Sometimes an article just drops itself into your lap to write, sometimes more than one in a day. Upon checking through Facebook this afternoon, I came across the one thing a football fan never wants to see, but something that may become ever more common over the next few years, maybe even months.
Greenwich Borough of the Southern Counties East Division tendered their resignation this afternoon as the club became the latest to disappear from the footballing landscape. Despite being as close to London as they are to Kent, Boro’ have been encased in Kentish football since the mid-80’s.
They were the team that launched the career of star striker Ian Wright on his way to Crystal Palace, Arsenal and England stardom and also for those more local to Kent and Sussex, Mark ‘Smokey’ Gall who starred for Maidstone Utd and finishing at Brighton before injury curtailed what should have been a long Football League stint.
However for the past eleven years Greenwich have been non-league nomads, no permanent home to call upon which in general for a non-league club means the death knell is coming. Whilst ground-sharing for a year or two can provide respite to get a ground up to standard it has a huge financial strain with no income or very little coming their way and going beyond those years can consequently send a club to the wall.
Interestingly Borough stated their resignation isn’t down to financial issues which has led some to believe there is an issue with their ground share with Phoenix Sports, their final destination of a tour around Kent. It’s been documented that Borough were well financed which enabled them to rise up to the then Bostik League South Division for a three year stay at that level before relegation last season returned them back to the Southern Counties East Division.
As though has been seen in the past, without a good budget when you jump up one division chances are you’re coming back down again, although Borough’s troubles didn’t surface until last season which would suggest the financial backing was withdrawn and their resignation comes as the club were staring down the barrel of a second successive relegation. Who knows if the club would have even survived dropping down one further division had they completed this season and whilst most clubs disappear through financial issues, this one does show that while the budget might be manageable for their standard, without that significant investment or a bigger budget through whatever means the game becomes a struggle at any level even in non-league.
There is a danger that as the pyramid takes full effect in the next couple of years some clubs will find they can’t afford to compete with those around them nor compete at levels higher and will fall by the wayside, I’m not sure exactly how you police this down to County League levels but to lose so much history is criminal despite some seeing it as ‘natural selection’ as time goes by.