St Martin FC: Jersey's oldest club could be forced to fold

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
St Martin/SCF's home pitch
St Martin used to play their games on a pitch next to the parish primary school

Jersey's oldest football club could be forced to fold because of a shortage of players wanting to play for the club.

St Martin FC, which was formed in 1894, will decide at a meeting later this month whether to cease playing.

They could become the second club to fold this year after Magpies withdrew from the Jersey Football Combination in April for similar reasons.

"At the moment things are looking grim," St Martin president Neville Ahier told BBC Radio Jersey.

The club was previously under threat in 2004, but was saved by a merger with Sporting Club Francais.

They dropped the SCF moniker in February 2012, but have since lost their home pitch to make way for an extension to the local primary school.

St Martin FC history
Formed in 1894
Played a team from the German occupying forces twice in 1943, beating them 3-2 and 3-0
Merged with Sporting Club Francais in 2004

"We had a players meeting on Friday and only one player turned up out of about 40," said Ahier, who has been involved with the club for 58 years.

"I've had one phone call and one player might change his mind, but that's all at the moment.

"We're a well-organised club, we've got plenty of money in the bank, we've got a good committee, but now we've got no players."

St Martin finished fifth in Jersey's Championship, but the reserve team failed to fulfil five fixtures and will be barred from playing in 2015-16.

"It is very saddening because we've been through quite a journey with St Martin in recent years with the amalgamation with Sporting Club when they last had these problems," Jersey Football Combination president Tim Darwin told BBC Sport.

"But there's a certain inevitability about it because of the difficulty of running clubs at the lower end of the league."

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