Sadness across West Norfolk as Dersingham Rovers fold

Dersingham Village Football Ground, the home of Dersingham Rovers FC
Dersingham Village Football Ground, the home of Dersingham Rovers FC

Dersingham Rovers may have to consider paying players if the club’s adult team is to be resurrected in the future.

That’s the opinion of Rovers chairman Gary English after the club was forced to fold following an emergency meeting on Monday night.

The Anglian Combination outfit have found it tough in recent seasons and were struggling to attract players to the club.

Rovers, who have a rich 121-year history, dropped out of senior football over the summer but decided to keep a team going in Division Five North of the Anglian Combination.

English, who has been involved with the club for more than 30 years as a player and a committee member, said: “I’m absolutely gutted, it’s very sad.

“It had been coming. We’ve just been scraping through the last couple of seasons but it wasn’t improving.

“We had a committee meeting and took the decision to call it a day. We hope to start up again in the future, but we still have a very strong youth section at the club.

“As a club, we’ve never paid players before, so do we go down that route if we start up again in the future?

“It’s something that needs to be looked at, but whatever happens things do need to change.”

English believes that Dersingham’s demise is becoming a common theme for village football sides across the country.

“I think it’s a trend that’s affecting other clubs like Wells and Redgate Rangers too,” said English.

“There are some really good young footballers in the village but we keep losing our best ones to other clubs.”

Following Monday’s emergency meeting, club secretary Nathan Bunting posted the following statement on Facebook.

It read: “Very sad evening as we close the doors of adult football at Dersingham Rovers FC after 121 years of history.

“I would personally like to thank each and everybody that I have been involved with at the club for their continued hard work and dedication to such a fantastic family club.

“We still have a wonderful youth structure in place but for the time being the adult side will be no more.

“Hopefully, in time, we will be back but to everybody who has played under me, with me and worked alongside me, I thank you all.”

During their long history, Rovers were runners-up twice in the Mummery Cup and also won Division One of the Anglian Combination in both 2005/06 and 2011/12.

In 2012/13, the club reached the fourth round of the Norfolk Senior Cup, where they were beaten by higher-league Wroxham.

The club fulfilled just two fixtures this season, losing to UEA Reserves 11-0 and Mundford Reserves 5-2.

Matt Carpenter, football administration manager at the Norfolk Football Association, said: “It’s desperately sad that a club with such a significant history such as Dersingham Rovers has fallen off the radar.”

Former Rovers boss Robbie Back, who managed the team for a number of years, added: “I had some very good times there as a player and manager.

“My dad and uncle Ronnie also played for the club so it has always been very close to my heart.

“There are some fantastic, hard-working people on the committee who have supported the club for years and it’s them I feel really sorry for.

“I’m sure we’ll see Dersingham back in some sort of form again soon.”