By Charles Randall
7 May 2012
Newton Heath CC has been saved by overwhelming local support among the Manchester community after persistent vandalism, fly-tipping and burglaries.
Newton Heath is best known as the birthplace of Manchester United a long time ago -- FC United of Manchester are based there now -- but the cricket club has been running for 153 years and plays league games in the Manchester & District Association. Arson attacks and break-ins have had a crippling effect over five years, and last month thieves stole a television set and alcohol, causing £1,000 of damage.
The club considered closing until articles about their plight appeared in the Manchester Evening News. As a result offers of help from neighbours, tradesmen, police and local council gave them renewed hope, and Joe Robinson, one of the players, said a rescue committee had been formed to keep the club afloat.
Robinson said: "We’ve had a great response, and it’s great to see there are a lot who see the club as an important part of the community and don’t want to see us go under. It’s been everything from people wanting to become committee members to a lady who made some blinds for us to decorate the clubhouse, and tradesman who’ve offered to carry out repairs."
Police stepped up patrols and officers have conducted a crime-prevention survey in an attempt to attract grants for security equipment. The club has launched a fund-raising campaign to buy fencing and security cameras at a cost of £5,000. This starts with a charity match between Newton Heath and Manchester & District Cricket All-Star XI on June 4, when a major party is planned.
The message seems clear enough. A community will value their local cricket club.