A FOOTBALL club boss has offered to put his hand in his pocket to keep the club's youth academy up and running through the Coronavirus pandemic.

With football clubs struggling to cope, many are already battling to pay wages and have had to pay off staff and players.

With youth football postponed for the foreseeable future, Spennymoor Town Youth FC faces the same pressures.

A spokesperson said that whilst running costs have been reduced, they cannot be completely removed. As children will not receive coaching or training until it is deemed safe by the government, the club had to consider about their monthly subscription fees, which are essential for the club to run.

Head of Academy Andy Lowe met with Tony Wilson, managing director, and Brad Groves, chief executive, on Monday morning to decide on the best course of action.

Options included measures as drastic as asking parents to keep up direct debits despite their children not playing football to ensure the youth football club did not cease to be viable.

After consideration, Mr Groves has confirmed that all families’ direct debits will be cancelled from the start of April and he will personally cover the shortfall to keep the academy running until such time as normal service can resume.

Mr Lowe praised the chief executive’s gesture.

He said: “I was amazed when Mr Groves said he was willing to underwrite the club out of his own pocket. It’s an incredible gesture on his part and I have personally thanked him.

“Our parents had agreed to pay monthly subscriptions for as long as their children were a part of the club. That left difficult conversations once youth football was postponed and our ability to deliver the service was diminished.

“It was clear to me in Monday’s meeting that preventing families from having to pay out unnecessarily at this time was Mr Groves’ primary concern. To feel such a responsibility to families in County Durham is testament to what he’s given the area in his career and his time with the club.

“Having been inspired by Mr Groves’ generosity, some parents have asked to continue paying their direct debit to support the club through this period, which is greatly appreciated by all of us here.

“Our subscription fees are already the lowest in the County, but outgoing expenses are certainly a concern for us all. This gesture is a small bit of positive news for our parents and children at a very concerning time. I’m pleased to say that feedback from parents and coaches across the club has been excellent in response to this and we remain excited for the future of Spennymoor Town Youth FC.”