‘I need the town’s help’

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Football club chairman makes an urgent appeal for support from local people

“THE purpose of this article is to ask for more help and financial support at Bridlington Town Football Club because income has reduced considerably this season and it is not only at our club, because it is becoming a nationwide problem in non-league football.

“Our attendances are down on this time last year even though we have a more successful team on the pitch playing some attractive football.

“I believe that the main reason is the further increase in the number of televised games. How can we compete with a Juventus v Chelsea Champions League game on terrestrial television on a wet November night as we had to last week?

“It left us with only £100 in gate receipts after we had paid the match officials. You would struggle to run an amateur team on that income.

“Even on a Saturday we are having to compete with the televised games at lunchtime and teatime as well as competition from Hull City and Leeds United home games, and the sad situation is that the Premier League are about to sign a £5billion pound deal with Sky and other television companies.

“Yet not a penny of this money comes down to grass roots football. Tthe only money we get from the professional game is sponsored prize money in the FA Cup or the FA Vase, but having been drawn against two of the top teams in the North of England and lost both games, we have received nothing.

“I appreciate, as I have stated before, the support I receive from the 100 fans who turn up at all games and I would also like to thank David Naylor, John Gibson and the people who contribute to the trust fund which allowed me to pay the players’ expenses this week and have done on previous occasions.

“Phil Bonnett also does an excellent job organising the raffle on match days to help boost the gate money.

“The following local companies also help with sponsorship and ground advertising, Lloyd Dowson Accounts, West Building Supplies, Andy Hire, G.A Hebden, Inventor Fabrications, Watts Mix, Dacre Arms and several smaller companies who have helped recently.

“If any other companies are able to help it would be greatly appreciated and we still have quite a few match sponsorships available for the remainder of the season.

“Another disappointment has been the lack of ball boys coming to matches this season despite the efforts of Ray Pollard to recruit more children to help out on Saturday games.

“This is a good way for youngsters to come and support their senior local football club and particularly when you look at how many participate in youth team leagues on a Sunday morning, they are the players and fans of the future.

“The advent of social media also affects attendances at games and customers in the clubhouse.

“Gone are the days when fans would use the bar on a Friday evening and Saturday afternoon to find out about team matters and the latest scores when we are at away games. Twitter allows people instant access for all the information they need so they do not even have to leave their homes, which lowers income at all clubs.

“Non-league football is still an excellent product and does produce quality players such as Chris Smalling at Manchester United, Jamie Vardy at Leicester, Charlie Austin at Burnley and our own Chib Chilaka who recently scored the winning goal for Harrogate Town at Torquay in the FA Cup, all products of non-league football.

“To summarise all of the above I am asking for help to keep the club successful at this level and allow us to continue to afford the quality of the team we are fielding at present.

“We have applied for promotion to step four football should we win the league this season, but it will be even more crucial that we receive some additional financial support.

“I would be interested speaking to anyone who wants to join the board who can also bring new ideas which will help the long term future of the club.

“In the short term I would ask people if they could bring a friend to our games, consider getting together and sponsoring a match, bringing kids to be ball boys, consider hiring the bar for a birthday, anniversary or other celebration or even just come down to the club and help in the bar or around the ground.

“Is Premier League football that good with its problems of cheating, racism and anti-Semitic chanting and vast sums of money going to players and agents.

“Clubs at our level now need more help and support than ever before. If you can help our club please contact the Free Press with your details and I will contact you directly. “

Peter Smurthwaite