Big match cancelled as vandals leave deep tyre marks on pitch
PUBLISHED: 15:58 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 20:12 18 December 2019
A Norfolk football team has been forced to call off its big derby match this weekend after "mindless" vandals left deep tyre tracks all over their adult and junior pitches.
People drove onto Loddon United's pitch at The Jub off George Lane, Loddon, leaving deep tyre tracks and large mud patches after driving around on the turf.
Club chairman Richard Summons described it as a "mindless act of vandalism" on a pitch in which the club has invested around £2,000 this season alone for upgrades and maintenance.
The damage to the grass has left it unsuitable for football matches and the club has taken the decision to postpone the derby game against Beccles Caxton FC on Saturday, December 14.
The club said on Twitter: "What the hell is wrong with people? After the money we've spent and time dedicated to improving the pitch this season we are now back to square one after some complete idiots decided to force entry and wheel spin around the pitch."
As well as the senior team's fixture, Mr Summons said that the club was forced to also call off its junior and girls games.
But he did voice his appreciation for those who had offered their help to try to make sure the matches went ahead.
He said: "I talked to Langley School - unfortunately their pitches aren't playable at the moment due to the weather, but they would have liked to help.
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"Beccles, our rivals, offered the use of their 3G surface which was a great gesture, but unfortunately the time doesn't work for the opposition. It's nice that other clubs and the community are trying to help."
Loddon United now face another sizeable outlay to pay for repairs to the pitch, which is owned by Loddon Parish Council but wasn't insured for vandalism.
Mr Summons said: "We've been around for more than 100 years. We're run by a committee made up of myself and several other hard-working people. We don't have a huge amount of money or resources.
"We have spent £2,000 on repairing the pitch this season. For a club like us, local football clubs don't have a lot of money. That's a level of money that can cripple a club. It's heartbreaking, and very frustrating."
There has been an outpouring of support on social media, with numerous fans and other local clubs sending supportive messages and offering help.
Mr Summons said: "Football is the hub of a lot of communities. Looking at the online comments it shows that people do care and that is really appreciated.
"Sometimes you lose faith in society. This is an awful event but it has actually pulled people together. It's great that people are supportive of us and that they want to help."
Loddon United FC have since set up an online fundraiser to help them to pay for the repairs.
To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/loddon-united-fc-pitch-repairs.