Shock as well-known sausage kit football team quits North Riding League
Renowned amateur football club Bedale AFC has dropped a bombshell by announcing it has withdrawn from the North Riding League with immediate effect.
Described as a “reluctant” move by club officials, the shock news comes following the sudden and unexpected resignation of manager Dave Goodwin after ten years at the helm, as well as his assistants Ian Richardson and Rick Hemingway.
Bedale achieved national fame in recent years for producing a succession unusual kits, sponsored by Heck Foods, featuring Sunday dinner, sausages, hot dogs with mustard and giant carrots.
The “tasty” kits have raised money for Prostate Cancer and gained the club a level of notoriety.
However, they will not play again for the remainder of the season.
A club official said that at the end of last season, the players voted to remain in the league rather than drop down to the Heck Harrogate and District Football League, but events have conspired to leave the club with no alternative than to withdraw mid-season.
A spokesman said: “The North Riding Football League is a very competitive league but with some teams paying their players it is not a level playing field and with referees’ expenses often in excess of £50, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage financially.
“This season has seen players suffering long-term injuries, two top rated players leave to pursue careers in the USA and Australia as well as local clubs cherry picking the remaining best players.
“The straw that broke the camel’s back was the announcement last week that Richmond Town had signed the Bedale AFC club captain.”
Chairman Martyn Coombs said: “It is particularly disappointing to see local players not supporting the manager and deciding to ply their trade elsewhere but that has increasingly been the scenario over recent years. The club spent £5,500 during the close season to renovate the playing surface to create the best pitch in the district and the bar facilities are second to none, especially with food served every match day provided by Heck Food and the Green Dragon.
“The players at Bedale want for nothing and the small committee work tirelessly to support the managers and players. The work carried out by Dave Goodwin, Ian Richardson and Rick Hemingway at the Heck Stadium has been outstanding.”
Coombs thanked Goodwin for his work but respected his decision and accepted his resignation, and that of Richardson and Hemingway.
The club do not intend to seek applications for a new manager but say they hope, possibly working with Bedale Junior Football club, to create a development reserve team to compete in the Heck Harrogate and District League or Hillsprint Hambleton Combination next season.
Coombs added: “While resigning from a league mid-season is not something we have done lightly, it does give us time to re-group and make plans for next season-the club will be here for many years to come and the good times will return.
“I would welcome expressions of interest about the reserves from anyone who might be interested in forming this team in readiness for the start of the season in September 2023.”