Burglars target Wednesfield FC day after Carl Ikeme stand unveiled
Burglars have put a dampner on what has been a dream summer for a newly-promoted football club after breaking in and stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
Wednesfield Football Club had been having a summer to remember after securing promotion in dramatic circumstances and opening its newly-renovated Carl Ikeme Stand in support of the Wolves goalkeeper.
But manager Dean Gill said it was a kick in the teeth after discovering burglars had broken into the club’s locked shed and taken £2,000 worth of grounds equipment.
The burglary happened just 24 hours after more than 300 people had descended on the club’s Cottage Ground for the stand’s unveiling last Wednesday.
Mr Gill said: “We spent the best part of £20,000 on the pitch and the grounds this summer to get it ready and in top condition for the new season.
“Other than the driveway we had been really starting to get somewhere, but this is obviously a massive blow.
"Yes the money is a big loss but the biggest thing for me is that with so much going on with the club at the moment surely if you were set on robbing somewhere there are better places.
"Of course I don’t want anyone being robbed, I am just absolutely gutted. I feel sick about it, that someone can do this.”
Equipment taken from the shed included mowers and other machinery, with the burglars busting a lock to gain entry.
Mr Gill, added: “There is just no conscience in some people. I mean come on, give us a break. We are really trying to move the club forward and we needed that stuff.”
Wednesfield finished as runners-up in Division One last season, thus securing promotion to the West Midlands Premier Division.
But following inspection of their Amos Lane ground, the club were denied the step up.
The club’s hierarchy travelled to Wembley in June to appeal the decision against promoting them and later that month announced they had been successful. Bosses had been looking to sell naming rights to the club’s stand to raise cash.
A contest to name the stand had suggested the Liam and Cheryl Stand as one of the possible names – in honour of Bushbury’s former One Direction heart-throb Liam Payne.
But in a poll of more than 850 people The Robert Morris End ran out the winner, to pay tribute to the club’s former manager.
It was decided however to name the stand after Wolves’ stricken goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, following his leukaemia diagnosis. The stand was formally opened by legendary stopper Phil Parkes.