The world’s fourth-oldest club Worksop Town are confident they can raise vital funds that will ensure the club’s long-term future, after an outpouring of support from the footballing world.
The Tigers announced this week that they needed to raise £30,000 to clear outstanding debts, or face the curtain falling on their 159-year history.
But in recent days, the club’s plight gained traction on social media – no small part down to Jeff Stelling and ex-England footballer Peter Crouch expressing their support.
And after what could have been a catastrophic scenario for the Northern Premier League South East side, things look to be on the up.
“I think we will get to our target,” the Tigers’ life president Keith Ilett said. “We’ve got so much more than we thought we would have at this moment in time. It’s only been four days since the announcement and we’re well on the way.
“The reaction has been unbelievable. We’re getting donations from everywhere, it’s not just our fans. We’ve had fans and clubs from across the country getting on board and helping us.
“We’ve had all sorts. A bloke phoned me from Brisbane this week who live in Worksop 40 years ago and he donated £100. Then we had an envelope posted from a local councillor with £500 in it, so we’ve been stunned.
“We’re all a big football family in this country,” he added. “You always find that no matter the situation, everyone pulls together and no matter what rivalries we have on the field, we all pull together away from it and it’s typical of the game in this country.
“We’re not there yet but you’ve got to be positive. We’ve got plenty of other stuff going on around the club to help us raise money which is why we’re confident.”
After winning their first league title for almost 50 years last season, the Tigers are having to settle for mid-table this campaign, their latest defeat coming at Sutton Coldfield Town this week.
Relegation shouldn’t be a worry. Bottom side Wisbech Town are 15 points off the Tigers, with only one side making the drop.
Consolidation was always the aim, says Ilett who also says if the club can get their current off-the-field situation sorted with the help of Sandy Lane leaseholder Pete Whitehead, everything should be in place for a promotion push in 2020/21.
“This hasn’t altered our aims this season, but if we can get rid of the debt we’ve got and build some solid foundations, hopefully we can push for promotion next season,” he said. “We’re fully confident we can stay out of trouble on the field this season.
“It’s got to have affected the players; it can’t be easy. But I’m pleased to say they have all been paid and that won’t be an issue going forward.
“Pete Whitehead has paid a substantial amount of money to get rid of a lot of the debt and he asked us to raise £30,000 before March 1 and he will come in and take over the running of the club,” Ilett added.
“If we do raise the money, Pete Whitehead is a good businessman, but he’s also played the game and been a manager. You don’t often get someone running a club who is business and football orientated in equal measure – so he’s the ideal fit for this club, you couldn’t hand pick anyone better.”
PHOTO CREDIT – Lewis Pickersgill Photography (@LewisPickersgi1)