A grass roots football team boss has spoken of his “embarrassment” at the state of its facilities, on the back of a hugely successful season.
Haltwhistle Conservatives won their league and three cup competitions in the season just gone, and also reached the quarter finals of a county wide tournament.
Yet Cameron Bell, club manager and secretary, has told how the club plays on a pitch it does not even own and which it maintains itself in lieu of rent in an unwritten agreement with the owners.
Mr Bell said the club has no changing facilities of its own and uses a dilapidated nearby scout hut, where the electric and water have been disconnected and as a result the toilet has been shut off.
The club has qualified for the county cup for the last three years but has not been able to play its home matches in Haltwhistle as its facilities are not up to scratch.
In the first year, bosses chose not to enter and for the last two they have played home games at nearby Bardon Mill.
Mr Bell said: “It is pretty derelict to be honest. It is quite embarrassing that teams come to play and see the state of the facilities.
“We are the best team in the league and we have probably got the worst facilities.
“It is just embarrassing for the football club if other teams come here and we do not have a toilet.”
A funding pot of £200,000 has been made available by Sport England and Northumberland County Council for the development of football facilities in the town.
Yet the club is unable to build changing facilities on the site of its pitch due to it being registered as a village green and therefore protected from development.
Mr Bell is hoping the scout hut could be redeveloped.
Coun Alan Sharp, chairman of Haltwhistle Town Council, last night said his authority is hoping to talk to the scouts about a possible joint redevelopment of the building.
He also said the council is hoping to use some of the football funding to improve the club’s pitch and carry out drainage work, which would be allowed despite the village green status.
“We would like to see that field developed for football but unfortunately two or three years ago it was made into a village green following a public inquiry.”
Coun Sharp said the town council is in talks with other organisations about alternatives sites in Haltwhistle which could be developed for football.