Having originally been evacuated to the area in 1939 from Bethnal Green, Vic eventually moved to Wivenhoe in 1963 and through people he met in the local pubs gradually began to take an interest in the then unspectacular fortunes of Wivenhoe Rangers. Encouraged by player/club secretary/treasurer Bill Hill, Vic joined the Rangers’ committee on 9th June 1965 at the club’s A.G.M held down on the waterfront at the Rose & Crown Public House (Wivenhoe’s headquarters at the time). One year later at the same venue he was elected Chairman, replacing Mr E. Howard. These were dark days for the club on the pitch and Vic paid tribute to the man who had originally got him interested by saying; “If it hadn’t have been for Billy Hill with his enthusiasm and dedication, the club may well have folded.”
Turning Rangers’ fortunes around took a lot of hard work as at one point in January 1967 the club’s balance sheet showed just £28 in the bank to operate on and they had slipped into the Second Division of the Colchester & East Essex League. For a period, with no volunteers forthcoming, Vic had to also assume the duties of First Team Secretary and, in his role as Chairman, prompted the club to approach the University Of Essex in an attempt to attract more players to boost a struggling team. By the summer of 1968 the club had put itself in a much healthier financial position and Wivenhoe’s remarkable rise began under Williamson. He also oversaw the decision to take Team selection away from the Committee and allow the Coach/Manager full power in that department which did not go down too well with some of the ‘Old School’ members of the club who promptly resigned !. “I try and run the club like a business with the objective to do as well as we can.” Vic stated in the Football Star in December 1979. “We have achieved a lot but must not stand still and must keep looking for new horizons.”
Above :- The Rose & Crown, Wivenhoe Rangers’ headquarters at the time of Vic Williamson’s election onto the club’s Committee.
This drive saw Wivenhoe rise from the park football of the Colchester & East Essex League 2nd Division, up through the Essex & Suffolk Border League and into the Essex Senior league in just eleven seasons, though Vic was always quick to credit the club’s four managers during this period, Gordon Haffenden, Bobby Coppin, Peter Boyden and Geoff Bennett. Of the latter Vic enthused “Geoff is my cup of tea, a real dynamo with a professional approach and a born leader.” Vic also oversaw the club change it’s name to Wivenhoe Town in 1974. This name change from Rangers had also been proposed at the 1969 A.G.M but had been defeated by 13 votes to 9 on that occasion. During his tenure Wivenhoe left behind the slopes of the King George V playing fields and the University grounds to set up home on our current Broad Lane site in Elmstead Road. It took several years of searching before the right piece of land was located with help from local MP Julian Risdale and eventually purchased for £2,250 in November 1976. With the aid of grants, the sports council and assistance from Colchester Council, the National & Essex Playing Fields Associations, plus a loan from Ipswich Brewers Tolly Cobbold, the money was raised to build a £35,000 clubhouse on the site with then Club President Eddie Tolliday heavily involved.
Above :- Vic Williamson (centre) pictured with Mick Hatch (left) and Peter Boyden in 1972.
After seventeen years at the helm Vic eventually handed the Chairmanship over to Dave Whymark in the summer of 1983 and became the club’s President for twelve months. He remained on the committee for a further four years before stepping back in June 1988. As a Life Member and Vice President he continued to follow and support the Dragons for many years, always on hand along with Eddie Tolliday to offer advice if needed. Vic passed away on 30th March 2015 having made a huge contribution to the history of Wivenhoe Town Football Club.