You can’t say we weren’t warned.
It wasn’t a case of scaremongering, clickbait or a desperate attempt at getting huge social media interaction.
When the King’s Lynn and District Sunday Football League said the end was near, they meant it. And now, after more than 50 proud years in existence, the final whistle has blown on one of the area’s proudest grassroots sporting institutions.
Formed in 1963, thousands of players have got their kicks on a Sunday morning, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated and loyal bunch of volunteers. They will be heartbroken – even if everyone could see it coming.
For a few years now, sides have been folding as player commitment has dried up.
Complaints about set-up and affiliation costs have been met with the league offering free entry this summer to arrest the decline. Even that couldn’t help.
Put simply, the days of multiple leagues were gone. Yet even one league of eight teams couldn’t be achieved. It’s been enough to turn a planned AGM on June 25 into an SGM with one thing on the agenda – the dissolution of the league.
Frankly, society has changed and those youngsters who used to frequent the Sunday League, like myself from the age of 16, are no longer interested in turning out at 10.30am.
As a former player-manager of a Terrington side, which folded after I stopped running it four or so years ago, I accept some responsibility.
That said, after around 10 years of hard and often hungover graft, it was time for my mates and I to leave the Sunday morning fun to the next generation – who sadly never came.
The 30 or 40-somethings among us now view Sundays as family time.
Our responsibilities have changed. There’s more to life than playing football on a Saturday and Sunday. One day, the former, is enough. Back when my dad was playing, people lived to do both.
Cricket is suffering similar problems and hopefully their issues can be less fatal.
Yet the world is changing and in some cases, grassroots sport is being left behind.
The league’s death leaves an absolutely huge hole in the lives of many – especially people such as Nigel ‘Molly’ Moulton and my grandad Gordon ‘Raz’ Rasberry.
They’ve been involved with the league since the 1960s and now their hobby and passion has been taken away from them. They’ll find it hard to stomach. And for that, I feel dreadful.
Will a season without it remind people how much they loved their Sunday League?
Possibly not. I’ve got amazing memories but my time is done – and unfortunately it seems many people feel the same way.
Readers back AJ
LAST WEEK – WE ASKed…
Will Anthony Joshua win his rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr?
@DanMasonSport: Nobody expected Joshua to lose. His stature told the story that Ruiz Jr was a clear underdog, which he used as motivation towards victory.
What didn’t help was Joshua already thinking about a Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury bout during the
build-up, confirming his lack of focus on Ruiz.
@Jonnypearce209: Ruiz is more hungry for it than AJ. I like AJ and would love him to win the rematch but I think Eddie Hearn has been cashing in on him and it looks as though AJ has lost his mojo in his last couple of fights.
Too many adverts and guest appearances now, etc.
Timing’s key for McIlroy
It’s incredible to think Rory McIlroy hasn’t won a Major for five years.
When he lifted his fourth in 2014 at the age of just 25, the Northern Irishman seemed set to remain on top of the golfing world for a lengthy time.
But he hasn’t really kicked on since then – thanks largely to an insanely talented group of rivals – so he will be keen to challenge at this weekend’s US Open.
So much about golf is down to timing. Yet away from the actual technical aspect of playing the sport, so is the ability to be successful.
It’s about coming to the boil at the right time. And McIlroy certainly did that at the weekend when he produced an absolutely blistering final round on his way to lifting the Canadian Open.
At one point it seemed the world No.3 would do the unthinkable and shoot a 59.
In the end it was only a 61 to celebrate so let’s hope he left a few more great shots up his sleeve.
- This week’s poll…
Which golfer will win this weekend’s US Open?
Other (please state)
Get involved, vote and comment, on Twitter