St Clement’s Hospital FC become latest Suffolk & Ipswich League casualty

St Clement’s Hospital FC have become the latest club to withdraw from the Suffolk & Ipswich League.

Last week, the Ipswich-based club, who were playing in SIL Division Three, withdrew from their position with immediate effect with all fixtures and results cancelled and expunged.

Following some pre-season hype with optimism levels high, week-by-week manager David Welton found player numbers and commitment dwindling, leaving the 28-year-old club little choice but to fold.

“Basically, it was becoming harder and harder each week to put out a team,” admitted 45-year-old Welton, who has played three full-games for St Clements this season.

“In my opinion, the working week has drastically changed.

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“Back when I used to play, when someone asked me to work on a Saturday, my instant reply would be ‘no chance’.

“Saturdays were football days.

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“You’ve made that commitment.

“Nowadays though, the times have changed, society has changed, and people do need the money.

“The perfect example would be on one Wednesday after training this season I had as many as nine subs available for a game, it got to the Saturday afternoon and we were scraping around trying to get a team out!

“I think we are the seventh team to have folded this season, and I believe more will go – this is the trend in local football at the minute.”

Joining Melton St Audry’s (two sides), Aldeburgh Town (two sides), Thurston, and St Johns Reserves, St Clements’ exit has indeed become the seventh this season in troubling times for local football.

Their departure comes as a massive shame to Welton, especially considering the work he and fellow behind-the-scenes club members had put into pre-season.

Armed with a new kit, a host of new signings who have played at a higher level, and with a brand new sponsor in Ipswich Trucks Service before the season started in August, Welton was looking forward to what could have been a historic season for the right reasons.

“It’s such a massive shame as I thought we would actually be looking up this year, and things would go the opposite way” continued Welton.

“People don’t realise how much hard work goes into running a football club.

“People like our chairman (David Gooch), who has held every position possible at the club since it started in 1986, and various others are dying breeds.

“The amount of time and effort they put isn’t able to be measured.”

After Thurston’s earlier folding, no sides will now be relegated from Division Three this season.

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