‘We’ve saved the club, but we don’t have a team yet’

Worksop Town supporters at Tesco
Worksop Town supporters at Tesco

Tigers boss Mark Shaw has told supporters they have saved the world’s fourth oldest club – but there’s still no team to put on the field.

Speaking at last Friday’s public meeting at the Crossing in Worksop, Shaw admitted he was disappointed with the turnout, but applauded the fundraising efforts of those working hard for their club.

He said the initial £30,000 raised by the #Team500 Club membership scheme had safeguarded the existence of Worksop Town Football Club – but it wasn’t enough to allow them to build a competitive squad.

“All our overheads – the ground rent, training ground, officials, accounting, laundry, security, kits, insurance, league fees – they can be paid off,” he said.

“The football club has been saved, we’ve saved it in three weeks.”

“But we haven’t got a football team to play for the club.”

“I have no budget, so I can’t talk to players about signing for the club.”

Shaw continued: “I’m extremely disappointed with the turnout.”

“At Langold there was probably double the amount of people in the room.”

“Look at the journey we’ve travelled in such a short amount of time, but there isn’t enough support for the people doing the fundraising.”

“It’s all about the club, and the town, and that message needs to get out to people.”

“Without this, without the #Team500 Club, there won’t be a team of any standard.”

“The people here aren’t enough, we aren’t enough, we need more people to get involved.”

The manager reiterated his vow to steer clear of projected budgets, to protect the club.

“I’m not going to be held responsible for putting the world’s fourth oldest club in the grave, I won’t do it,” he said.

“I’m frustrated because there’s not enough people who seem to care.”

“We’ve saved the club, we will survive, but there’s nothing attached to that at the moment, no team.”

The #Team500 Club steering group and club chairman Ian Smith appealed for more supporters to come forward to offer their time and skills for fundraising activities, instead of relying on the few who have already taken on roles.

Tom Matthews told the meeting: “We need people to step forward and help.”

“We’ve made a lot of progress but there’s a long way to go.”

“If we don’t get more members we won’t field a team next season.”

Smith listed some of the responsibilities that would need to be covered next season, by volunteers.

“This club is very lucky to have matchday volunteers,” he said.

“But what I would like is some new volunteers coming forward to cover, because if one or two go off then we have a problem.”

“Things like opening the ground, manning the turnstiles, stewards, ballboys, car park attendants, first aiders – we need cover for those roles.”

Smith also revealed that NCEL league rules meant Sandy Lane leaseholder, and owner of fellow Premier division side Parramore Pete Whitehead was not permitted to sponsor Tigers, so his rent offer had to be withdrawn.

“Pete made an offer, it’s not available any more, so we’ve had to refer to the original rent agreement,” he said.

Chairman of the Supporters Trust Kevin Keep reassured fans that everyone – including board members – would pay their way from now on.

He said: “There will be no freebies for anyone, including directors and their families.”

“If anyone has a problem with an individual at the club, and that’s preventing them from getting involved in the #Team500 Club then I urge them to come and speak to me – because no single person is bigger than this club.”

“We need every hardcore fan to come on board.”