Norwich Sunday League side Constable Crusaders forced to call it a day
- Credit: Archant
Norwich and District Sunday League side Constable Crusaders have folded ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Manager Alan Tong held discussions with his Crusaders' squad and, after losing several key players this summer, the decision was taken to call it a day ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
A club statement said: 'It is with great sadness that we announce the end of Constable Crusaders as a Sunday League football club.
'Despite hard work behind the scenes, the club has been unable to keep hold of several key players in the squad and have not been able to bring in enough quality replacements for us to be competitive in Division Two for the 2017/18 season.
'Manager Alan Tong made the final decision after consultation with a few of the remaining senior players, who were largely in sombre agreement.
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'Ultimately, it was felt that bowing out after our club record highest finish last season would be more dignified than potentially suffering heavy defeats and risk the team falling apart midway through the coming season. This was not a decision that was taken lightly.'
Crusaders, who finished ninth in Division 1A last season, were formed by a group of students at the UEA in 2002 after several years in the Friendly League.
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They joined the Norwich Sunday League for the start of the 2010/11 season and have enjoyed four promotions and one relegation since.
The Crusaders name will at least go on in the guise of two six-a-side teams that compete on Tuesday nights at the UEA but the 11-a-side operation will not go on any longer.
The statement added: 'The club would like to place on record our thanks and appreciation to everyone that has ever played for Crusaders, be it one game or 100+, everybody that came to watch us over the years and the officials at both the Norwich Sunday League and Norfolk FA.'
The Sunday League has been restructured for the 2017/18 campaign with six divisions of 12 teams including an under-19s section.
The league committee thought the previous structure had led to the divisions becoming unbalanced with some teams getting well beaten each week.