Wymondham Town Football Club celebrates turnaround after community help
Copyright Â© Keith Whitmore
A football club which was faced with closure has celebrated a remarkable turnaround after a spirited campaign by members of the community to keep it going.
However, Wymondham Town Football Club (WTFC) chairman Andy Gardiner has warned the club is “still very precariously placed” for the future, with £65,000 needed to bring its clubhouse fully up to standard.
Mr Gardiner said there was so much wrong when a new committee took charge in February that WTFC faced closure within months.
Figures showed the club had lost £8,000 in two years and that it owed money to insurance and gas companies, a brewery and the taxman.
It had £3,000 of debt and just £83 in the bank - but to Mr Gardiner’s surprise there were also problems with the clubhouse overlooking the Kings Head Meadow, which was later shut following a meeting to assess its condition.
“When we took the club over, we thought there was a financial problem,” he said.
“What we didn’t realise was the state the clubhouse had been left to get into.”
That sparked Mr Gardiner to put out an appeal for members of the community to donate their time and skills to getting the facilities back to good working order.
The response was overwhelming, with people turning up with tools and paintbrushes on community days to redecorate and clear out rubbish.
After just a few months, its function area has now officially been reopened so it can be booked for use by community groups, with Wymondham mayor Colin Foulger cutting the ribbon at a celebration event in front of about 90 people on Friday, June 27.
However Mr Gardiner warned: “No-one should think it is saved. It is still very precariously placed.
“We have managed to get the function area completely open thanks to the help of Wymondham residents.
“Without them turning out on community days, we wouldn’t be in the position we are now. It has taken a lot of organisation.
“However, it is still going to cost £65,000 to bring that place fully up to spec.”
He added a particular thank-you to Charles Bush, who took on the role of operations manager due to his experience as a business troubleshooter.
“Without his expertise and input, I firmly believe we would’ve had to close in April,” Mr Gardiner said.
Further refurbishment will now be carried out to the changing rooms and the kitchen, with the aim of making WTFC a community-orientated club.
Wymondham Town Football Club history - pages 32 to 33.
Are you organising a community project? Tell the Mercury by calling 01379 651153 or email email@example.com