Last week Knowle FC, whose senior side competes in the Midland Football League Division 2, felt the full force of Storm Doris when the Roof of their Clubhouse was blown off.
The damage lead to closure of their ground and facilities on Hampton Road until the site is once again deemed safe, leaving both the first team and junior sides without a home to play at for the foreseeable future.
The severity of the situation was compounded by the news that the clubhouse was not insurable, and having assessed the damage, it was decided that the clubhouse would have to be completely demolished and rebuilt, all at the expense of the club.
David Ratcliffe, a coach and committee member at the club spoke of the affects beyond the football club;
“The club has long been a vital sporting facility at the heart of the village and has also recently become the home of the fast growing Knowle & Dorridge Running club and so the impacts of the loss of the facility will be felt in many homes locally.”
The local community have already rallied around the side and the club have been overwhelmed with the support they have received from local businesses, sports clubs and residents.
The recent events and subsequent reaction has only emphasised the unique impact and importance of non-league football clubs on local communities.
National League side Solihull Moors were quick to offer their help and have provided Knowle with a much needed home for their next two Midland League fixtures whilst Arden School has offered their playing facilities to Knowle Junior sides, free of charge.
Whilst the club have received tremendous support in the immediate aftermath, the enormity of the rebuilding task ahead cannot be overstated.
Samantha Smith, a member of the Knowle FC committee said:
“Everyone connected with the club is devastated. Our club is entirely run by volunteers who devote a lot of their time to the club. Over recent years the club have managed to take a step forward; we have entirely refurbished the kitchen area, extended the bar and changed the layout of the changing rooms, installing new toilets. To see this work now destroyed is heart breaking. It’s impossible to be involved with Knowle FC and not feel an emotional connection to the club and it’s home ground. The club and the volunteers are determined to get through this challenge and get Knowle FC back home where they belong.”
The club has set up a crowd-funding page as they aim to reach their £30,000 target to rebuild the club’s home.
Donations to the cause can be made at:
Anyone that feels they can offer any practical assistance can contact the club directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.