OFFICIALS from a football club are searching for a new ground after a fire ravaged their facilities.
The blaze tore through the changing rooms of Washington Football Club on Tuesday morning and caused more than £50,000 worth of damage in a “mindless” arson attack.
Firefighters were called to the pitch on Spout Lane, Concord, Washington, at 1.45am to find the home changing rooms and the referee facilities destroyed.
The team will kick-off a friendly game against Hebburn Town FC at 1.30pm today inside the Gateshead International Stadium. But behind the scenes, club officials are desperately searching for a new place to play, because the league stipulates they must have a changing room facility. Last night Derek Armstrong, chairman of the Northern League Division Two team, said the team were still in need of a new home.
He said: “We are still gutted about the fire and it’s made worse because we can’t use the pitch under Northern League standards. They say we have to have a changing facility. We had to cancel the game on Tuesday and we are still looking for somewhere new to play.
“You wouldn’t want people walking up and down the pitch near the facilities, but the team would play whenever or wherever.”
Immediately after the fire, officials from the club confirmed a range of new equipment had been laid out in the building in preparation for the club’s home match against Norton on Tuesday night. But the clash was cancelled and footballs, strips and nets were all damaged by fire.
Today’s clash with Hebburn will go ahead after the team were loaned strips by the Football Association in Durham.
On Tuesday, Coun Peter Walker, who is in charge of the Washington North area in which the football pitch lies, said the community would be concerned by the attack. He said: “It sounds like mindless stupidity, to be honest. The most worrying thing for the local community is that someone would do something like this – that will be the biggest concern.”