GORDON VARLEY, secretary at Cirencester United for almost two decades, believes the club’s demise after 41 years was inevitable.

Varley stepped down two months before the end of what proved their final season after a dispute with manager Dave Tyler and was not surprised that the club did not reapply for its Hellenic League status.

In Tyler’s first season in charge, United finished bottom of the Hellenic League Div One West with just one win in 30 games and with neither a chairman, secretary nor committee in place, Tyler decided the club could not afford to pay the registration fees to carry on in the Hellenic.

Cirencester United was founded in 1969 as ‘The Herd’ under which title they won the Cirencester and District League and Cup double for both the first team and reserves in the 1974/5 season – a feat not equalled before or since. In 1990, they were renamed Cirencester United.

"We had been living hand to mouth for a few years now," said Varley. "We only managed to survive the season before last because of the crowd that came to one game as part of the Hellenic Ground Hop scheme.

"When our clubhouse burnt down in an arson attack at Four Acres Field three years ago, we should have closed the club there and then. It was a struggle before, and then we lost our home and with it the money to carry on from bar takings. Meanwhile, it cost much more to play, £40 a game in rent for the Army Camp ground at South Cerney."

United did not even have compensation from insurance having stopped their premiums 12 months before the fire in a cost-cutting exercise. "There are many reasons for the demise," said Varley. "We have gradually lost good people at the club who had volunteered time and, in some cases, donated money.

"There are the unreasonable demands of the FA on a club like us playing at Step 6, as well as the spiralling costs for things like officials (£116 per home match).

"The loss of Four Acres was significant but perhaps the major blow was the premature death from a brain haemorrhage of former chairman John Austin, a local architect.

"When I became involved in the club it was run on a £5,000 overdraft but within two years John had paid off the debts. If he had lived, we would not be where we are now."

Varley is angered by former manager Dave Tyler’s comments in the press and his suggestion of financial irregularities at the club.

"Accounts have been presented to the Gloucestershire Football Association and the Hellenic League every year and Dave saw the balance sheets at our monthly meetings," said Varley. "Yes, there was little in the bank and there are some outstanding debts to the Hellenic League and the Army Camp, but Dave did not help matters.

"When both he and the previous manager Chokri Kartit came in, the club’s management committee gave them a clear mandate that players would have to pay match subs, £5 a game, but it was never imposed.

"Dave also took the team training at the Cirencester Arena which was expensive and what broke the camel’s back for me was when he decided to cancel a first team match due to, in his opinion, a lack of suitable players. That cost us a £250 fine and that was when I resigned."

Varley, who remains secretary at Stratton Youth FC, believes Cirencester United will never be resurrected despite going to the wall for the sake of a few hundred quid.