An Ipswich Town legend - who scored the winning goal in the 1978 FA Cup Final - has spoken of his 'terrible sadness' that his boyhood Suffolk club has had to fold after being unable to attract enough players.

Roger Osborne played for Suffolk and Ipswich League (SIL) club Westerfield United before joining Ipswich Town, where he spent 11 years and made 124 appearances, including scoring the only goal against Arsenal on that memorable afternoon at Wembley in May 1978.

However, earlier this week, the grass roots club, which plays at Ipswich School Sports Centre in Rushmere St Andrew, announced their closure after more than 100 years of football.

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East Anglian Daily Times: Roger Osborne celebrates with the FA Cup on the Cornhill in IpswichRoger Osborne celebrates with the FA Cup on the Cornhill in Ipswich (Image: Archant)Club chair Philip Greenhalgh decided to call it a day following a 14-0 defeat at the weekend, citing difficulties recruiting players, financial restraints and some heavy defeats.

He also said the team had to compete with Ipswich Town for attention on Saturday afternoons, with players wanting to watch the Tractor Boys instead.

Mr Osborne, who still has close connections with Westerfield, said although the club's closure was disappointing, he was also concerned for the welfare of the club's administrators who were experiencing the pressure of keeping the club running.

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East Anglian Daily Times: The Westerfield United team in 2020/21The Westerfield United team in 2020/21 (Image: Archant)The Otley-born star said: "It is terribly sad, but because I know the people who are involved with Westerfield I hoped they were going to fold anyway because it was affecting their health.

"If people are worrying about running an amateur football team then that is not good."

Mr Osborne, who also played for Colchester United, Sudbury, Braintree and Felixstowe before returning to Westerfield, said youngsters now had more choices over how to spend their weekend than he did when he was young.

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He said: "With older people like me, football was one of the few things you could do, but youngsters are spoiled for choice now and sometimes their choice is not to play football."

East Anglian Daily Times: Roger Osborne, pictured front row bottom right, during his Westerfield playing daysRoger Osborne, pictured front row bottom right, during his Westerfield playing days (Image: Archant)Of his time at Westerfield, he said: "It meant a great deal to me. It was a good standard. Westerfield would have been in the senior league and the next step up would have been Stowmarket or Felixstowe, but now those teams have moved on to a higher level."

However, the midfielder was an exception to the rule as he said it was rare for a local league player to go on and play professionally in those days because the standard in comparison to the professional game was not very high.

Mr Greenhalgh has been approached for comment....

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