LOCAL football clubs are facing the possibility of playing no more competitive games this season if lockdown continues into the spring.
Recreational sport is currently on hold until the government eases the current restrictions so it could be April before football starts again.
Although the local leagues have not made any announcement about recommencing fixtures, there is increasing concern that it will not be possible to complete the backlog of games without a long extension of the season into the summer, when there would be a clash with cricket.
For example, Lyme Regis first team have played only three games in the Devon and Exeter Premier East division, which leaves them 19 games to play.
The big concern for clubs like Lyme is that clubhouses are closed and unlikely to open again for many weeks, which they heavily rely on for revenue.
This has been particularly critical for Lyme as they are coming to the end of a £150,000 development programme to improve facilities at the Davey Fort.
The project is 90 per cent complete with all bills paid, but the club still costs several hundred pounds a month to run, even when closed.
The Seasiders have motivated players and ex-players to assist by raising funds through sponsorship or donations and the response from current and past members has been brilliant.
Several current players have been seeking sponsorship for daily runs, which is also helping them to keep fit during the football break. A former Lyme player, who wishes to remain anonymous but has followed his home club throughout his life, has offered to match-fund every penny raised by the players.
The club hosts a Facebook group called the Ex-Seasiders Organisation, administered by former midfielder Martin Rowe, for players to keep in touch with 134 members.
A few years back the group raised funds for the club by organising a number of sporting dinners at the Davey Fort clubhouse.
With the club now feeling the financial pinch, many members have been making donations.
Club president Philip Evans MBE said: “The response has been brilliant and we are hoping that when the pandemic has been beaten we can all get together again to share the many memories we have of being a Seasider with some more social functions.”
With continued support from the players and ex-players, this means the club will remain solvent until such time the season recommences and the clubhouse is open again.
Anyone interested in making a donation to Lyme Regis Football Club should contact president Philip Evans on 07796 951 991.