It was good to read that Emmerson Boyce, the local schoolboy who played for Crystal Palace and Wigan Athletic, and the impresario, David Stopps, were being awarded the ‘Freedom of the Town of Aylesbury’.
The latter was particularly appropriate as AVDC has just launched its first phase to make the town ‘a centre for entertainment and the arts’, with a vibrant music scene in the town centre based on David Stopps legacy of Friars.
Of course, the reason for adding culture to the town centre is mainly economic.
It is saying that, although we can’t compete with the shopping centres of Milton Keynes, Watford, Oxford or High Wycombe, we can attract people in with entertainment.
Yet our sporting legacy is missing from the equation.
Emmerson Boyce was first spotted by scouts from Luton playing for Aylesbury United’s schoolboy side.
Back in the 1990’s Aylesbury United was well known in the sporting world.
The famous ‘duck walk’ was even featured on ‘A Question of Sport’.
There is no doubt that a good football or rugby team draws fans into the town.
Take High Wycombe, for example.
Thousands of visitors boost the town’s economy whenever Wanderers or Wasps are playing, plus the coverage the town gets from the sporting media.
Only this weekend, a Hull council official was quoted as saying that being in the cup final has put the ‘city on the map’.
We have two football teams, both languishing in the lower reaches of minor leagues, and, regrettably, Aylesbury United doesn’t even play in the town any more. Its few loyal fans currently have to travel to Leighton Buzzard to support them.
Their former stadium in Buckingham Road lies deserted, and I am sure refurbishment is well within the current council budgets.
So I say to the district council, “Add sport to your entertainment agenda”, and bring the Ducks back home.
The campaign should start here.