Kirkley & Pakefield: Our aspirations could be crushed

KIRKLEY & Pakefield chairman Bob Jenkerson says the Football Association’s proposals could “crush our aspirations” along with other coastal clubs in the Eastern Region.

Kirkley stand to be the hardest hit of all the Ridgeons League Premier Division clubs under the FA proposals, with an increase of 1,700 miles in the newly-formed Eastern Division.

The east Suffolk club, who run a total of 40 teams covering all levels through youth football in addition to adult sides, are therefore among the 16 clubs against the move and are instead supporting the alternative suggestion put forward by the Ridgeons League.

Jenkerson, who stressed these are his own views as he has not had chance to discuss the proposals with his committee because of being away on business, said: “We are offering and developing football within the community as much as any club and far more than some, yet these Step 5 proposals appear to crush our aspirations and, indeed, all those of the Eastern Region’s coastal clubs.

“Why would anyone want to pull apart one of the most successful Step 5 leagues in the country? The new proposals bolster failing leagues, keep cosy little travelling arrangements, whilst almost doubling travelling arrangements of other clubs.

“These plans smack, at best, of a lack of imagination.

“In our own case it is proposed that our mileage be increased from just over 1,900 miles to over 3,600 miles.

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“Nine of our teams would require round trips of over 200 miles and four teams would make round trips of more than 150 miles.

“The cross country roads are not the best and some of these trips will be three hours on a good day.

“The proposals wish to separate clubs that are within 40 miles which are local derbies and revenue streams replacing them with clubs based over 120 miles away who are unlikely to bring much in the way of travelling support.

“The financial burden for those travelling alone will hit them hard considering the travelling distances.

“However, the possible travel for many players will require significant time off work on a regular basis. Many players can’t afford to do this or would not get the time off work to do this. In addition, the clubs will not be able to reimburse them. It appears we are being offered Step 5 football at Step 4 costs. This will prevent many clubs from competing at this level.”

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