Corton FC forced to fold

Grassroots football suffered a blow this week upon the news that Corton FC had pulled out of the Ang

Grassroots football suffered a blow this week upon the news that Corton FC had pulled out of the Anglian Combination. - Credit: James Bass

More than 110 years of football history couldn't stop Anglian Combination side Corton from folding.

The Whites' struggles, which has seen them forfeit several Division One games due to a lack of players, finally came to a head and the committee took the decision over the weekend that enough was enough.

Carl Smith, who was acting as the club's chairman as well as the manager, admitted that he knew the end was coming.

'It just got to the point where it wasn't worth it any more,' he said. 'We were getting fined for not playing – we've still got £200 worth of fines to pay. It's just ended up costing money – I bought a new kit, which I paid for out of my own money and that's gone to waste now.

'The days of everyone wanting to play a game of football have long gone.'

Smith believes the cost and administration involved in running a grassroots club is starting to take its toll as Corton, who were established in 1902, became the 11th Suffolk team to go to the wall this season. 'You do have to put a lot of money in now and there are a lot of hoops to jump through,' he said. 'It puts people off playing and getting involved in the game.

'The more things that get put in the way, the less people enjoy it. I think something has got to be done to make it easier otherwise I can only see more football clubs at this level going the same way.'

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Player commitment is often cited as a key issue in the demise of clubs but Smith understands that people have to prioritise their jobs and families over the beautiful game.

'It's modern life – everyone works seven days a week now,' he said. 'We've got a couple of lads who work for Potters and quite understandably they're needed for work over the festive period. That leaves us short and then we've got to find more players.'

Smith hopes Corton can rise again in the future lower down the non league pyramid.

'You never know what might happen in the future – people may really miss it and there may be a club in the future.'