Parkside United become the ninth Suffolk & Ipswich League team to fold this season
Parkside United have become the ninth Suffolk & Ipswich League team to fall by the wayside this season.
Following a period of two months without a casualty in the Step 7 and below League, the club, who were competing in Division One, ended their 33-year SIL association with immediate effect this week.
And, much like the eight previous teams to have departed before them from the SIL, the main reason behind their folding was due to a lack of player commitment.
The news comes as a great shame to club secretary Garry Overton, who was hoping to spend his 30th season with the club in more celebratory fashion.
“There’s only one reason why the club have folded,” declared Overton, who has also been part of the management team in his time at the club.
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“And that’s due to a lack of player commitment. We just couldn’t get the calibre of players to compete in the division.
“We’ve had some heavy defeats and the aim was to get through the season and build from there.
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“We tried our very best to carry on, but we just couldn’t.”
Despite the club’s best efforts to survive, Overton admits that perhaps the writing was on the wall, especially with Vic Kemp, the club’s manager of 20 years, leaving earlier in the season.
“I think Vic could see where we were going, but there’s absolutely no gripe with him,” said Overton.
“He’s my best mate and between us, alongside chairman Terry Wilkinson (who founded the club), we helped run the club for a long time.
“There was no financial problem or any problems with sponsorship or kit, the sole problem was player commitment and you can’t run a team without any players.
“Division One is a good standard (this year was Parkside’s second at this level), and we didn’t have a squad anywhere near good or big enough to compete.
“In our last four games, we had a substitute just once, and even I had to get my boots on and I’m too old to play at any level!”
After years of playing one of the many pitches at Gainsborough Sports Centre, Parkside had been playing at one of Whitton United’s King George V Playing Fields for the past three-and-a-half seasons, something Overton cited as a massive step for the club.
“The whole club had been built up progressively,” he continued.
“One of the club’s biggest steps was being allowed to play at Whitton as we could make use of the bar and dressing rooms – something not every SIL club gets.
“Our promotion into Division One behind Claydon (now in the Senior League) was another huge step.”