Vandals wreck years of work on kids pitch

St Joseph's JFC, Rawmarsh
St Joseph's JFC, Rawmarsh

PARENTS and volunteers are pulling together - again - to repair wanton vandalism at their Rawmarsh Club.

The large and thriving St Joseph’s Junior Football Club was hit by vandals who rammed down two security gates to gain entry to the Old Stubbin grounds.

They destroyed new fencing and wheelied deep ruts into a pitch.

Goalposts that were cemented in to the ground were uprooted and trashed. All together the cost of the damage has run to thousands of pounds.

Club development officer Steve Russell, 43, said: “It was clearly a malicious act and nothing else. Why anyone would want to do this when it’s taken us six years to build up the club and facilities I don’t know.

“Everything here has been done by volunteers with fundraising and bits of grant funding.

“Three teams had to have their games cancelled because of the damage, and now we have the Christmas break so we’ll start again in January.

“We’ve managed to put up some temporary fencing again but have had to dip in to our funds which leaves us in a poor state for the New Year.

“We’re very grateful for support from Aston Swallownest Club, who offered us use of their pitches and sent us £100 towards remedial work. That was one good thing that came out of this.”

The recently erected and costly fencing, made possible by a grant from the Coalfield Regeneration Fund, was the last stage in the process of developing the club, with its three pitches and new pavilion built by parents and volunteers.

Before that was put in place, people had free access to the grounds and there were odd bits of annoyance, but nothing at all on the scale of their most recent attack, the Times was told.

“It’s beyond belief really. The only ones to suffer from this here are the kids. We’d like to know who was responsible”, added Steve.

Fourteen teams aged from a nursery side to U18s play at the club. The U16s won the top division of the Sheffield and District Junior Sunday League last year, with many other successes throughout the sides.

A grand opening of the club pavilion with Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, councillors and special guests was held after volunteers worked round the clock for months, and battled vandalism then, to get it standing.

The club grounds are on reclaimed colliery land at Old Stubbin, surrounded by countryside.