Village football club could fold if they don't find new players
- Credit: Peter Steward
Village football has been a bastion of life for many years, but one team could fold for lack of players.
Hethersett Athletic’s men’s Saturday team has been struggling to fulfil fixtures in the Central and South Norfolk League Division One.
Over the years, the team has been one of the most successful in the league’s history, being named team of the season on a number of occasions as well as winning a number of prestigious trophies.
Now, a handful of games into the new season, team manager Michael Lemmon and club chairman Neal Luther have been left scratching their heads after being left with just six players.
“Players’ attitudes and priorities have changed," said Mr Lemmon and Mr Luther. "There is not the commitment there once was. Players leave for higher teams and we are left struggling to field a side.
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“In the past we had players who played for the club through thick and thin. Most have now retired and there just isn’t the commitment."
The club has used social media and worked with Norfolk FA in an attempt to attract new players but to no avail.
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Mr Lemmon added: “It would be a tragedy if after 15 years of success the team had to fold."
Poor facilities on Hethersett Memorial Playing Field are another reason cited for the exodus although plans for a new pavilion are well advanced.
The club still has a thriving youth set-up which gives regular football to over 300 youngsters from Under-six to Under-16.
Mr Luther said: “I cannot believe that with all the development in the village there aren’t adult players moving in who want to play football We are looking for a group of players who are committed.
"It is not about winning, it is about team spirit, having fun and enjoying Saturday football again and not worrying when the phone goes on a Friday evening that it is another player calling off.
"We realise that sometimes you have to plumb the depths before you can bounce back but we really want to keep going."
Anyone interested in joining the team can contact Michael Lemmon on 0748 489 5176 or email email@example.com.