Written by Adam McGroarty (@AdamMcGroarty)
After the referee blew the full-time whistle on March 3 in Hamworthy United’s 1-0 win away to Christchurch, what followed next was unprecedented.
The coronavirus pandemic threw a grenade into the sporting world, halting events worldwide and leaving the future of many non-league clubs in jeopardy.
As revealed in our ‘Welcome to Hamworthy’ article, the hierarchy at the Poole-based club has undergone a period of transition this season.
Steve Harvey, former chairman, and club secretary, Kevin Keets, stood down in 2019 due to ill health. Treasurer Kim Harvey also stood down, and ‘The Hammers’ now have a new board in place. Bruce Scammell is now the president of the club, accompanied by new chairman, Steven Mitchener.
This has led to a challenging period for the new board, who now face the force of a global pandemic after a matter of months in the job.
This pandemic is much bigger than football
Hammers’ chairman, Steve Mitchener, said: “This has all come about after an almighty turnaround at the club.
“Before this pandemic even arrived, we certainly had to get ourselves in a position where we could continue everyday footballing matters. But to then have the pandemic thrown on top of it as well, it was very frustrating.
“Everybody is geared up, looking forward to having the opportunity to start to train again, which I have to say, probably won’t be for another three or four months, but it is what it is.”
Non-league football fell victim to the decision made by the FA to ‘null and void’ the season, which Mitchener feels is the right decision.
He added: “Personally for me, the FA have made the right decision. Having said that, I cannot get excited about a return because, to me, this pandemic is much bigger than football.
“As far as our level of football is concerned, it was made null and void, I’ve accepted that and we just have to move on.”
Hamworthy United play their games at the Specsavers County Ground, also home to the Dorset FA. A new pitchside facility, Hamworthy Party Venue, provides a good source of income for the club, but its doors have been closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
This means no income at all!
Andy Forward, club treasurer, said: “With the club not being financed by any individual or party, the Hamworthy Party Venue has become important and does generate a welcome influx of money.
“The temporary closure of the venue has obviously provided us with some challenges as without this part of the club being able to function, this means no income at all!
“We are closely following the Government guidelines regarding not only the playing side of things, but also the hospitality side with great interest.
“The current date of hospitality venues being allowed to open is fast approaching and the club will look into how it can be adapted to hopefully allow some sort of events to go ahead in the not too distant future.”
The club still has bills to pay, even when their venues are closed and a ball isn’t being kicked. However, there are ways fans have still been able to support their side.
A sponsorship scheme has been set up which, the club’s treasurer says is a great way for people or firms to help support a player or coach, as well as the club.
He said: “I never managed to get to a level where I could be sponsored, but I imagine it’s quite a nice feeling to know there is support on a personal level and knowing funds are going to the club to help with running costs.
“This has gone very well this year and more players/coaches have been sponsored for the upcoming season than last year with only a few remaining to snap up!”
The club has also set up a virtual pitch, where people or firms can buy a square of the pitch or part of the stand. Those who have sponsored will be entered in a monthly draw from the start of the season to win a VIP afternoon out at Hamworthy United. Only 10 pitch squares remain at £15 each.
To view details of how you can support the club, view the ‘pinned’ posts on Hamworthy United’s Facebook and Twitter profiles, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further enquiries.
Follow The Hammers’ Twitter account @HamworthyUtdFC, and ‘like’ the club on Facebook to keep updated with the latest club news.