GRAHAM Kemp has delivered a withering assessment of the Dorset non-league scene, insisting clubs need to look on their own doorstep for a solution to the demise.
Kemp, left, was speaking as the county – once a powerhouse in the Wessex League – contemplated this season having no finishers in the top 10 for the first time since its debut campaign in 1987.
Defeat for Kemp’s Hamworthy United at Blackfield & Langley last Saturday ended their hopes, while Christchurch, Poppies and Verwood have all failed miserably to threaten the top half.
Former Winchester City boss Kemp, a four-time winner of the title as a player, said: “All the local clubs need to have a long, hard look at themselves because it is too easy to blame everyone else.
“Clubs without budgets will bemoan a lack of money but you have to ask what they do about it.
“And you have to ask whether the clubs with a budget spend it wisely.
“I don’t think there is anything for the local clubs to crow about.
“I’m a local lad and don’t want to shoot myself in the foot but I don’t think there is a lot to attract players to clubs around here.
“Christchurch have a decent pitch but Hamworthy, Verwood and Poppies all need to work on theirs.
“Some of the facilities leave a lot to be desired and you can understand why players want to travel farther afield to play somewhere more appealing.
“Poppies and Verwood are grim places to play and are not going to attract players in the long-term.
“I don’t get excited about going to either of those grounds and our pitch needs a lot of work as well.
“It is beyond me how the DCFA see fit to play cup finals at the County Ground.
“I have heard some pathetic excuses, including the fact Sholing should not be in the division because they are a Southern League club.
“Everybody plays Sholing twice so what about the other 40 games?”