Council Leader writes to Government on behalf of South Shields FC
The leader of South Tyneside Council, Councillor Iain Malcolm, has today sent a letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Oliver Dowden MP, on behalf of the club.
Below is the letter in full.
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to you today on behalf of South Shields FC, who operate at step 3 of the Non-League System, and have written to you to request that the financial support being offered to National League clubs is extended to clubs like theirs.
The importance of football to our communities here in South Tyneside should not be underestimated. South Shields FC, and our other local clubs such as Hebburn Town FC, are at the heart of their communities and that is reflected in the great support they attract to their matches.
In the past few seasons South Shields FC has seen spectator numbers average above 1,500 which is above many of the teams that operate in the National League who are likely to receive financial support. The club is well run and has the ambition to grow. In 2017 the club took 13,000 supporters to Wembley to see them lift the FA Vase which is an indication of the local support which they can call on in their ambition to move up the football pyramid system.
On top of their successful senior side South Shields FC also provide numerous youngsters with educational and sporting opportunities as well as wide-ranging community projects. The club has also provided vital support to the most vulnerable members of our community during the current COVID crisis.
As you will be aware South Tyneside is an area at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus and I wrote to Matt Hancock recently, along with the Leaders of neighbouring North East authorities, to ask for additional powers and more importantly extra resources to support our communities at this time of crisis.
The fight against coronavirus is an immediate threat to the lives of our communities but the impact on our communities will be even greater in the long-term if local businesses like South Shields FC do not get the support that they need and deserve. I am therefore requesting that you consider extending the financial support on offer to them and other clubs who find themselves in similar circumstances.
Additionally, I would like to request that your department works with the FA and the professional game to agree a further package of support for other non-league clubs, such as Hebburn Town FC, who need assistance at this very difficult time.
If you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Councillor Iain Malcolm
Leader of the Council.