A FORMER football club secretary fears for the future of grassroots football after Stroud Harriers were forced to fold.

Formed in 2002, Harriers, who notched an incredible run of seven promotions, reaching the dizzy heights of the Gloucestershire Northern Senoir league, but have now taken the decision to fold and drop out of  Stroud & District Football League Division Four.

Last summer, the Stroud club were forced to exit the Northern Senior League due to lack of player commitment and started again from scratch in the Stroud League, with Ed Kelland and Mat Weyman at the helm, however player shortages have once again forced their hand.

" After the first team folded at the start of the season due to lack of players, we thought we could put our eggs in one basket and try again with the reserves," revealed former secretary Archie Evans, who relinquished his role before Christmas.

"After a great start to the season the cracks started to appear again with lack of players committing, not only for training, but to matches.

"Having to field a completely different team each week and signing players on on a Friday night because we didn't have the players for the Saturday - this was a recurring theme and the final straw was last weekend when only 10 players were available, so the decision was made to pull the plug. There had been talk a few times but the lads wanted to push on. I stepped down as secretary before Christmas because of the lack of commitment and support, so Ed Kelland took over and tried his best, but the same problem continued."

Evans claims the lack of opportunities to develop their first home ground at the top of town, worked against them as they moved up the pyramid and he now fears for the future of the game at this level.

"Our first team had to move ground twice because Mason Road didn't fit the Northern Senior League requirements. That was a massive issue and I believe if the council had allowed us to develop Mason Road, we would still have two teams today.

"Over the next couple of years you will see the same problem because of lack of facilities for higher football and that the younger generation today don't want to put the effort in and commit. I'm predicting that in five years time the Stroud League alone will have five leagues and the standard of football will not be at the same level."