A FORMER Middlesbrough and Darlington football star is to help out a small non-league club on their fundraising evening.
Dean Windass, who played for Boro between 2000 and 2003 will be the guest speaker at Marske United’s Sportsman’s Evening on November 19.
The evening is one of several events taking place throughout the year as the club tries to bring in the vital funds it needs to get by.
Windass played 46 games for Boro, scoring eight goals and also had successful spells with Hull City and Bradford City.
Since retiring from professional football after a 20-year career, he has moved into broadcasting, regularly appearing as a match reporter on Sky Sports News’s Soccer Saturday. He has won may fans with his unique and enthusiastic style and it’s hoped he will be just as entertaining at the Sportsman’s Evening.
The evening will also feature entertainment from comedian Greg Cook, plus a pie and peas supper.
Marske Vice Chairman Janet Pippen said: “We appreciate all support, no matter how small. By holding events like the Sportsman’s Evening, it is a way of thanking supporters and sponsors by giving them an evening of entertainment but is also another way of trying to raise funds to keep the club running.”
She added: ” All people connected with the running of the club do it on a voluntary basis and work hard to keep the profile of the club high but again this can come at a cost – conflict with work or family.”
Such events are crucial to keep a small club like Marske going. Gate money and sponsorship provides most of the club’s revenue but this can be hit during the winter months when matches are postponed due to the freezing weather.
Missing out on that income can hit a club hard and some don’t survive the winter. And there is also the problem of thieves. Marske had to move a pre-season game to another venue after copper cable was stolen from their ground, costing £1000 to replace.
These obstacles are why Marske held its first Sportsman’s Evening last December and it proved a huge success. On that occasion another former Boro star, Craig Hignett, was the guest speaker and entertainment was provided by impressionist Les Gibson, who recently appeared in the final of Britain’s Got Talent.
The club also held a race night and a 23-mile sponsored walk from Whitby to the club’s Mount Pleasant ground in Marske.
The team plays in Division One of the Northern League, eight levels below the Premier League, and their average attendance this season is 150. That number is very respectable for a small club like Marske but with some of the bigger teams in the league getting crowds of over 500, it’s difficult for them to compete.
Marske United committee member Mark Hathaway said: “There are other clubs in the league that have individuals backing them, have larger catchment areas or have a larger fan base. Clubs such as Marske, while relatively well supported, need events such as the Sportsman’s evening to contribute towards the club’s budget.
“Events like this are critical and are one of the main fundraising opportunites the club has each season. It’s an opportunity to raise the profile of the club, not just within Marske but also in the surrounding area.”
Anyone is welcome to attend the Sportsman’s Evening, taking place at Marske Working Men’s Club. Ticket details are available on the club’s official web site: www.marskeunitedfc.com.