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Changing times: Middlesex County League stalwarts Willesden Constantine are no more

PUBLISHED: 08:30 16 August 2012

WILLESDEN CONSTANTINE

WILLESDEN CONSTANTINE

GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICTURES TEL: 0044-7831-396-923

Five-time Middlesex County League champions Willesden Constantine will be missing from the fixture list for the first time when the competition kicks off this Saturday.

Constantine, founder members of the league, have reluctantly disbanded their senior team after they were denied permission to continue playing in the Premier Division in a row over changing facilities.

League officials ruled that the Cons’ facilities at Alperton Sports Ground – specifically the lack of players’ own toilets – did not meet the FA ground grading for Step 7 football, prompting an exodus of players and manager Michael Edghill.

The club explored alternatives with the help of Brent North MP Barry Gardiner and Cllr Mary Arnold but, having failed to agree a proposed merger with AFC Wembley, announced they would fold.

It was a sad end to the proud history of a club that was named after West Indies cricket hero Sir Learie Constantine and produced League footballers such as Ricky Hill, Enoch Showunmi and Junior Agogo.

Chairman and secretary Larry Bascoe, who helped to set up the club in 1976 – originally as Constantine United – told the Times: “I felt so deflated – it was like a bereavement.

“I’m hopeful we can come back one year, but I don’t know. I’ve got a lot of praise for Barry Gardiner and Mary Arnold – at least they listened to us and tried to find a solution.

“Unfortunately Brent could only offer us grounds where cricket’s played and that wasn’t going to work – the league starts this Saturday and cricket’s still going on.”

Cons will continue to field teams for eight to 14-year-olds in the Harrow Youth League.


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