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Weekly News - 28/4/20

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Weekly News - 28/4/20

Matlock Town’s Just Giving fundraising appeal received the most unexpected boost on Monday afternoon as a £3000 donation from Hollywood film producer Rob Molloy smashed the target of £15,000.

Mr Molloy, who follows the Gladiators on Twitter, produced the live-action Little Mermaid is the grandson of former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and it was definitely a shot out of the blue to leave fund co-ordinator James Griffiths, Chairman Tom Wright and manager Paul Phillips overwhelmed. He had earlier donated £500 at the beginning of the appeal and has also helped out local amateur club Wirksworth Ivanhoe and Manchester based Denton Club where Phillips’ son plays.

Robert tweeted “I care for football (soccer as we call it over here ha ha) a lot and will always support teams although I am @FC Bayern fan in times of crisis we must stick together.”

The Covid-19 outbreak saw the 2019/20 BetVictor NPL season declared null and void after it was suspended last month and the Gladiators lost revenue from the cancellation of their final six home league games of the season, including a highly financially lucrative clash with FC United of Manchester which would probably have attracted a crowd of 1,500.

Mr Wright cannot believe how quickly the target has been reached with the appeal only being launched last month.

“I was always confident we’d reach the £15,000 target at some point but the fact that it’s been achieved so quickly is phenomenal with all of the donations from fans, ex players, people who obviously have an affection for the club. But we’ve had donations come in from all over the country and abroad as with this fantastic contribution from Rob Molloy who I’ll be contacting personally. We’re overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. I’d like to thank absolutely everyone who’s made a donation, however big or small, every donation has helped to make a huge difference to our great little club at this difficult time. We’re keeping the appeal open as I’m sure there’ll still be people wanting to help us.”

James Griffiths, Matlock’s Social Media Manager, has kept the campaign in the public eye.

“James has done a fantastic job and has played a key role in ensuring we’ve raised as much money as we have so quickly” added the Gladiators Chairman.

James himself says that everyone who has contributed is “a hero”.

“The page was set up after a few requests from fans asking how they could help the club during the Covid-19 outbreak. We knew £15,000 was a lofty target and I must admit that I thought it was a pipedream until I saw it in black and white but to hit that total in just over a month says so much about the kindness and generosity of the Gladiators fanbase as well as the football family. Donations have come from everywhere. When Mr Molloy’s incredible gesture came through I was in a state of shock, I was speechless, dumbfounded. I want to say a big thank you to everybody who has donated online or offline as well as shared the post on social media. I was just a daft bloke with an outlet and the heroes are all those who have helped the club in these difficult and ever changing times by donating or sharing. “

Paul Phillips echoed these thoughts and he and his management team are also doing their bit to financially back the Gladiators as well as raising funds for the NHS.

They will be cycling 875 miles, the equivalent distance between Lands End and Jon o’ Groats to raise money for the football club with a percentage of the money raised being passed on to the NHS.

His joint assistant Dave Wild said “we realise money is tight for everyone in the world at the moment so please don’t feel obliged to help! The staff at Matlock Town are cycling the 875 miles equivalent to raise money for the football club as we’re losing valuable money from the cancellation of the season. But we also recognise the outstanding work being done by the NHS so we’ll be passing on some of the money we raise to them. Literally anything at all will help, even £1.”

Phillips and Wild will be joined on the ride by player/assistant boss Brian Wilson, sports therapists Mark Mullins and Hanson Stevens, coach Dave Noble, goalkeeping coach Steve Shuttleworth and analysts Brian Entwistle and Liam Hudson. Hudson is the latest arrival to help out Phillips on a voluntary basis having been with the Gladiators boss previously at Mossley.

“We’re hoping to do the ride physically out on roads on the bikes but that depends on what happens with the lockdown, if not we’ll do it on bikes in a gym with a tracker and we’ll have the evidence to show we’ve done it. It could be a combination of both, it’s a little up in the air at the minute with the situation the country finds itself in but we’ll do it to help both our club and the NHS in the Matlock area.”

Phillips admitted to being staggered by the donation from Mr Molloy.

“I’d like to thank him from the bottom of my heart, I was staggered when I found out, it’s an absolutely tremendous gesture. Hopefully this money that’s been raised will stabilise the club. To raise this much (the total stood at £16170 at teatime on Tuesday) in such a short time is brilliant and it shows what the club and non league football means to so many people.”

To contribute to the appeals please follow these links which can be accessed via the club’s main website www.matlocktownfc.co.uk. www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/donatetothegatemtfc www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/matlock875cycle

Ian Richardson