POLICE are hunting arsonists after a South Kirkby sports facility was burned down for the second time in three years.
Three metal containers - which were used by South Kirkby Colliery junior teams and its Sunday league team - on Common Road playing fields were set on fire shortly after 7.30pm on Friday, November 4.
Two of the containers, which were used as changing rooms, a toilet facility and a kitchen area, were destroyed. The third, which was used for storage, was salvaged.
Sunday league matches are now in jeopardy as FA regulations insist on changing facilities, and the club has lost its only source of funding, selling refreshments in the kitchen.
Members of the football clubs have rallied round to help clean the area and are hoping to start fundraising to repair the facilities as soon as possible.
Tony Ridley, manager of the Sunday League team, said: “So far we haven’t missed any games because we’ve been playing away or using the first team changing rooms.
“But for us to play in this league, the FA regulations state we have to have changing facilities for both teams and the referee. If the first teams are at home we don’t have anywhere and we’ll end up having to change at the side of the road, or cancel the match, neither of which is ideal.
“The club takes 120 kids off the streets every weekend. For this to happen for the second time in three years is just terrible.
“We really need the community to rally round and help - we need paint, wood, plasterboard and a lot of manpower.”
Dave Lang, manager of the one of the junior clubs, said: “We managed to save the benches from inside the changing rooms and all the football equipment was in the container used for storage, which wasn’t damaged. But we have lost the portaloo so we have no toilet facilities any more. And the kitchen area was wrecked - it will need new catering equipment, cooker, worktops, the lot. Not only was it somewhere for people to have a warm drink, it was a little source of income for the clubs as well.
“We don’t have any other fields to play on and there’s nowhere else for us to get changed in up here. It was somewhere for the teams and supporters to go, especially during the bad weather.
“The children are gutted at what has happened. The parents are as well - we work really hard fundraising for things for the kids and someone goes and does something like this.
“Everyone is chipping in when they can but we do not know how long or how much it is going to take to be back up and running properly.
“We are appealing now for members of the community to help us - we would be really grateful for any donation or any tradesperson who is willing to help.”
Bob Dutton, general secretary of the club, said: “The teams are still managing to play but they have no source of fundraising anymore.
“It is ironic that on the same night a fundraiser was being held at South Kirkby social club. That money will now have to be spent on cleaning and redecorating the containers.”
A spokesman for South Elmsall Fire Station said the incident was being treated as arson and that the fire service’s arson task force was investigating.
A police spokeswoman said officers had been up to the scene of the fire and were investigating. Anyone with information should contact them on 0845 6060606 or 01924 395415.
Anyone who can help the club can call Mr Lang on 07852 303920. A group has also been set up on social networking site Facebook. Search for Friends of South Kirkby Colliery Football Club.
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