Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Football match called off after travellers set up camp

A football match had to be postponed because a group of travellers pitched up in the club’s car park.

Daventry Town FC bosses were “frustrated” to lose up to £4,500 in revenue after cancelling the tie against Corby Town FC on Easter Monday. Around 12 caravans turned up on the private land on Saturday.

Brian Porter, the football club’s director and secretary, said: “This in anywhere between £600-£1,000 in on-the-gate money, plus secondary spend inside the ground. We also closed on the Sunday where takings are normally around £1,000. In all, we lost around £4,000-£4,500.”

The 64-year-old man said police had attended the site over the weekend but told him that, as its private land, it was up to him to deal with the matter.

A number of volunteers have had to clean up the car park after the caravans eventually left on Monday night, Northants Live says.

Recalling the phone call he received to say the caravans had arrived on Saturday night, Mr Porter said: “We still had around 20 people in the bar, which started to cause a flashpoint and one or two of them went out to have their say.”

Officers from Northamptonshire Police were already at the scene when Mr Porter arrived at around 8:30pm. They told him they were looking into a possible Section 60 Dispersal Order but left later that evening.

“On the Sunday, I received a phone call asking what action were we taking,” explained Mr Porter.

“I said ‘well I thought you were dealing with it’ and they said ‘no, this is private land, it’s down to you.’ And that was it.”

A foodbank, which operates at the site, had to close over the weekend too following the arrival of the travellers. The car park also serves a neighbouring indoor bowls club in Daventry, Northamptonshire.

Daventry, fighting to stay in Northern Premier League Division One Midlands, will play Corby in the rearranged fixture tonight.

Night games typically see lower attendances, Mr Porter said, and therefore he fears the club will get less takings on the gate.

Although the clubhouse bar closed on Monday, the club asked supporters to buy a virtual pint, and the money has gone towards a local mental health charity. A number of fans donated, including supporters of Corby Town FC.

A spokesperson from Northamptonshire Police said: “About 10 caravans arrived at the site of Daventry Town Football Club on Sunday, April 9. We issued a section 60 notice requesting them to leave shortly after midday on Monday, April 10, which they did.”

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