Sad demise of area’s leading football club

Driffield FC ps1125-11'Driffield FC Awards and Race night'Steve Chapman (Players Player and Top Goal Scorer), Scott Chippendale (Managers player and Committee player), Richard Gibson (Last years top Goal Scorer), Olli Ezard, Jim Ezard, Leon Sewell

Driffield FC ps1125-11'Driffield FC Awards and Race night'Steve Chapman (Players Player and Top Goal Scorer), Scott Chippendale (Managers player and Committee player), Richard Gibson (Last years top Goal Scorer), Olli Ezard, Jim Ezard, Leon Sewell

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After issuing a formal statement announcing the closure of the club, chairman Jim Ezard and president Denis Cox sent their thoughts to the Driffield Times & Post.

“We have had some time to reflect on what we achieved from the point in the 1989/90 season when the club was set up.

Crans Officials ps0815-5'Football Officials'Denis Cox, Jim Ezard

Crans Officials ps0815-5'Football Officials'Denis Cox, Jim Ezard

“We started life as Hutton Cranswick Junior FC and entered teams in the Hull Boys Sunday League and the East Yorkshire Junior League.

“By the mid 90s, we had over 250 boys and girls on our books. We ran successful seven-a-side tournaments in the close season and held an annual quiz and draw night which attracted over 50 teams and filled the White Horse Theatre Bar to the rafters, as did the end-of-season presentation night where we attracted prominent members of the football fraternity to present the awards.

“1995 was significant in that we set up our first senior team and decided to rename the club, Hutton Cranswick United.

“We entered the Driffield and District AFL and were placed in Division Four; our team consisted of players aged under 16 as the HBSL finished at Under 15 level and we wanted to keep the players together.

“Our first match was at North Frodingham which ended 4-4 with the enigmatic Keith Rounding, the man-in-the-middle.

“It soon became obvious that we needed some experience so fathers of some of the players joined the fray and it seemed we had players either about the 40 years of age mark or under 16.

“We progressed through the divisions, winning some trophies on the way until we were invited to become a founder member of the Humber Premier League.

“Being the most junior club in the league, we found it very tough at first but stuck to the task and gradually had success.

“After finishing runners-up in 2002/03, we won the title in 2003/04. We also reached the final of the League Cup and beat Bridlington Town in the ERCFA Senior Cup to reach the semi-final where we lost to Hull City.

“For the 2008/09 season, we joined the Central Midlands League (CML) and, with the restructuring of the pyramid system, we found ourselves in Step Seven and were eligible for FA Vase and Cup entry if we had had the right level of facilities.

“Although we have struggled results-wise in the CML, we have had some enjoyable experiences and, by visiting teams from as far away as Nottingham and Grantham. We have made lots of new friends at what are predominantly well-run clubs as opposed to just teams.

“So here we are, half way through a season and the club has folded; a decision which seems to have shocked many people.

“The stark truth is that the financial model was no longer sustainable due to various reasons which I outlined in the official statement (see back page) but are amplified below.

“We had a genuine concern that we would not be able to maintain the high standards we have set ourselves over the years and felt unable to compromise those standards which we feel would happen if we continued.

“The structures that were in place at the start of the season, when we made the decision to continue, have been eroded over last three months.

“Attendances in the past couple of seasons averaged around the 30 mark which helped to defray costs for each home match, however, this season, they have fallen dramatically.

“For the Hull City match on 12th November, nearly 200 people attended but, in the previous game against Glapwell on 5th November, 14 came and seven were from Glapwell; moreover, in the match against Parkhouse on 19th November again 14 came and the visitors brought six.

“Player availability became a big issue latterly with only a hardcore available on a regular basis; most of whom came from the Hull area.

“Unfortunately, for reasons that I have never been able to fathom, the club could not gain the full support of local players. This season, only one local player on books regularly plays whilst others are happy to ply their trade at a lower level.

“Additional factors were considered. The CML statement that all clubs are to have floodlighting by 2013 has had a bearing on our thinking and, even more so, the North/ South reorganisation this term has meant the loss of a considerable number of experienced officials.

“The standard of refereeing has given us great cause for concern of late; an over zealous application of the laws of the game, coupled with a complete inability to man manage the players resulting in well contested matches played in a good spirit being ruined.

“We were nominated as the most sporting team last season but, with the same group of players, we have had seven red cards when only one was justified.

“With this change in standard, I feel that I have become a mere unpaid revenue collector for the ERCFA who have shown no interest in our development (or the other progressive clubs in the East Riding).

“Driffield and district should have a football club playing at pyramid level in an environment that allows regular quality football and entry to the prestigious Vase and FA Cup.

“This would put Driffield on the map; we managed it with Hutton Cranswick as we have been mentioned in non-league football publications and are followed by “Groundhoppers” country wide.

“I have studied football levels throughout the country and our area is “light years” behind other counties.

“There is much wrong with the game in this country and it manifests itself in the professional game and how poor we are at international level, but we could affect the game locally but it requires a massive sea-change.”

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