Raid-hit Leeds football club turns to player power in bid to bounce back

Wayne Dixon with players (from left) Kyle Lowry, Jake Holmes, Liam Newsome and Callum Batty. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Wayne Dixon with players (from left) Kyle Lowry, Jake Holmes, Liam Newsome and Callum Batty. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe
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An amateur football club that was left facing closure after a break-in has issued a rallying call for new players as it tries to get back on its feet.

As reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post last month, Middleton Park FC suffered about £3,000 in losses when thieves raided the club’s premises on Cranmore Drive.

The burglars stole 140 footballs and hundreds of pairs of socks with ‘MPFC’ branding – paid for largely out of funds raised by the club’s young players.

Now the club is desperately trying to raise money to replace the kit they have lost.

Secretary Wayne Dixon said: “We’re only a relatively small club and it has had a massive impact on us. It’s been a struggle to get things back together.

“We’re trying to raise the money any way we can, but we’re really on the look-out for new members because that would be a massive help.”

The incident happened over the weekend of June 14-15 when thieves got into the building and broke through internal doors, including a toilet cubicle where some of the kit was being kept.

There were rumours after the event that the culprits were trying to sell the balls on the local estate.

Mr Dixon added: “We’ve managed to get some of the balls back – two boxes with about 40 balls – because one of our players had seen a couple of lads with them. But there’s still a load missing.”

The club, which caters for children as young as 18 months and has junior teams up to under-16 level as well as four senior teams, organised a bag-packing event at Asda in Middelton following the incident, which raised more than £500.

“Even the under-14s, who are usually a bit too cool for school, came out to help and were there for hours because they care about the club,” Mr Dixon said.

Meanwhile, the theft was met with outrage on social media, with people calling on those with information to come forward.

Tina Head wrote on Facebook: “My three boys play for the team and are deeply upset. They all – not just my boys but the teams – worked hard to raise sponsor money in order to get new kits etc for next season. Please, whoever took it, take it back, do the right thing.”

Nikki Peacock added: “Come on people speak up. Restore children’s faith in doing the right thing!”

Police are continuing to investigate. Anyone with information should call inner south police on 101.

Anyone who wants to enquire about joining Middleton Park FC should contact Wayne Dixon on 07852311717.

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