Ramsbottom United have launched an online crowdfunding appeal to help cover the costs of the devastating Christmas floods at the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League club’s home.
The Rams are facing a repair bill running into thousands of pounds after five feet of flood waters from the adjacent River Irwell engulfed all areas of the Harry Williams Riverside Stadium over on Boxing Day, including expensive generators powering the ground’s floodlights, dressing rooms, hospitality and all public areas.
The disaster forced officials to postpone their home game against Workington on Christmas Monday and on Monday the EVO-STIK NPL reversed their scheduled home game with Grantham Town this weekend to Saturday 10 March to give the Rams more time to complete a major clean-up operation.
Since suffering the worst effects of flooding in their 50 year history, officials say they’ve been overwhelmed by the support of the football family and in particular by their fellow EVO-STIK NPL clubs and members of the NPL Facebook Group who’ve been rallying to help.
A number, including Premier Division rivals Stourbridge, Halesowen and Marine, have held bucket collections while Sutton Coldfield Town and a number of other clubs have even organised volunteers who’ve travelled hundreds of miles to help with the clean-up.
Ramsbottom United chairman Harry Williams said: “The response from other clubs, and the league, has been amazing. The football family has really rallied round us and we couldn’t have asked for any more.”
With nearly £800 pledged already towards their £5000 target, the Lancashire club’s founder is now aiming to enlist help from more local people and fans further afield.
Williams, who is hoping they will be able to host Marine in their first match back at home on Tuesday 19 January, added: “We’re still assessing the damage but it has got into the generators which is the main problem and is likely to be the biggest cost. It’s hard enough to keep the club going without things like this.”
“We have been flooded three of four times before but we’ve never seen anything like this. At first we couldn’t get anywhere near the ground and had to wait for the water levels to recede and when we finally got in we couldn’t believe it, it’s such a mess. Water had got quite literally everywhere.”
In a statement on their website, Ramsbottom United secretary Tony Cunningham reiterated the club’s thanks for the support they received and said they hoped to be back to normal within a couple of weeks.
He said: “The club would like to place on record it’s thanks to everyone who has donated and put in the many “man-hours” so far in tidying up in what has been a massive task.
“We have been absolutely overwhelmed with the messages of support for our plight and the fantastic response. These gestures of support and good will are quite something and, on behalf of the club, we would like to thank them very much indeed for their kind offers.”
To make a donation visit: crowdfunding.justgiving.com/RamsbottomUnited.