Seven days to save cash-strapped Wakefield FC

Peter Matthews

Peter Matthews

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WAKEFIELD FC, one of the area’s three semi-professional football clubs, could become extinct if a buyer doesn’t come forward to help the cash-stricken club in the next seven days.

The club’s league fixture at Lancaster City tomorrow, Saturday, could be their last due to severe cash flow problems.

The Evo-Stik Premier League has given the Bears until next Friday, November 11 to make a decision on their future after discussions with Peter Matthews, the club president, on Thursday.

The Bears have been members of the Northern Premier Football League since 1991 but Matthews insists that it’s the “last chance saloon” for the club.

“The situation’s very serious,” he said.

“It’s not something that’s just happened, it’s been there for a while. Everyone wants it to go away but it won’t go away.

“This is the last gasp for us now. If nobody comes forward the doors are closed, there’s absolutely no point at struggling on.”

The club has suffered various financial blows recently, with the failure to re-negotiate their lease at College Grove and an unpaid sponsorship deal worth £40,000 with an unnamed sponsor the main reasons for their struggles.

The Bears also spent £40,000 on improving their facilities at College Grove just months before being told they had to leave at the end of last season.

Wakefield secured a new home in the summer, ground-sharing with Ossett Town, but it means the club has no income streams other than people coming through the gate - and crowds have been down, sometimes as low as 50.

The current financial climate also added to the club’s woes.

“I’ve taken steps to recover the unpaid sponsorship but whether we’ll get it or not I don’t know,” Matthews said.

“ I’ve got everything in place to try to get it back. If it came in tomorrow that’d be great but it’s not going to happen.”

He admitted the departure from College Grove was “a real kick in the teeth” but admits the writing was on the wall before then.

Matthews and the club are now counting on someone to revive the club and keep semi-professional football in the city going.

But it needs to happen fast.

“Ideally what it wants is somebody who’s interested in football who can come and take the club over,” he said.

“You’re already in the pyramid of the semi-professional game, to get where we are is not easy so they’ve got a chance to go forward if they’ve got the vision to do that.”

He continued: “The only good thing about it is that we don’t have any debts.

It’s not as if we’re going to go and leave a trail of debts behind us, we’re not.”

Matthews met with player-manager Steve Nicholson before the club’s league game against Salford City, which they lost 2-1, on Wednesday night to discuss the future of the club.

Anyone interested in helping the club should contact Matthews on 07943 829818 as soon as possible for more information.

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest sports news from around the district.