Wakefield football clubs’ fury at facilities

Sunday League sports coaches in Wakefield have hit out at the council for poor quality changing facilities, rising rent costs and extra charges such as for marking the pitches.L-R Chris Colley (Wfd Football Centre) and John Gimmison (Wagon FC)
Sunday League sports coaches in Wakefield have hit out at the council for poor quality changing facilities, rising rent costs and extra charges such as for marking the pitches.L-R Chris Colley (Wfd Football Centre) and John Gimmison (Wagon FC)
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AMATEUR football club managers have hit out over “disgusting” facilities and rising costs which are threatening their future.

Saturday League coaches say they have had to clear drug needles and broken bottles from dilapidated changing rooms at Thornes Park.

And they have to deal with crumbling ceilings, putrid toilets, broken showers and dangerous open electrical sockets at the site every weekend.

Clubs were also asked last year to start paying £20 per match to mark pitches, adding up to £200 a year to their rental fees.

Del Milburn, who runs The Inns of Court FC and has been involved in Wakefield’s Saturday league for 35 years, said: “It seems we are paying more and more money but the quality of the facilities is just getting worse.

“The toilets at Thornes Park have not been cleaned in all my time here and the showers are a major concern.

“We understand the council can’t stop vandalism but no maintenance is done at all. There are health and safety hazards all over the place.”

John Jimmison, of Wagon FC, said players had reported having valuables stolen from the changing rooms, which do not have any lockers.

He said: “Lockers would make a big difference. But these facilities just need knocking down. What are we getting for our money?”

Chris Colley, manager of Wakefield Football Centre, said players had injured themselves on poorly-maintained pitches.

He added his club’s pitch at Empire Stores had been given away to another team on one occasion recently.

He said: “We’ve only just started playing this season and already we’ve not been able to play on the pitch we are paying for.”

Glynn Humphries, service director for communities said: “The changing rooms at Thornes Park have been inspected and issues have been highlighted. The council is taking action to resolve these matters, and we are very happy to work with clubs who want to improve and take responsibility for facilities.

“For the last year the council has been setting out the pitches free of charge. This includes burning the pitch outline with herbicide. Most teams across the district then do their own over-marking which the clubs pay for.”

Amateur clubs said they were desperately appealing for sponsorship.