A historic village football club has been forced to retire from its league just three games in after fees for pitch rise.

Bildeston Rangers Football Club, which is situated between Ipswich and Sudbury,  were given an invoice, charging them £100 a match just a few days ago with no prior warning.

That, mixed with fees paid for the use of the pavilion, line marking and goals, means that they are not able to keep up the payments.

David Lorimer, who is heavily involved with the club and has been for the past 20 years, said: "It's a horrible shock for me.

East Anglian Daily Times: Bildeston Rangers Primary Cup winning team.Bildeston Rangers Primary Cup winning team. (Image: Submitted)

"I've seen grown men turn up at my house in tears over this situation.

"It's absolutely devastating."

Over the last 10 years, the football club has had to run everything and pay all the bills for the pavilion.

East Anglian Daily Times: Bildeston Rangers Football ClubBildeston Rangers Football Club (Image: Submitted)

A sports field committee was formed for the Bildeston Recreation Ground, however, who came in and decorated the sports hall, but not the changing rooms.

This was again maintained by the football club, as well as the football pitch, which the committee also refused to have anything to do with.

Just a few days ago, Mr Lorimer was presented with a bill for £900, for each match up until Christmas.

East Anglian Daily Times: Bildeston Rangers in 1979Bildeston Rangers in 1979 (Image: Submitted)

Mr Lorimer said: "My suspicions were first raised when we asked to hang up pictures from over the years of the football club up in the clubhouse and they refused and suggested local pubs.

"It works out with everything just far too much for us to afford."

Bildeston, who had risen through the ranks to play in the senior league of the Suffolk and Ipswich League, have had to pull out of the league, despite offers from other clubs offering their pitch for cheaper.

East Anglian Daily Times: Bildeston Rangers with the club house in the backgroundBildeston Rangers with the club house in the background (Image: Submitted)

Mr Lorimer continued: "This year we will play just the occasional charity game for good causes.

"It's our village,  we want to play in our village and not have to use other pitches."

The club will now have to start from the bottom and work their way back up.

East Anglian Daily Times: Bildeston Rangers in 1979Bildeston Rangers in 1979 (Image: Submitted)

A statement from the Bildeston Sportsfield Committee said: "The Sportsfield Pavilion Trust is a charity responsible for overseeing the "use of a pavilion serving both sporting activities, recreation and leisure activities for inhabitants of the Bildeston community" as set out by the Trust Deed 1980.

"The facility is entirely reliant on donations and rental fees to cover the annual running costs and maintenance which have dramatically increased over the past few years.

"The Trust has tried to keep fees as low as possible relying upon reserves/grants and fundraising by dedicated trustees to cover the shortfall.

"Bildeston Rangers are part of a number of different groups that hire the pavilion but are the biggest user of the facility, utilising the changing rooms, kitchen, and communal area for training sessions and hosting visiting teams.

"All the cost of these amenities is covered entirely in the rental fee and not borne by any hirer.

"Formerly, the football club represented by Mr Lorimer was a trustee until resigning in August 2023 citing time constraints that hindered his ability to attend monthly meetings.

"Nonetheless, the remaining trustees have strived to enhance the pavilion’s appeal, making it more attractive for hiring and fostering fundraising activities.

"The trustees have tried to initiate fundraising activities with the football club e.g. 5 aside tournament this summer but volunteers were unavailable to assist.

"The pavilion is there for the local community and not just for sports clubs.

"Volunteers host a fundraising Social Sundays breakfast club, providing a gathering place for Bildeston residents.

"Volunteers initiated being part of the Governments Warm Places, providing not just warmth but companionship and hot meals for the elderly residents who struggle with cost of heating and living.

"A local toddler group use the pavilion weekly, providing a place for young parents and children to gather for playtime and discussion, all staffed by volunteers.

"These groups all pay the hiring fee regularly and on time which hasn’t been the case for Bildeston Rangers.

"Mr Lorimer although a former Trustee may like to think the pavilion is only about football, the reality is the trust provides a service to the wider community, much of which goes unnoticed.

"The perpetual challenge to cover costs will remain ever present and the difficult decisions of increasing hiring fees is never made lightly.

"Nevertheless, to ensure the pavilion’s continued functionality, financial sustainability through generated revenue, costs will need to be covered and that is a challenge every charity faces today as well as the need for volunteers."