A NORTH Tyne junior football club is appealing for support to help the realise the dream of dozens of young footballers.

Wark Juniors Football Club has reported a positive influx of youngsters taking part, but the club lacks vital financial support, equipment and coaches to keep the club afloat.

Coach Simon Gilroy, originally from Colwell, said a local children’s football team in rural Northumberland is key to the community.

“For local children and families it’s really important because what else is there to do around here except play video games.”

Simon took over the club as his son began searching for a club, but admitted the club faces a constant uphill challenge.

He explained: “It’s really hard to keep it going.

“We need more coaches and funding. Our club relies solely on fundraisers and the money just isn’t coming in.”

Simon has identified £2,500 worth of equipment the club needs, which he is willing to pay out of his own pocket, but the club will need greater support to be able to sustain its future.

“There’s no money coming in from the club from anywhere. I have supplied the kits for the past three years and have now set money aside for new goalposts.

“There’s a need for money and coaches, and especially now, it’s becoming harder and harder to get because of the ongoing uncertainty around Covid-19.”

Simon, a HGV driver, has redeployed most of his work to the North-East to focus more on running the junior teams.

But the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the progress of grassroots teams, with fund-raising money the club usually relies on non-existent.

“We seem to be managing with the demand for players,” Simon added, “but we need more coaches and funding. It’s having a big affect on us.”

A new report has revealed the financial impact of Covid-19 on grassroots football clubs, with clubs’ incomes reducing by 46 per cent on average, with one in 10 clubs losing 90-100 per cent of their income.

The ‘State of Play’ report stated that, due to financial difficulties, 20 per cent of parents say they can’t afford to return their child to their grassroots club at all.