Barons FC fold after being left with ‘no other option’

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Jason Tooke feels Barons had ‘no other option’ after one of the St Edmundsbury League’s longest-serving clubs folded last week.

After 30 years of existence in the league since being part founded by Daryl Tooke back in 1985, the Division One outfit finally confirmed they had disbanded following a series of failures to fulfil fixtures.

And while a lack of player commitment was alluded to as the main factor in the club not being able to continue, secretary Jason Tooke — Daryl’s son, who has been involved for the past 15 years — believes Barons’ plight highlights much greater issues in amateur football nationwide.

“The main reason for folding was due to not being able to get enough players to commit every week,” he said. “The problems for us started at the end of last season and that never used to happen.

“We don’t blame anyone of the players for not be able to commit, we completely understand it, no one really wants to limit their spare time.

“We failed to fill six fixtures and got fined £175 each time and suffered a points deduction.

“That had never happened before and we couldn’t afford to go on like that.

“It sounds sad, but we felt we were left with no other option. We are not the only ones struggling, times have changed massively.

“It is a sad state of affairs.

“We had a meeting with the league to try and address the problem because nationally the 11-a-side game is in trouble and that’s really sad.”

Tooke revealed discussions with the league had been undertaken to try and alleviate the pressure on the club and help find a possible solution.

Despite their best efforts and the club retaining their kits, Tooke conceded it is unlikely Barons will be in position to make a return to the league, at least not with their current set-up.

“We have been in contact with the league, who tried to help us out as much as they could,” he added. “There was possible talk of others coming in and taking over the club as such.

“However, in regards to the backbone of the club, the ones who have been there for a long time like myself, my father Daryl, brother Ben Tooke, Andy Finlayson and Richard Burlingham, there is no coming back.

“The decision was not rushed but we had to seriously question if we could continue in the way we were and decided we couldn’t.

“We have spoken about seeing if things may change for next season but at this stage I can’t imagine they will.

“We’d also like to thank Bill Tinkler (league secretary) for organising and administrating the league over the years.”