Clubhouse arsonists hit centenary celebrations

Brodsworth Welfare FC secretary Tony Richardson surveys the club facilities destroyed by fire.

Brodsworth Welfare FC secretary Tony Richardson surveys the club facilities destroyed by fire.

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A FOOTBALL club looking forward to its centenary year has been dealt a big financial blow after arsonists burned down part of their Doncaster ground.

Brodsworth Welfare FC chiefs were yesterday counting the cost of the blaze, which destroyed a wooden clubhouse and tea bar and also damaged the recently-decorated player changing rooms.

The blaze at the Brodsworth Miners’ Welfare sports ground in Fourth Avenue, Woodlands, was reported at 7.20pm on Thursday and when firefighters arrived the wooden structures were engulfed in flames.

Fire crews battled to prevent the blaze engulfing the adjacent changing rooms but it was partly damaged and smoke got inside.

Nearby residents were advised to keep their doors and windows closed until the fire was out because of the amount of smoke generated.

Police were yesterday investigating the incident.

The tea bar was already boarded up because of a previous attack by vandals more than a month ago.

Because the three buildings are all made of wood the fire spread quickly due to the extreme heat.

“It’s a complete mess,” said Brodsworth Welfare chairman Neil Richardson.

“I can’t understand why people do this sort of thing. It’s very frustrating because the money we will have to spend on repairs will probably mean we can’t set up a new junior team.

“It is our 100 years anniversary next year and we were hoping to get the juniors up and running by then.”

The team’s first home fixture is on August 20 so work will have to be carried out to repaint the smoke-damaged interior of the changing rooms, which were recently decorated by a community payback team.

Mr Richardson said teenagers often hung around the football ground and used the stands for drinking in the evening.

“This happened in broad daylight and I am hoping the CCTV from the nearby leisure centre might have picked something up before the fire started.

Vandal damage from the previous attack on the tea bar was covered by insurance but that will now have to be re-assessed because the fire has destroyed it.

A police spokesman said the occupants of one house close to the fire were evacuated for their safety but returned home once the fire was extinguished and nobody was injured.

“At this stage it is not known how the fire started. Police are continuing with their enquiries and are working closely with the fire service to determine the cause.”

Anybody who may have information about the fire is asked to contact police on 0114 220 2020 quoting incident 966 of July 21 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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