A FOOTBALL club has donated funds to help NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Players and staff at West Auckland Town AFC are supporting the service in the battle against coronavirus by donating their entire £3,000 bonus pool.

Last week, the Football Association brought the Ebac Northern League club's 2019/20 season to a premature end.

Gary Forrest’s side finished in ninth place in the Division One table, and they progressed to the last 16 of the FA Vase.

A 2-1 defeat at Plymouth Parkway ended their hopes of securing a third visit to Wembley Stadium.

The team are the current holders of the League Cup after winning it last season and getting to the semi-finals this year before the season was brought to an end.

The contributions throughout the season saw the club’s players raise over £3,000 for their bonus pool, made up of monthly subscriptions and players fines.

Fines were given out to players for various things including being late, missing club attire, dirty boots and mobile phone use in the dressing room.

Veteran centre half Jamie Harwood said he might as well have set a direct debit, as he never cleaned his boots.

The decision to donate the pool was made after a meeting between the management team of Gary Forrest, Paul Connor and Brian Atkinson and a players committee fronted by club captain Lewis Dodds.

Lewis Dodds said: “Once we had a chat about it, we asked all of the players and we unanimously agreed that it was the right thing to do.

“We wanted to give something back to the NHS for all of the hard work they are putting in with everything that is going on at the moment.

“The money that was put into a pot every week is normally shared out at the end of the season with each player getting a share to have a good night out. But we all agreed to do this for such a great cause.”

Player Tom Price, whose girlfriend works at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said: “Seeing how hard my girlfriend and the rest of the NHS are working at this time, it’s good that as a club we have been able to contribute towards their efforts.”

Dave Bussey, the club’s assistant secretary, said: “Football and nights out are the last thing on the players’ minds at the moment, we are all grateful to what the NHS are doing in these unprecedented times.”

Mike Snowdon, Media and PR officer for the Northern League, said: “Our clubs are at the heart of their local communities.

“This is a fantastic gesture by the West Auckland squad in these incredibly difficult times for the whole country.”

John Topping, company secretary of Durham County FA, said: “This fantastic gesture from the players, staff and all members of West Auckland Town FC team, is to be applauded, it goes to show in times of adversity that people are prepared to help where they can.

“The West Auckland Town FC players pool has been collated over the season and would normally of been used by all concerned to celebrate their achievements throughout the season.

“However they have put the current situation in the fore of their thoughts and without second thoughts donated the money to the people who are real heroes at present, the NHS workers who are putting their own health and lives at risk.

“Well done all at West Auckland Town FC.”