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3rd Jul, 2022

EXCLUSIVE - Departing Bromsgrove and District Football League Secretary Burgess insists all members will have new homes next season

DEPARTING Bromsgrove and District Football League General Secretary Simon Burgess has revealed that all of its member clubs will have a new home next season as the league enters a formal closure process with the FA.

The league, which has been running since 1902, confirmed in March that it would fold at the end of last season after they were unable to find a replacement for Burgess despite their best efforts.

Burgess has been in the role for the last 21 years and will be present at the league’s AGM at the end of this month which will be the last formal gathering of the league’s members.

And Burgess admitted it is disappointing to be losing 120 years of history but was pleased its 24 current clubs will all move to other leagues next term.

Burgess said: “The only option for us was to fold, I almost feel responsible for it, the league has survived for so long.

“The good thing is that all of our clubs have got homes to go to for next season, a lot of our clubs will go into the Redditch and South Warwickshire Combination League and some into the Worcester league.

“It’s not as if us folding means clubs have to fold, they’ve all been taken in from elsewhere.

“The general feedback from everybody within the local football community has been about how sad and how disappointing it is that the league is folding.

“Nobody has come forward to step into my role, it needed a kingpin at the top of the organisation to signpost all the information and there’s nobody prepared to do that presently.

“It needed someone to come in with that energy and that drive and build it back up like I did all those years ago, it needed a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh vision.

“That meant we had to come to the sad decision to cease operations.”

And Burgess, who is unable to commit the time necessary to run the league next season, feels Sunday football has made great strides in the area having greatly expanded the competition since his arrival.

Burgess added: “We’ve promoted grassroots football in the Bromsgrove area over the last 20 years, I took on the General Secretary role in 2003 and we had about 22 clubs, we managed to double that number by the 2017 season.

“That number has dropped back down now for various reasons but we managed to raise the profile of the league and we’ve done really well in outside cups, our teams won five this season.

“People will have seen the success our clubs had in the outside competitions and 10 years ago it was unthinkable that a Bromsgrove League could win an outside cup.

“We really improved the standard of football in the area and we managed to attract some of the bigger names to the league such as Austin Ex Apprentices.

“I was in the right place at the right time to take over, I’ve enjoyed my time doing it but I don’t have that time commitment now that it needs.”

With the league finally set to fold in the coming weeks, Burgess admitted the door should never be fully closed on a potential revival but does not see it happening any time soon.

He said: “We can look back with a lot of pride on what we’ve done in the last 20 years, when I first joined the league we didn’t have a Premier Division and that helped us attract some of the better teams in the area.

“We’ve been involved with various trials within the grassroots game, we were the first league to trial a loan system at this level, we introduced prize money other than our cup competitions and we’ve helped raise the profile of the 3G pitch at South Bromsgrove High.

“It has become harder to run the league as time has gone by, there’s more of a constant demand from clubs for rapid information and various issued have come up.

“I’m not sure with regards to a revival of the league, it would likely have to start off as a very small operation, probably youth football, the door should never be shut on that one.”

Burgess would like to extend a thank you to all of the clubs and members that have supported him over the years and to those who have wished him well following his 21 years of service to the league.

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