'To me it underlines the disparity in the split of finances in the whole football pyramid' - managers have their say on St Francis Rangers

Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland
Horsham YMCA boss Peter Buckland

Football managers from around the SCFL have had their say on the 'sad' situation which led to St Francis Rangers folding.

The club announced the news in a statement this morning which said: "The players we have travel from a distance and get no expenses so training sessions never have more than 5-6 players there.

"You cannot play a good standard of football without training. Player commitment in general, is not what it was. They don't want to travel around the County to play and other commitments take priority over training and matches."

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Horsham YMCA manager Peter Buckland said: "To me it underlines the disparity in the split of finances in the whole football pyramid.

"I know the prize money is better than it has ever been for the Vase and the Cup but I think there needed to be more for teams to compete in it.

"Someone like St Francis Rangers will probably have gone out in the first round and I think if you go out then you don't get much. It's tuppence ha'penny.

"It's not all about money at our level but it does talk and it does make a difference for them to be able to pay people a little bit of expenses to be able to travel to the deepest depths of Sussex. It's very sad. I think it might be the first of many."

"I've played down there many a time. They've managed to get a nice ground down there with floodlights, and a changing room. It ticked the boxes. It is in bit of a strange area. They're in Haywards Heath and you've got a lot of clubs around that area.

"It's not that long ago though, when I first went to YM, that they were a major force. I remember going down there on a Tuesday night and getting beaten 3-2, and we weren't a bad side.

"I can't remember who the manager was at the time but he was pulling rabbits out of hats all the time with what they were achieving.

"It does make you wonder and it does make you fear for some of the other clubs if I'm honest. It's very sad. I don't take any pleasure out of it and no one should either."

Billingshurst boss Luis Freitas said: "It is really sad to see that they've folded. I can see more teams going down the same route as St Francis Rangers unless the FA and Sussex FA step in to stop it from happening."

Loxwood manager Alex Walsh said: "It's a bit like when a manager leaves, you never want to see clubs folding. It's disappointing because there's a lot of good people who have worked really hard to create that club and keep it running for a number of years.

"It just shows how important volunteers and the people around the club are. We're a very lucky club at Loxwood but I know it's difficult.

"It's a shame to see but I hope that the players and staff who are there go on to new things and start new chapters."

Bexhill manager Ryan Light said: "I see the work that goes into running the football club through the volunteers and committee, and I take my hat off to them.

"We've been to St Francis a few times and they always seem sparse on numbers of volunteers; it's one of those clubs you think 'how do you keep going'?

"These clubs have been there a long time and it's taken a lot of hard work to keep them going. It's a sad day when it comes to an end and they feel like they can't go on.

"I'm sure the people at that club have done everything in their power to keep it going. It's a sad day for the league."