VILLAGE football clubs have struggled in recent years and some have ceased to exist, but Elstead FC and Tongham FC are starting the season with new hope for the future.

Elstead had a stroke of luck when, at an extraordinary general meeting to determine if the club could continue, Anthony ‘Macca’ Mukabaa, the former Reading striker who had recently moved into the village, offered to help. He has taken over as player/manager and is keen to develop the squad and introduce some of the youngsters who have graduated through the successful Elstead Sharks youth set-up. He got Parogon Contracts Ltd to invest in new kit and Mrs Mukabaa, Jo, has become secretary, with James Little as club chairman.

Elstead (pictured in their new kit) played their first game on Saturday and gained a creditable 3-3 draw away to Burpham Reserves in the Guildford & Woking Alliance Division Three.

Tongham FC (formed in 1902) ran into problems two years ago and the committee ‘threw in the towel’ midway through the 2016-17 season.

The club will now compete in the Guildford & Woking Alliance Premier Division under the guidance of manager Adam Streeter.

Club chairman Les Oakley said: “It can only be good for the village to once again be represented on the football front as village life needs this.”

Along with the Saturday side, there will also be a new under-13 team playing on Saturdays, as well as an adult side competing on Sundays.

Denis Barber-Kebby, a trustee of the Tongham Community Association, added: “The rebirth of football at Tongham Recreation Ground has been funded by local organisations, enabling the purchase of new senior and junior goal posts. Those helping include the local NISA shop, Tongham Community Association, Tongham Parish Council and the Tongham Institute Fund.”

Tongham made an encouraging start to their league campaign, winning 4-3 at Hersham on Saturday. It was a great day for Sam Carey who scored all four of Tongham’s goals.