A POPULAR football club in Bournemouth threatened with the thought of collapsing has launched a campaign to keep their club going.

Bournemouth Sports FC, based at Chapel Gate near East Parley, was founded in 2009 after the amalgamation of Cannon Colts YFC and Mercury FC.

However, having lost all of their subscriptions for the season and with over half of their listed players furloughed from their jobs or out of work as a result of the pandemic, the club is now appealing to supports and members of the community to stay in existence.

Assistant Development Manager Steve Ellis said: “Our adult Saturday teams are struggling at present, as is much of grassroots sport. Indeed, we are in the middle of a perfect storm.

“We have lost all our subscriptions – players in all but our first team pay to play. If we do not play we have no income.

“The Coronavirus pandemic is now undermining our Saturday teams even further, threatening their very existence.”

The club now fields seven adult teams in various league including the Dorset Premier League and Dorset Leagues.

Steve says that the state of grassroots football in the county was in crisis even before the lockdown.

In the last fifteen years the number of regular 11-a-side players, aged 16 and over, has fallen by approximately 180,000.

This is also mirrored by the decline in the number of teams over the last decade in the local Bournemouth Football Leagues.

Steve, who has managed in grassroots football in the area for 20 years and played for a number of local clubs, including Parley Sports and Holt, set up a fundraising page in order to gather some support for the club and help keep them afloat.

So far, £1,400 has been donated towards their £6,250 target.

He added: “In some respects we are fortunate. Our youth section is stable and Bournemouth University, which now owns Chapel Gate where we play our home fixtures, is very supportive and keen to see BSFC grow.

“But it is not the university’s business to subsidise the club. We need to be self-sustaining and take responsibility for our financial well-being.

“I never anticipated that one day the sport I love would be in such danger. But here we are.”

To donate to the club’s fundraising campaign, visit gofundme.com/f/bournemouth-sports-fc-help-save-our-club?.