'It’s been dreadful': Black Country football club looking to rebuild

A football club temporarily shut down by the pandemic is bidding for £25,000 worth of building materials to improve its ground for when fans can finally return.

Hoping to improve facilities at Gornal Athletic FC, Garden Walk Stadium, Lower Gornal, Dudley, club secretary Kevin Williams
Hoping to improve facilities at Gornal Athletic FC, Garden Walk Stadium, Lower Gornal, Dudley, club secretary Kevin Williams

Gornal Athletic FC have entered a competition being run by construction firm Buildbase, which will give two grassroots clubs £25,000 each to improve their facilities.

Clubs will be judged on how they have supported their communities during the pandemic.

The West Midlands (Regional) League Division One outfit face competition from all over the country but if their bid is successful, the cash would prove crucial to improving their Garden Walk home.

Club secretary Kevin Williams said: “We would use the money to improve standing facilities, the concrete and the slabs to make it easier for people to walk round.

“We would also put some rails up and make it more up to standard. We would need to make improvements if we get promoted.”

Hoping to improve facilities at Gornal Athletic FC, Garden Walk Stadium, Lower Gornal, Dudley, club secretary Kevin Williams

Grassroots football has been devastated by coronavirus and Gornal are no different.

Their league was curtailed following the implementation of the latest lockdown, something that was particularly galling as they were flying high in the league.

Mr Williams said the club simply wouldn’t have survived without Government grants.

Hoping to improve facilities at Gornal Athletic FC, Garden Walk Stadium, Lower Gornal, Dudley, club secretary Kevin Williams

He said: “It’s been dreadful. We’ve only played one home match this season.

“We had a superb crowd. We had 300 people in which is the most we could have.

Hoping to improve facilities at Gornal Athletic FC, Garden Walk Stadium, Lower Gornal, Dudley, club secretary Kevin Williams

“We could probably have had 500. It was frustrating that we had to finish, we were looking forward to playing all these home matches.

“Our income has taken a hammering.

Gornal Athletic FC, Garden Walk Stadium, Lower Gornal, Dudley

“If it wasn’t for the Government funding we would have gone.

“There is no way we would have survived.

“The Government funding has kept the club running. We have had no income at all.”

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