Sewage contamination may force flood-hit Tadcaster Albion to move ground, warns chairman

Tadcaster Albion chairman Matt Gore
Tadcaster Albion chairman Matt Gore

The devastating deluge that struck Tadcaster Albion over the festive period has escalated plans for the Brewers to move ground, according to chairman Matt Gore.

Gore claims flood water and overflowing sewage has caused more than £250,000 of damage at the club's i2i Stadium.

Record rainfall levels in December caused the River Wharfe to burst its banks in the town and flood water caused too much pressure on local sewage works.

Gore said Albion may be forced to flatten their clubhouse and “start again” after its infrastructure was contaminated by the sewage.

“The damage is extensive,” he said.

“We are still working with the insurance company. At the moment we are looking at £250-300,000 worth of damage. It's unbelievable.”

Debris inside the goal at Tadcaster Albion's ground

Debris inside the goal at Tadcaster Albion's ground

The flood water has caused damage to the stadium's floodlights, surrounding walls and machinery used to prepare the pitch.

“We have to lock up the clubhouse and wait to see what the experts are telling us,” Gore said.

“The whole stadium was under six foot plus of river water for so long.

“Yorkshire Water had so much water in their pump station that they had to turn the pumps off. That meant sewage came back up which is incredibly horrible. We have suffered immensely.

Volunteers support the clear-up at the i2i Stadium

Volunteers support the clear-up at the i2i Stadium

“It's even a case we we may need to knock everything down and start again.

“Even the floodlights, the electrics are down and completely not working. That's thousands of pounds worth of damage.

“The clubhouse needs a new bar, new walls, new everything. It's just ruined. Even the things that are still standing. It's all contaminated. It's not just a case of spraying down the walls.

“Probably the only thing that will survive is the Ken Gilbertson Stand because it's made of metal.”

Former Manchester United player Jonathan Greeening, right, supports the clean up mission

Former Manchester United player Jonathan Greeening, right, supports the clean up mission

Gore's company i2i Sports took over Albion in 2013 following the departure of Rob Northfield.

Alongside fellow directors Kent Mayall and Jimmy Gore, the chairman outlined a dreamy eyed ambition to supporters which included the prospect of moving the club away from its Ings Lane ground.

The ground has undergone a facelift since the arrival of the new owners but the hard work was washed away in last month's bad weather.

Gore admitted the destruction caused by the floods had fast forwarded his ambitions to relocate. However, should the decision be made to stay put, Gore promised an extensive plan of flood prevention and suggested the clubhouse would be rebuilt over two storeys.

The chairman added: “We have already been looking for many months but this has definitely escalated our thoughts.

“We have started talks with the brewery to see if there is interest in the land and if there is anywhere else in Tadcaster that we could more.

“If we stay, we are contacting every authority and our MP (Nigel Adams) to look at the potential of having a significant flood barrier.

“It only needs to be diverted a few hundred yards to go onto the Ings. We end up being a through flow.”

Albion's attempts to restore normality at Ings Lane has been helped by an army of volunteers clearing debris from the ground.

An online appeal has also been launched and donations have been received far and wide, including one from a disaster charity in Australia.

In the wake of adversity, Gore hailed the community spirit shown towards the club.

He added: “This is a bad time for us but we will definitely come back stronger. We will probably look back in a few years time and say it's the best thing that happened to us, whether that is in a new clubhouse or at a new site. The facilities will be significantly better.”