Spurley Hey FC, one of the most respected and successful football clubs in the Greater Manchester area, have suffered ‘devastating’ damage to their playing surfaces.
The club, founded in 1968, are a vital part of their community, and provide leisure activity in the form of 18 teams made up of two adult teams – part of the L & C AFL, two girls teams, and 14 boys teams throughout different age groups.
Yet the action of mindless individuals have jeopardised the playing surfaces, caused by a quad bike and small motocross bike.
Unfortunately, this is not the first instance of damage, according to Spurley Hey President, Dave Jameson, who said: “Over the years, we have suffered a lot of damage by bikers to our pitches and we recently had fly tippers blocking the approach to the ground.
“We have spent a lot of money putting up barriers around the site and this has limited the damage.
“We are currently in receipt of an FA Improvement Grant this season and with the aid of this grant and from club funds, we have spent in the region of £10,000 in an attempt to improve the playing surfaces.
“So it was devastating to see extensive damage done to the playing surfaces by people driving to our ground and loading bikes and quad bikes over the barriers to drive on the pitches.
“The damage was caused by two children – one on a quad bike and the other on a small motocross bike – and they were accompanied and helped by four adults.”
One of Spurley’s managers caught the perpetrators of this vandalism in the act but was “met with verbal abuse.” The club have sought out assistance from the Police, who are now dealing with the matter.
Dave said it is disappointing for all those who pour their heart and soul into their local community facilities, and he urged other facilities in the area to keep a watchful eye out to avoid similar issues.
“I know that other clubs in the league and various sports clubs in the area have been subject to damage to their facilities and it is very disappointing to see the hard work of so many volunteers treated in this thoughtless manner.
“I would advise all sports facilities to keep a constant check on their grounds to avoid the devastation and disappointment we have suffered.”
Mike Yates, Chairman of the L & C AFL, added: “Spurley Hey are a long-established club in our league and have a really hard-working committee of volunteers who give up their spare time to provide football for the local community.
“What is particularly alarming with this vandalism is that parents were helping the children with their bikes.
“Let’s hope they are caught and suitable financial penalties are administered as a deterrent, and the funds are given to Spurley Hey for repair work.”