Duns FC withdraw from East of Scotland League

Duns Football Club's New Hawthorn Park.

Duns Football Club's New Hawthorn Park.

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Duns Football Club have made the decision to full out of the East of Scotland League for this season.

Following an extraordinary meeting chairman Colin Pike broke the news in a statement on the club’s website.

He said the decision had been made due to the lack of players willing to commit to the club for the forthcoming season.

The statement said: “Following an emergency meeting last night it is with great sadness that Duns Football Club regret to announce their resignation, with immediate effect, from the East of Scotland Football League, for the forthcoming season at least.

“For season 2016/17 the club will continue with one team in the Border Amateur League with the Junior section continuing as normal. It is to our entire advantage that Carl Hudson has agreed to remain as manager, very ably assisted by Johnny Blyth, Paul Matthewson and Keith Wilson.

“The main reason for this difficult decision was the current lack of players willing to commit to the club for this forthcoming season. When the club joined the East of Scotland league in 2011 the idea was to create a player pathway for the young footballers of the town to work their way up through our junior age groups to Border Amateur then on to the ultimate goal of senior football. This we have achieved with over 80 young people a week participating in, and enjoying, organised training and matches from under eights up.

“Latterly however, and in particular during the last couple of seasons, the first team has experienced a significant decline in locally based players being committed to playing for the club for various reasons, so in order to field a team many players had to be recruited from outwith the town.

“Therefore a combination of locally based players unavailability combined with a number of the players from last season’s squad having decided to move on for the forthcoming season has resulted in a shortage of players available despite the best efforts of the management team and committee.

“Player recruitment these days is much harder than it once was. For example 25–30 years ago maybe 80% of lads left school, got a job, stayed locally and 20% left the area for further education. Nowadays it’s the other way round for a number of reasons including improved travel opportunities and easier routes to further education. Also back in the good old days your football was your first priority whilst nowadays there is much more to do on a weekend and for some playing football is much further down the pecking order.

“Player recruitment at this level is made even harder for us as unlike some other clubs we are unable to pay our players which puts us at an even greater disadvantage.

“The financial burden at this level is greater too and life as a non-league club in the present economic climate is difficult. Other than the support from our generous sponsors, weekly lottery, match day income and any successful grant funding we receive no financial support from any external source. The grant funding applications have built New Hawthorn Park with all other monies paying for the general day to day running of the club, a considerable expense in its own right.

“However, the club remain positive and will continue with its longer term development plan.

“During this coming season, playing in the Border Amateur League, we shall look to regroup and catch our breath, after a period of five seasons, during which time the committee have worked tirelessly in the construction and ongoing improvements of New Hawthorn Park, the latest of which is our new spectator stand.

“A proposed new agreement with our near neighbours Duns Rugby Club will also continue, a situation we are all excited about and one which can improve our match day experience.

“In conclusion l, would like to say a huge thank you to our loyal sponsors who have given the club invaluable assistance and without this support the club would not have been able to function. Also those who paid through the gate and supported us from the sidelines on a match day. Thank you all. We very much hope your support will continue for the forthcoming season and beyond.

“Finally I would like to thank the clubs hugely hard working committee who give unstintingly of their time and effort to do all things required in the running of this football club. Our manager and coaches also are worthy of praise as the time and hard work they give to the club cannot be quantified.”