South West Peninsula League
Published 3rd August 2012
.....the departure of joint-manager Steve Flack and a lack of transfer activity ahead of the fast approaching 2012/13 season.
The Magpies appointed Flack and Robin Watt earlier this summer following the departure of Gary Marks, and the former Truro City reserve team bosses were handed the unenviable task of building a squad from scratch following a mass exodus of players which saw every member of last season's first team squad depart Penlee Park for pastures new.
The pair wasted little time searching for new recruits and between them have contacted around 100 players in a bid to lure new talent to West Cornwall's most senior club.
But despite an excellent turnout for the first pre-season training session at Mounts Bay Academy the club has struggled to attract new arrivals, while those who have attended are understood to have not yet put pen-to-paper.
Matters came to a head last Friday night when several player withdrawals left the Magpies with only six available players for the opening match of this season's Dave Gardner Memorial Tournament, a situation exacerbated by the match clashing with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London.
This appeared to be the last straw for Flack, who within another 48 hours had tendered his resignation.
Club secretary John Mead admitted the club's status in senior football was in a precarious position when he told The Cornishman: "The club's failure to fulfil Friday evening's fixture against Helston in the Dave Gardner Memorial competition has highlighted the continuing problems faced by Penzance AFC in attracting and retaining players.
"We seem to have been in free-fall since last Christmas and have now reached a critical stage where the future of senior football at the club very much hangs in the balance."
Explaining Flack's decision to stand down, having presided over only one pre-season friendly, a 1-0 defeat at Hayle reserves last Tuesday, Mead said: "Steve has called it a day after describing the job as 'mission impossible' and while Robin remains with us, he is currently on the look-out for a new assistant."
With their opening premier division fixture at St Blazey on Saturday August 11 only nine days away, the Magpies are in urgent need of a serious influx of players if they are not to become the second top-flight club to pull out of the SWPL, following Dartmouth's decision last week to withdraw with immediate effect, leaving the division with only nineteen teams for the coming season.
Mead, an administrator held in the highest regard in south west non-League football and a member of the SWPL management committee said: "The last thing we want to do is to be forced to withdraw either team from their respective league, but that will ultimately depend on the response we get from players over the next few days.
"I am quite astonished that there appears to be a shortage of players in and around Penzance who wish to play their football at the highest level open to them and for their local club.
"I would be greatly saddened if local players are happy to see Penzance AFC in the position we now find ourselves and are not prepared to help us in our quest for survival."
Despite the ongoing turmoil, Mead vowed that the club would fulfill their two remaining tournament matches. He said: "We will get a team to Falmouth for the Dave Gardner game, as well as for the finals' day game with Porthleven (also at Falmouth) on Saturday.
"However, in view of the current situation, there will be an emergency 'open' meeting in our clubhouse on Friday evening at 7.30pm, where we would welcome the attendance of anyone interested in the immediate future of Penzance AFC – particularly players who are able to commit to playing for Penzance in the Peninsula League Premier Division."