STALYBRIDGE Celtic chairman Rob Gorski has issued a stark warning that the future of the club is at stake unless crowds increase.
Mr Gorski made a plea to the town to get behind the team after their opening home game of the season in the Northern Premier League against title favourites South Shields attracted a crowd of 335 while four days later there were only 211 fans at the Morpeth Town game.
“I dread to think what the crowd would have been without a sizeable South Shields contingent. There were almost as many of their fans as ours,” he explained.
“It was a disappointing gate given it was our opening home game of the season and it wasn’t even a school night.
“Maybe people were on holiday and maybe there was a genuine reason. However, the bottom line is we need to get larger crowd at Bower Fold or the club will struggle to survive.
“My main concern is, and without being melodramatic, this club will close if we are left the crowds of 180 and fans won’t help.
“We budget for a certain number of fans so if they walk away, we won’t have the finance to invest in the future and further improve our squad.
“I would implore fans to return in their droves because they are the key to the football club’s future success.”
Mr Gorski added the board of directors have increased manager Simon Haworth’s playing budget so he can assemble a competitive squad.
He explained: “We have looked around and brought in quality players.
“Look at Sam Wedgbury who was playing in the EFL a couple of years ago and could still be playing at a higher level. And there are others we have brought in who have played in the National League.
“We also wanted to sign striker Ntumba Massanka this summer, but he went on to join South Shields.
“We are in a strong position on the playing front, but we are deeply concerned both about the fans returning.
Mr Gorski added recruiting more stewards and volunteers is also high on the agenda.
He said: “We would love extra people to be prepared to help run the club.
“We are not at a critical stage, but we could do with more help as it is unfair to put everything on the shoulders of the directors, some of whom are no longer aged 21.”
Mr Gorski added a successful football club would be good for Stalybridge.
He said: “The club can help unite the town if we get the product right on the field and enjoy success.
“Some of the new players have been really impressed with the set-up and are of the view the club is a sleeping giant.
“They have told me they look forward to a big crowd saying the place would be rocking so let hope we can make that happen again.”