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Sadness as town's football club withdraws from league citing lack of players

PUBLISHED: 11:34 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:18 02 August 2019

Cabbell Park home of Cromer Town FC.

Photo by Mark Bullimore

Cabbell Park home of Cromer Town FC. Photo by Mark Bullimore

Archant Norfolk 2015

A Norfolk town's football club has withdrawn from the league for the first time in its long history.

Jenna Bedwell in 2017 when she became chairman of Cromer Town Football Club. Picture: Ian BurtJenna Bedwell in 2017 when she became chairman of Cromer Town Football Club. Picture: Ian Burt

No competitive matches will be played at Cromer Town FC this season, after the club, nicknamed the Crabs, withdrew from the Anglian Combination League Division Two - but it still remains a club.

The club's chairman Jenna Bedwell said they had withdrawn from the division because they did not have enough players to field a team. Their first match would have been on August 27.

She said: "The club is still going but we will not be running any teams this year.

"We don't have enough players to compete in the league. We are hoping to start in the North East Norfolk (NEN) league the year after, and build our way back up through the Anglian Combination leagues from there.

Cabbell Park home of Cromer Town FC.

Photo by Mark BullimoreCabbell Park home of Cromer Town FC. Photo by Mark Bullimore

"In the meantime, we want to start attracting players at the local level.

"If the club had carried on in the league this year, with the issues we have, we might have ended up going down. So we thought 'let's not struggle, let's pull out now'.

"Some of our players will go to Holt and a few others used to play for Runton. Our manager runs an academy and will stay as a player."

Other clubs have already taken to social media to express sadness at the news.

Cromer Town FC logo.
PHOTO: submittedCromer Town FC logo. PHOTO: submitted

Sheringham FC‏ tweeted: "So sorry to hear this, many great battles between us down the years. Sad day for Norfolk football."

And Briston FC‏ said: "Awful news. Guttering for local grassroots football."

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Formed in the late 19 century, Cromer Town moved to Cabbell Park in 1922, and a team has played in the Anglian Combination for 100 years.

Jenna Bedwell is the chairman of Cromer Town Football Club. Picture: Ian BurtJenna Bedwell is the chairman of Cromer Town Football Club. Picture: Ian Burt

The club's pitch at Cabbell Park will still be used with a Wildcats programme, for girls aged five to 11, starting from September. The club is also developing a disability programme as well as football for well-being and fitness.

'The Share As One for Mental Health' charity was launched at the club earlier this year. It supports people in north Norfolk after a number of suicides among young men in Cromer.

The recent history of Cromer Town FC has been plagued with uncertainty.

Cabbell Park was given to the people of Cromer in 1922 by landowner Evelyn Bond Cabbell.

A clause in the trust agreement allowed the ground to be leased to the club until 21 years after the death of the last of Edward VII's grandchildren.

But there was confusion over whether that was King Olav of Norway or the Earl of Harewood.

And then, in 2017, a summer of turmoil behind the scenes, following a season to forget, saw the outfit come close to folding.

The side has previously been given a guarantee from North Norfolk District Council that it can stay at Cabbell Park until a new home is found.

But plans that would have guaranteed a new home for the club were turned down. Two rival locations for a new home have been suggested in Roughton and Norwich Roads.



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