Lalor Football Club will put in a request to the Northern Football League on Monday, asking for the struggling club to play in division 3 this year.
In a statement on the club’s website on Sunday, president Benjamin Charles said after several months of weighing up the club’s position that they thought it was the best way forward.
Charles told Star Weekly that he felt this was the best way to ensure the long term future of the Bloods, who are meant to play in division 2 this season.
“We’ve been in constant contact with the league and the other clubs and we feel that this is the only option moving forward,” he said.
“There’s plenty of enthusiasm at the club and everyone is really positive, but you can’t do much about 30 players leaving and not giving us an opportunity to show them the changes at the club.
“No one is under any illusion where the club is at and we have tried every other avenue before making this decision.
“We’re in a true rebuild.”
Charles said it was a decision that the club didn’t take lightly and there had been a number of conversations over the last few months on the best step forward for the club.
He said they had been very open and transparent with everyone at the club about their situation.
“As a collective, we have done everything (and more) to retain a stable second division club over the past six months and honestly, the option above is the last resort but, it will allow us to develop and build the culture that’s required for success in todays local football landscape.
“Without the effort of turning over every stone before announcing this, we couldn’t have considered self-relegation with our heads held high or pride intact.”
With an uneven number of teams in division 3, Lalor joining that competition would take away the bye.
The Bloods finished second last in division 2 last season and having lost most of it’s senior side, Charles said heavy defeats were only likely going to increase.
Charles said they had spoken to more than 160 players about joining the club during the off season, put the prospect of heavy defeats in the division 2 competition turned off a lot of players.
He said if they stayed in division 2, they would be sacrificing a whole season and it could get messy.
“We’ve lost most of our senior side from last year and we finished second last,” he said.
“We will not be as competitive as we would like to be with the list we have this year.
“Being in division 3 it will allow us some more time to develop players at different levels.
Charles said they were still looking for players for this season. He said they currently have 37 players and would like to get to 50 to 60 players before the season started.
He said being in division 3, they would hopefully be able to attract some more social footballers.
As part of the Bloods proposal they will put to the league, the Bloods will look at entering a match permit partnership with other clubs outside of division 3 to help fill their second side if needed.
Despite looking to drop a division, Charles said it was anything but doom and gloom at the club.
“We’ve got a new logo, a new jumper and it’s a new era,” he said.
“All the players we have at the moment want to be at Sydney Crescent.
“As a club we think we’re going in the right direction.”
The club will play a practice match against Diamond Creek on March 8 to help try and raise funds and awareness of the Bloods situation.