A kick in the teeth

Graham Watkinson vice-chairman and secretary at Chorley FC
Graham Watkinson vice-chairman and secretary at Chorley FC
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Chorley Football Club’s vandal-plagued Victory Park is becoming a huge burden on club finances.

The successful Vanarama Conference North club look set to net upwards of £10,000 following Saturday’s FA Cup victory over rivals Bamber Bridge.

But rather than banking the cash or spending it on to improve boss Garry Flitcroft’s squad, instead some of the prize money will need to be set aside for more repairs at the ground.

Repeated attacks mean the club has now spent more than £30,000 on repairs and improvements.

Last week, vandals made their way on to the ground and smashed two doors.

The week before, a gaping hole was left after yobs smashed concrete blocks which meant anybody could have entered the ground for free.

Several nails were also banged into a number of door locks.

In March, intruders broke in through the directors lounge roof and made away with DVD players, stereo systems and televisions.

And in June, roof tiles were smashed and the attempts were made to set alight the directors’ box.

After the latest attack, club officials have had enough and they have sent out a message to the vandals to “stay away”.

Vice chairman and secretary Graham Watkinson said: “Whoever these people are need to leave us alone.

“On Sunday, I got abuse from three lads who I had to chase off, and nobody should have to put up with it.

“They have also started throwing stones on to the pitch and breaking lighters and throwing them all over the place,”

Mr Watkinson doesn’t think anybody has a vendetta against the club and he feels the problem is down to people in the area.

He added: “I don’t see how anybody could have a vendetta against the club, I mean why would they?

“We are going to have to step up the security at the ground but again this all costs money. Each time money comes in, it’s quickly going out because of all the repair works that we need to do.

“We need to fit everything in with our budget and it isn’t a big one, so it’s not always possible.

“It’s frustrating as we should be talking about the success on the pitch.

“Garry has been having a great time – we’ve had a promotion and we are doing well again.

“But it always comes back to the vandalism.

“I actually think whoever is doing it sees it as a game.”

The club is now calling on the people of the town to come forward if they have any information.

Whether it be as little or as big all information is vital.

“This is where we need help from people now, ”said Mr Watkinson.

“I guess it’s a bit of a plea to people in the area, somebody knows who is doing this. Anyone who is in the area whether you are a dog walker or somebody who lives near the ground.

“If you ever see anybody looking to get on the ground or something looks different, then please come forward and speak out.

“We can’t keep having to make these repairs – each little job is at least a couple of hundred pounds purely down to labour and other costs.

“We are working closely with the police to help stop this problem once and for all, hopefully we can stop this problem once and for all.”

If you have any information on the repeated vandalism at Victory Park, then people are asked to call the police on 101.