corner shop, the tiny scorebox outside with Herschel scoring, good job he was small, with his pile of tin numbers to hang on the nails.

The ground was always full even on league games with standing room only for the cup matches. The local rivalry was always intense although we still have our little band of support, the barmy army with Paul and Keith being the generals. I remember them both playing, Paul as captain would always out think the opposition, Keith would open and never give his wicket away, these are just 2 out of maybe hundreds of great cricketers over the years who I've watched play with passion for Carlton and never a thought of moving to any other club.

We have it a little easier these days with a lovely club and all its facilities, I can recall as many can, the enormous amount of fundraising effort that went into building this fine clubhouse with all its brilliant memories, if only it could talk.

In the early days we all took it in turns for bar duty. I did Thursday nights with my mate Ian. There would always be a full club most nights mid week, and usually at 10 o'clock after closing their chippy, Don and Bob smith would come in with Peter lord you could tell they were coming by the fishy smell before they opened the door. Then there was Morticia who would buy a pint to save a halfpenny and pour it into 2 half glasses. Sadly we don't open through the week anymore, maybe it's a sign of the times or maybe we need a kick up the rear to bring in the new villagers with some good beers and a welcome.

We have a brilliant volunteer workforce from tea ladies to committees to ground staff who work hard mostly behind the scenes to keep the club running who would appreciate some help with next year being our 150th anniversary. We need to pull together to showcase our ground to give us a good start for the next 150, this is our time in club history to make sure it thrives.

Martin