SKIPTON’S best-known football club has folded and the news has saddened Craven football chiefs.

Craven FA Secretary David Town said: “This is a sad day for both Skipton football and the Craven area, too.

“LMS has been around since 1924 and it is sad that we are losing another club in Skipton.

“I can remember when Skipton Bulldogs, another very successful and established club called it a day.

“The loss of LMS comes as a real blow. Only 12 months ago they won the Craven FA Cup.

“Sadly, this follows a trend we have been seeing in local soccer in recent years.

“There doesn’t seem to be the commitment to either play, be a club official or referee that there used to be.”

Skipton LMS made the announcement that they were going to call it a day in an email to local soccer officials on Tuesday.

The need to ground-share with another club, a lack of funds and a dwindling number of players were factors in the decision.

The LMS club was founded in 1924 and has been a dominant force in the Skipton Body Repair Centre Craven League.

They won the league title four times in the past six seasons and completed the league and Craven Cup double just 12 months ago.

Team manager Riccardo Baldoni, who has been working with LMS stalwarts Bill Freakes and Ian Craven to try and find a solution, said: “Since the season finished three weeks ago we have been trying to see if we could continue.

“We knew we had to move away from our ground, but we had a lack of funds and a dwindling number of players.

“We had to be fair to the Craven League and make a decision about whether we would be able to compete.

“It wasn’t easy, but we have decided that we just cannot continue.”

Baldoni, who joined the club in January from Steeton where he was coaching, says he is grateful for the help they have received in their bid to stay afloat since it became clear that their ground next to Sandylands would not be available.

“I know the Craven League don’t get thanks, but they have done all they can to try and help us,” said Baldoni.

“We also had a generous offer from Cononley Sports to share a pitch at their ground next season. That was something we really appreciated.

“So too has been the help we have received from the owners of our ground. They have maintained it for us for the past three seasons, free of charge, and that has kept us going.”

Craven League chairman Gerry Aldersley, who had hoped that LMS would take their place in the Premier Division for next season, said: “This is a really sad day for the league.

“Skipton LMS have been one of our most-successful clubs in recent years.

“These are tough times for amateur soccer as clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to field teams and to get people to run them.

“Last season we had 24 matches called off because clubs could not raise a team.”

The Craven League management committee will discuss the demise of Skipton LMS at their next meeting.