WEYMOUTH Ladies have sent out a distress call after falling victims of their own success.
The Terras are on the verge of folding unless they manage to attract significant financial backing within the next month.
Their plight was brought to Echosport’s attention by current first-team players Georgia Rogers and Zoe Acutt, who visited our offices on the Granby in a last-ditch attempt to secure the club’s future.
Rogers said: “I have supported Weymouth all my life and chose to play for the club over the county and many other teams.
“When I started playing for a boys’ side, I always aspired to play for a women’s team one day and I would hate to see all the youth girls not have the same opportunity.
“I probably wouldn’t be playing now if it wasn’t for Weymouth.”
Acutt went on to add: “I waited years to be able to play in Wey-mouth colours and the club is why I started playing the game.
“It is the team I have always supported and the reason why I chose football over a promising tennis career.”
Over the past eight seasons, the Terras have become the most successful ladies’ football team in Dorset and currently ply their trade in the South West League Premier Division.
Not only have they achieved three promotions in that time and numerous tournament victories but they have also helped develop around 40 county players with some of them having gone on to win scholarships at giants like Chelsea.
However, like many clubs, the current financial climate has hit them hard and unless sponsors come forward in the next few weeks the amazing progress it has made could come to an abrupt end.
Most clubs at Weymouth’s current level rely on backing from their parent club and the local business community, and although Blondz have come forward this year to sponsor the home kit, along with some other small sponsors, the £200-a-week running costs are proving difficult to meet.
Those costs include pitch hire, training venue hire, match officials, travel, kit and equipment, insurance, league entry and player registrations, and over the past few seasons manager Tim Davis has often made up the shortfall but is no longer in a financial position to do so.
The future looks bleak but there may yet be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel.
When Echosport brought the issue to the attention of Wey-mouth FC chairman Nigel Biddlecombe, he said: “To be honest this is the first I have heard of it – no one has said anything to me.
“Weymouth Ladies have been a credit to the town over the past few years at a time when Wey-mouth FC has not always been, and it would be a crying shame if anything happened to it.
“Even though Weymouth Lad-ies play under the banner of the Weymouth FC, it is completely separate, which means Tim Davis gets his own sponsorship and has his own costs.
“Unfortunately, Weymouth FC is not wealthy enough to help them out financially because we are struggling to attract sponsors as well but I would certainly be willing to set something up for discussion between the board and the people involved at Weymouth Ladies to see what can be done.
“The other thing I will say is that Tim Davis has always been fantastic at attracting sponsors so the fact Weymouth Ladies appear to be struggling, just goes to show how drastic the economic situation is at the moment.”
One way the local community can show their support for Davis’ Terras is by turning out in force for their FA Women’s Cup first qualifying round clash against Aldershot Town at the Bob Lucas Stadium on Sunday, September 30 (2pm).
The Shots will go into the tie favourites but Weymouth will be keen to show their potential and with a big crowd behind them could make life difficult for the Southern Region Premier Division side.
To find out more about the sponsorship opportunities at Weymouth Ladies contact Davis on 07974885259.