Lilywhites overwhelmed by town’s support

MOSSLEY Football Club intends to give back to the town which has come to its aid in this time of crisis.

Seel Park club officials have been overwhelmed by the way in which supporters and businesses have helped in their hour of need helping raise between £2,000 and £3,000.

Vice-chairman Callum Irving explained: “We put out an appeal for donations and have been humbled by the generosity of supporters and people in Mossley.

“It shows how valuable the club is to them and we want to say a massive thank you to the people of Mossley.

“It will never be forgotten. We will be looking to repay it next season by making a contribution back to the town.”

Mr Irving added the success of The 40, an initiative launched to mark the 40th anniversary of Mossley’s appearance at Wembley in the final of the FA Trophy, has helped.

They were looking for 40 businesses to each give £500 for a package for the 2020-21 season with the money initially earmarked for improvements to the ground and facilities.

However, the cash is helping the club through its current lockdown which has seen revenue streams hit hard, especially the cancellation of the Whit Friday brass band contest, the year’s major fundraiser.

Mr Irving said: “The initial response to The 40 was unbelievable, though obviously it has slowed down.

“We had a laundry sale of old kit planned. Because of the restrictions it went ahead online and sold out on two days.

“We have also had a replica Wembley shirt produced. The target was to sell 50 but we have so far exceeded that with 85.”

Mossley had been planning a special 40th anniversary celebration of the Wembley appearance at the final home game of the season but that will now take place later this year.

Mr Irving is confident Mossley will be able to ride the storm. They only have three contracted players Declan Evans, Jes Uchegbulam and Ryan Brooke. The remainder are non-contract so are only paid when they play.

Mr Irving continued: “The financial position for the next few months is going to be really tough.
“When you look at the combined efforts of everybody, it gives us a lot of hope going forward and, speaking to other clubs, we are in a better position than many.

“I am fully confident we will still be around next year and better than bruised.

“But when you look at the money we have lost, I don’t think it would be controversial to say there will be a decrease in next season’s playing budget.”

Mr Irving added the club has made contingency plans and a risk register of different scenarios for the season starting in September, December or January.

Mossley have also contacted all the other teams in Tameside to explore ways in which they can help one another.

Mr Irving had no personal arguments with the decision to end the season prematurely but believed communication from BetVictor Northern Premier League officials on the matter could have been better.

He said: “The season needed to end because pushing it further and further back would have made it farcical. We had to sacrifice either this season or next.

“There was no television contract and no other things to deliver contractually which made it an easier decision to other leagues.

“There was no solution which would have left everyone happy, but I respect the decision was made quickly, but I can understand why South Shields (runaway leaders) were rightly aggrieved.

“We were fortunate where we are in the table that it didn’t affect us, though in the form table we were in the top three when the season ended so it was disappointing not to finish the season.

“I don’t like the season being declared null and void because it devalues the efforts put in by everybody during the season and I can see why it has produced an emotional response and is open to challenges.

“You have to remember, though, football is second to everything else happening in the world.
Mossley remain in an “ongoing dialogue” with caretaker manager Andy Keogh as to whether he wants the job permanently.

Keogh took temporary charge in February when manager Dave Wild quit to join the coaching staff at Matlock Town.

But with football in lockdown, there is no urgency to finalise a permanent appointment.

• Mossley schoolchildren are being given the chance to design next season’s away kit.

Schools are being contacted and the winning child will receive a full playing strip and hospitality for them and their family at a future home game.

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