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Football team hit by 400% hike in pitch fees

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A SUNDAY league football team fear they may have to hang up their boots following a near 400 per cent hike in pitch fees.

AFC Thornton Heath is searching for a new ground on which to play home games after the increase left the pitch at Roundshaw Playing Field unaffordable.

In a bid to avoid dropping out of Croydon Municipal Football League, founder Michael Blackman, 27, is appealing for help to raise at least £250 towards a new home ground.

Michael, of Cleaverholme Close, Woodside, established the team in 2002 as a pupil at Stanley Technical High School, which is now Harris Academy South Norwood.

For the last 11 years the club has paid £25 per game to play home fixtures on a pitch at Roundshaw off Purley Way. The team plays around 15 home games a year.

"We were told we could still play on the pitches but the fee was jumping to £120 a game," said business broker Michael.

"We're trying to find somewhere which is still relatively local to us but as you can imagine our season starts in three or four weeks so there are very few pitches left. When you've been going for 11 or 12 years no one wants to stop playing. One day our children will don the AFC kit.

"But we are at a point now if we can't raise the money we will have to drop out of the league."

AFC Thornton Heath asks players to pay £120 each year in 'subs', which includes the cost of hiring a referee. To continue to play at Roundshaw this would increase to around £200.

To donate to the club's cause visit www.justgiving.com/local/project/saveourclub.

Football team hit by 400% hike in pitch fees


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