Bath football team folds after 14 years as founder bows out
A football team has come to the end of the road as the coach who gave it its name hangs up his boots after 30 years.
A testimonial match is being held at Twerton Park next month in honour of Jeremy Cruse, who has played football in the city since he was 14.
Mr Cruse, 44, known as Jer to his teammates, has decided to retire from coaching, managing and playing for JC Sports.
The father-of-five started the Bath and District League fourth division side in 1998 after playing for the Bath Hospitals team.
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Mr Cruse, who named the team after himself, scored the first two goals in its opening season and was still wearing the number seven shirt at his retirement at the end of last season.
He said: "We had quite a few influential players at the beginning, Nick Tucker, Chris Tucker, Ross Wilmot, Andy May and Phil Podger, some are still playing.
"We came fourth in the league last year and I decided it was a good time to bow out. I'm now 44 and I started playing exactly 30 years ago. It has kept me fit but I want to spend more time with the family."
Mr Cruse, who works for building society Nationwide, said he was looking forward to the testimonial match because he had always wanted to play at Bath City's home ground.
He said: "I want to thank everyone who has helped. I couldn't have done it without them. I want to thank all the players for their commitment to me and for playing all the different roles and positions – they are a great bunch of lads."
Nick Tucker, who has played alongside Mr Cruse for the past 14 years as a member of JC Sports, paid tribute to the coach.
He said: "One man started this club and ran it every year. He has given so much and we owe him a big thank you.
"We want as many to come together next month to give Jer a good send-off."
The match – involving past and present JC Sports players – is at 1pm on Sunday, September 16.