A GRASSROOTS football club owner was left with no other choice but to launch a public appeal for funds after the roof of the team’s clubhouse collapsed.

Pete Goodlad, the owner of Athersley Rec, was heartbroken to discover the 17-year-old roof had fallen in and destroyed the cabin below.

Pete feared that the cost for repairs would cripple to club, which has been the home of grassroots football in Athersley for more than 40 years.

He said: “I think that the harsh weather and the rare heatwave we had in May resulted in the roof completely collapsing in after all these years.

“This has come at a bad time financially for us, we were already exploring every avenue possible to keep the club alive.

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“We’ll have to replace the entire cabin and refit the electric again. It’s a replacement job that will cost us around £6,000 to do.

“We were ‘head above water’ level already, so the costs of the damage could cripple us completely.”

Pete was forced to post a public appeal on Facebook to ask Athersley Rec’s supporters to back the club and help raise the desperate funds.

“The reaction of our supporters and local businesses has been unbelievable. Since my initial post, we’ve had an outpouring of offers and people wanting to help.

“A local construction firm, EJ Lidster, who we’ve worked with in the past helped us to install two replacement cabins which would have usually cost £6,000 - this we couldn’t afford.

“They kindly offered to do this for half the price, so it’s cost the club £3,000 in total.

“Also, a firm from Lincolnshire has generously donated us another cabin completely free of charge. This has helped us tremendously.”

Pete was encouraged to hold an auction where fans could bid on the memorabilia, but there was one hot ticket item that caught fans’ attention.

He told the Chronicle: “We held an auction where we sold Athersley Rec items in a bid to raise more cash for the repairs.

“Fifteen years ago we received a cartoon drawn by an artist, Norman Hood, depicting the 11 heroes who won us the World Cup in 1966. This is also signed by Sir Geoff

Hurst who used to play with us.

“We had strict instructions to only sell this if there was no other option. With the collapse of the roof, we thought that now was the time.

“An anonymous gentleman contacted us and offered us £3,000 for the cartoon. This is incredible and will help us pay the cost of the cabins.”

The manager has been overwhelmed with the support from the community, and is optimistic about the future of the club.

“The support we’ve had as well as the donations have been more than I could have imagined.

“Our first team are cycling more than 15 miles to raise some extra cash and our fundraiser has reached more than £100 so far.

“I want to thank everyone who has backed us and helped keep Athersley Rec alive.”

Coun Jenny Platts, for the St Helen’s ward, has offered her support to the club and has assured the team that local councillors will do ‘all they can’.

“I send my support to Pete and the club at this time, Athersley Rec is much-loved in our community and we’ll do our best to help in any way we can.

“We try our best to support everyone in our ward, so we’ll look to do what we can.

“As councillors, we only receive funding through the St Helen’s Ward Alliance but we’ll look into what can be done to support Pete and those at Athersley Rec to repair the damage caused.”