Players’ commitment is just same in SIL anymore, says Felixstowe Harpers manager
Felixstowe Harpers manager Peter Gorham says his side’s inconsistency is not simply down to ability and believes a number of mitigating factors are affecting the results at his club and many of their rivals.
Mid-table Harpers go to rock-bottom Grundisburgh tomorrow – a former Senior Division big-gun who has fallen on hard times this season – boss Micky Squirrell struggling to bring in players of suitable quality.
It’s not just Grundisburgh that are suffering though, and a dwindling number of players means teams at all levels are finding it harder to field a first XI on a weekly basis.
“We got a point against (leaders) Cranes, beat (second-top) Achilles and played really well against Coplestonians,” he said.
“But it is difficult to field a consistent team, week-in, week-out and there is a shortage of players full-stop.
“You will have a full squad one week, then the next you will have four or five players away at weddings, stag dos, birthdays
“All in all it’s really frustrating trying to run a side and I sometimes wonder whether the management and officials at clubs want it more than the players.
“There is not the same level of commitment as there used to be, while the young players are not coming through.”
He added: “What happens is, Ipswich Town will take a few (youngsters) each year and the county’s various academies will take some in on the off-chance that one or two make it.
“When the youngsters come out and have not been kept on, they don’t want to play anymore.
“They are disillusioned, they are exhausted as they have been playing three or four times a week and they won’t commit themselves anymore.
“As a youngster, if you didn’t make it you would come down to the SIL at 18 or 19 and shoved around a bit by some older players and then have a few beers afterwards.
“The youngsters don’t want to commit to that anymore.”
Not every team struggles in the SIL however, and whilst some teams have large squads at their disposal, others, if the rumour mill is to be believed, are willing to pay their players, which in itself, is having an impact on clubs at higher levels, according to Gorham.
“Look at Ipswich Wanderers, they should not be struggling for players, they are the next best thing to Ipswich (Town) this town has, yet players would rather play in the SIL for £30-40 a game,” said the Harpers boss.
Elsewhere in the Senior Division, Achilles host Coplestonians, Crane Sports entertain Capel Plough, Henley are at home to Wenhaston, Bramford travel to Ipswich Athletic, Stanton visit Leiston St Margarets,, East Bergholt are on the road at Ransomes and Westerfield welcome Haughley.