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Debt-ridden Wroughton Football Club in fear of going bust
A VILLAGE football club is on the verge of folding after being left nearly £1,000 in debt and losing its home pitch.
Wroughton FC, which was established in 1888, has outstanding pitch rental fees of £960 from the 2011/12 season which has meant the club have been unable to play at their spiritual home at the Weir Field during the current season.
Kevin Cook, who is chairman, treasurer and secretary of the ailing club, said the debt was accrued under previous management, and the recent difficulties mean the team sometimes struggle to field a team to honour its fixtures in the Wiltshire Football League Premier division.
Kevin, who has been running the club this season along with Stef Kuczynski, said: “The previous management team stepped down at the end of last season and me and Stef took over, along with Robin Broadbanks as manager.
“We thought things could be turned around. However, we were not to know that the previous team had not paid Wroughton Parish Council for last season’s pitch and changing room hire.
“We cannot afford to clear that debt, but the parish council have made it clear the debt stops with the club, which is fair.
“Due to this, we were unable to play our home games at the Weir Field and so we’ve been playing at Calne or in Pinehurst.
“We are effectively homeless and penniless, but we staged some fundraising nights and begged some sponsorship and carried on.
“That was until Robin left as manager to join Highworth reserves. The last straw was not being able to raise a team, the poor guy had to ring round from Thursday onwards and it was a real struggle when you’re bottom of the league.
“One week you might have 15 players and the next only eight.”
Kevin, who is also vice-chariman of Wroughton Youth Football Club – which is not affected by the situation – said players pay £5 to play per game, which just about covers pitch fees, but charges for referees aduring home games had to be covered by sponsorship.
He said he hoped a local business or someone from the community could come to the club’s rescue.
“This is a last-ditch appeal to anybody that thinks they can help us,” he said.
“Even if it’s a handful of players to help us limp on to the end of the season. We are on the verge of folding and have talked about starting a new club for next season, but there is a lot of history here.
“The club won the Wilts Premier about six seasons ago and has been around since 1888. It’s also going to be a loss for the youngsters in the youth teams, which are thriving, as they will have no club in Wroughton to join when they get older.”
Joyce Holman, Wroughton Parish Council clerk, said: “There is an invoice for £960 not paid, which was issued in May 2012 for the 2011/12 season. So far none of it has been paid.
“We cannot write the debt off and we cannot favour one club over another.
“Kevin has contacted us and asked to meet to discuss the situation and we are more than happy to try to help them through it.
“We look forward to meeting with them so we can negotiate.”
To contact the club email firstname.lastname@example.org