Torridgeside have had lots to celebrate in recent weeks with the club securing nearly £50,000 in grants to pay for floodlights and pitch maintenance, writes Ollie Young.

The South West Peninsula League East side have required floodlights for years to compete at step six of the football pyramid and now have the money to make that possible.

The Devon-based side’s manager Barry Paine told The Indy that the club’s fundraising committee deserve all the credit for getting the grant.

“Nigel Cockwill has worked tirelessly for months and months to make this happen and it’s so nice that all his hard work has paid off. He, along with our secretary Andrea Sussex, have just kept pushing and it’s solely down to them that we have this money. I really can’t praise them enough,” he said.

As reported recently, the Football Foundation have given the club the grant and they’re also responsible for the Pitch Preparation Grant that Torridgeside have received.

Paine admitted that the club’s pitches are in desperate need of some attention.

“The pitches were in such a state that they really needed to be looked after. We’ve even gone over budget, but we desperately needed it and it really isn’t cheap. For the Football Foundation to come in at this time, it is worth its weight in gold, this money is a godsend,” he added.

“If we hadn’t received this money, we definitely wouldn’t have been able to do a proper job.

“That being said, if we do the correct work on them now and look after the pitches, we should be set for the next couple of years without spending much money. If our pitches aren’t immaculate after months of no action and having work done, then we’re doing something wrong.”

Paine did also have cautious words for the resumption of league football with his side finishing the aborted 2019-20 campaign in ninth place. A

lthough a possible start date of September has been mooted in recent weeks, in which Torridgeside would be looking to build on their last campaign, it has to be a ‘safe return’ according to the Donnacroft chief.

“In my opinion, I just can’t see it being financially viable and everyone will be losing money,” he said. “I have got players who are concerned about returning to football, this is people’s lives we are talking about, it must be safe to return.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.