A TAMESIDE football club has been left counting the cost – both physically and to its service to the community – after it fell victim to vandals.
Dukinfield Town and Dukinfield Youth JFC has seen its base, off Yew Tree Lane, badly damaged after a break in.
A fire was started in the female referees’ changing room, causing extensive damage and the ceiling to collapse, meaning the whole grid may have to be totally replaced.
There was also external damage, with lights and paint being damaged and a defibrillator was also smashed.
But a club spokesman told The Correspondent the effects of the incident, which police are investigating after it happened on Thursday, June 15, will last far longer than just getting things repaired.
They said: “It’s devastated us as a club.
“Yes, we’re insured but it’s the add-ons on the back of that. It’ll bump our premiums up and we’ll be lucky if we have changing facilities for the start of the season now.
“It’s gutted the place. The whole ceiling grid will need replacing. There’s the electrics, the lighting, everything will need replacing.
“We were actually looking to develop that this season to move the whole club there lock, stock and barrel.
“We were going to build an extension to put a clubhouse there – this is a kick in the teeth for us. It’s put us back so much.
“As a club, we’ve been around for 100 years and have provided football for hundreds and hundreds of kids in the local area and beyond.
“It’s absolutely devastating.”
Dukinfield Town will continue to use its Blocsages facility for the first and second senior team – and could now use it for others.
But the spokesman admits that will not provide the same standards as their now damaged building, adding: “We can still run as a club, this just massively depreciates what we can do at the minute.
“The leagues will all be understanding with us. For the seniors, the league states we must have changing facilities.
“OK, we’ve our first team pitch, so we can offer that but it’s nowhere near as big. There, we only have two changing rooms whereas as Astley, we have six.
“We have referee changing rooms, full showers. Now everything’s gone.
“Only our third team seniors play there but all the junior 11-a-side teams, from 13-years-old up to 21, do too.
“They still will as the grass is still there but we don’t have the facilities now. It’s a crime scene at the moment, then in the current climate, we’ll have to get contractors who will do the work in a short space of time.
“Kids will always get in places and we always kick them off if we see them. This year, though, is a bit different. It was just a week or so ago they tried starting a grass fire in front of the changing facilities.”
The Correspondent understands the football club is not the only one based in that area to be suffering from vandalism problems, with others regularly contacting the emergency services.