Asfordby Amateurs FC chief insists club will return

Asfordby Amateurs enjoyed their highest finish in several years last season EMN-150508-111549002
Asfordby Amateurs enjoyed their highest finish in several years last season EMN-150508-111549002
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Asfordby Amateurs FC chairman Ian Wakefield insists the club will return next year after it was forced to quit the Leicestershire Senior League.

The club were rocked when the management team of Nigel Shaw and Will Andrew, as well as the secretary, left less than a week before the start of the new season.

The final nail in the coffin was the mass exodus of players which meant just 13 turned up to register in time for the league deadline, two players short of the bare minimum required.

This weekend will be the first since the club was founded in 1972 that their name will not be among the league fixtures.

But Wakefield, who has been involved with the club for 20 years, said he will look to revive Amateurs in time for the 2016/17 campaign.

“I have already started to sow the seeds for next year and I’m really confident – I don’t like the word ‘folding’,” he said.

“First I’m going to go away and have a think – it’s just too much, too soon.”

It is not the first time the chairman has had to rescue the club from peril.

Seven years ago Wakefield had to stand in as manager when Stu Dealey quit the club, taking virtually all of the first team squad with him.

As a result the team of youngsters were relegated from the Premier Division and spent several seasons anchored to the bottom of the league.

But the club’s fortunes gradually improved as the players developed.

After Frank Fitzgibbons’ second spell as manager, Andrew and Shaw took over and helped guide them to their best position since Dealey, with a fifth-place finish last term.

Wakefield added: “We had a friendly a fortnight ago and we had 30 players there, but the following week we had to call the next match off.

“Will said he packed up because he couldn’t find enough quality players to compete in that league. We struggled last year but we got by.

“We couldn’t attract players because we couldn’t offer rewards and that’s why players were being enticed away.”

Chris Gamble, a founder member of the club, stepped in as secretary for the last few weeks and also hopes Amateurs will be reformed next year, but accepts it may mean a return to District League level

Wakefield said: “It’s a massive loss to the area, and for myself and Chris.

“It’s all the time you put into it and then you get so little time to turn it around.

“It’s like having your feet kicked away from under you.”