Worsbrough Bridge Athletic Football Club have endured a difficult week after leaving their home of almost a century but hope they have now found a new place to play in Grimethorpe.
The Briggers – one of the top non-league sides in the town – have been playing at the Park Road stadium in Worsbrough since 1923 but have now left after the floodlights stopped working amid a dispute with the association that runs the ground.
The football club then arranged to play at Grimethorpe Sports Ground but one of the floodlights there has also broken after thieves stole cabling out of it. Bridge tried to play Tuesday's Sheffield Senior Cup match against Swinton at Dinnington and Kinsley but eventually had to postpone it – probably for next week.
They are confident of fixing the Grimethorpe floodlights before then as well as meeting the list of improvements to the ground given to them by the Northern Counties East League before their home league game tomorrow, which is set to be their first at the new venue.
Football club chairman Wayne Radford wants to make Grimethorpe the club's permanent home. He said: "We have a few bits and bobs to do for the league before Saturday and the new power cables for the floodlights arrive on Sunday morning. I am confident we will get all of that done and we are over the worst of it now. The Grimethorpe ground will need a bit more development for it to be our long-term ground but we have until March to do that and, if we do, we will be able to play there next season."
The ground Bridge used to play at is run by Worsbrough Sports and Development Association (WSDA) and is also home to the cricket club of the same name as well as a bowls club and a band.
A statement from the WSDA said: "A solution to the floodlight problem is being investigated in consultation with engineers. It seems that replacement of the floodlights may be the only long-term option and unfortunately the volunteer-run WSDA simply does not have the funds for replacement. Alternative solutions are still being sought including some partial replacements as it is WSDA's wish to see football continue, alongside all of the other activities and sports at this important community facility."
Dinnington-based businessman Radford, who says the football club would have folded had he not stepped in in April, claims the floodlights are now not the only issue. He says he has been banned from the ground after calling for an extraordinary general meeting when he noticed the WSDA had made losses in several recent years, claims which are denied by the association.
Radford said: "We probably could have fixed the floodlights but I don't want our first team to ever set foot in that ground again. There is too much animosity now from all the players and staff. It's a crying shame after almost a century in the same place but we have no choice. If I had known it would be like this, I never would have got involved. It's more difficult than I imagined but I want to keep the club going. Everyone is behind me and we just want to play football."