Crisis-hit Morpeth Town FC appeals to local people

A SOUTH east Northumberland football club has put out an appeal for people to save them from folding.

Lawrence Appleby, Assistant Manager of Morpeth Town Football Club
Lawrence Appleby, Assistant Manager of Morpeth Town Football Club

A SOUTH east Northumberland football club has put out an appeal for people to save them from folding.

Morpeth Town have issued the rallying cry for people to get behind the club or risk losing it.

Unable to pay their players, having numerous structural problems with the ground, and with the threat of relegation hanging over them, the Northern League Second Division club faces a dark future and only more support from the town can save it.

Chairman Jim Smith said: “There’s a danger that the club could fold. We’re determined to see this season out and I can’t see anything stopping that.

“The general public doesn’t realise the problems that the club has, but this is their club. A lot of people in the town think it’s [president] Ken Beattie and he’ll bail them out, but the town needs to support the club itself.”

Ken Beattie has backed the club for many years but financial commitments and other requirements from the FA have put pressure on the club. Having been paying its players last year, the club is now barely able to pay expenses.

On top of this, the committee must complete a path round the pitch for disabled access by March 31 or face relegation, and similarly must sort out drainage problems – with money it doesn’t have.

Numerous break-ins last season left structural damage to the roof and put the committee room out of action. And while the team played its home games in Bedlington to meet Northern League standards, the gas company took away their gas canister because they didn’t order gas, meaning they currently have no central heating for putting on functions, a useful source of income.

Currently about 50-60 people from Morpeth turn up to games. But even if they take £80 at the gate, referee and linesman fees can reach £120. And due to the weather, the match against Northallerton on Saturday was their first in three months.

Jim said: “We seem to go from one crisis to the next.”

The club is keen to get all kinds of help, such as more people coming to watch games, sponsorship from local firms, volunteers to help with work around the ground or financial help.

To help in any way, contact Jim on 01670 503902.

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