Longest serving club has to withdraw from Norwich & District Sunday League
- Credit: Archant
The longest serving club in the Copy IT & Norwich Evening News Norwich & District Sunday League has had to withdraw from the league.
Norwich Busmen, which has been involved with the league since the early 1960s, has not been able to get together enough players to form a club for this season.
The three-time top tier champions, now known as the Premier Division, will not be involved in the league's opening fixtures tomorrow after notifying the league's committee just 10 days ago.
That news follows an eighth-placed finish in the 11-team Premier Division last season, winning nine of their 20 games.
But now the future is looking bleak for the club, which also won the League Cup three times.
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'We've got four or five people working behind the scenes, off the pitch isn't the problem, we just haven't got the players,' explained Busmen secretary Nigel Brown, who has been with the club for over 30 years.
'Last year we signed 35 players on and this year after our first committee meeting we contacted the manager and said we need the registration form in and he said he only had eight players.
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'We got in touch with the league and they gave us a fortnight's grace. We said we've got to be honest with the eight players about it, and when we told them we lost another two!
'You need a minimum of 18-20 players to compete and we were facing a heavy bill to rent our pitch (at Sloughbottom Park).'
Brown said costs, the rise of the under-19 leagues and players with Saturday contracts not being allowed to play on Sunday have all contributed, as well as team links with pubs ending.
But he added: 'We've had a lot of fun and success over the years so it is a shame.'