Fears for Jersey Football Combination after Beeches pull out of island league

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Charlie Browne
Charlie Browne has been president of the Jersey Football Combination since July 2015

The president of the Jersey Football Combination says he is worried about the league's future after Beeches pulled out of the island's league.

The Championship club are one of the oldest names in island football, having won their first title in 1947 and winning three Uptons in the 1950s.

But a lack of players has led the club to pull out of the island league.

"I am concerned for the Combination and have been for 10 years or more," Charlie Browne told BBC Sport.

"In the 1960s and 1970s football was the dominant sport, but there's a lot of other attractions for people to take part in.

"As the Combination we're fighting for membership with other organisations, it's a sign of the times really."

The recent past has not been good for teams pulling out of Jersey football.

Last season, the island's oldest club St Martin, who merged with Sporting Club Francais in 2004, left the league, while First Tower United played in the reserve division.

Magpies pulled out in 2014 while Jersey Nomads have also fallen by the wayside, seeing a league which 10 years ago had 20 clubs in it now only have 15.

The league also changed its rules in order to stop top side Jersey Scottish from being automatically relegated from the flight after being unable to field a reserve side.

"It's very sad as Beeches have such a fantastic pedigree and their history is tremendous, one of the finest in the Channel Islands," added Browne.

"But they're really well organised when it comes to the committee, on this occasion they just didn't have the players and I really do think they'll come back.

"But I'm going to keep working hard, my priority is to go out there and sell the sport to the people of Jersey.

"It's a challenge, but I've never wanted this Combination to fail and I'm going to do everything I can to keep it going and build on it."

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