Tooting and Mitcham’s goalkeeper has praised supporters after the club launched a crowdfunding appeal to help fund the club and vital sporting facilities.
James Shaw thanked the community for its support and expressed his desire to get back on the pitch as soon as it’s safe.
The club launched the appeal for £15,000 to cover costs after uncertainty from the coronavirus outbreak left with them without income.
Mr Shaw, 28, said: “We are lucky to have a very engaged group of fans. They are very proactive and they do a lot. It’s helping us keep on going.”
Due to the pandemic, there is currently a lot of uncertainty about when football will resume.
However, the situation is even more unpredictable for Mr Shaw who ruptured his spleen playing football as a teenager and is considered vulnerable.
As a result, he takes daily antibiotics and will have to weigh up the risks before returning to football.
Despite understanding the importance of remaining indoors he can’t wait to get back on the pitch.
Mr Shaw added: “It’s not just the sports side, it’s the social side that goes for the players in the dressing room and the fans on the terraces and everyone connected with the club.
“You don’t realise how much you miss people until you don’t see them.”
The club’s first team, who are in the Isthmian league, have had their season suspended and record expunged.
Mr Shaw disagrees with this decision and believes clubs throughout the pyramid should be treated alike as they all compete in the FA Cup.
He said: “It is very disappointing to be told that nine months of your late nights, hard work and injuries don’t count for anything.”
Isthmian League chairman Nick Robinson wrote to all clubs in the league detailing his reasons for cancelling the season.
Mr Robinson said one of the reasons was the lack of certainty when football would resume and added that extending player contracts might result in clubs paying wages despite having no matchday income.
Tooting and Mitcham has received thousands of pounds of donations after launching the appeal to support the club through coronavirus.
These have come from supporters, the local community and even rival Dulwich Hamlet fans.
Support our crowdfunding effort at https://t.co/wI9mo37izE— Tooting and Mitcham United FC (@OfficialTmufc) April 24, 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic has created an uncertain landscape for many football clubs and we need your help to enable us to continue the wide range of community activities they undertake#TerrorsTogether #SupportLocal
Club chair Caroline McRoyall thanked those who have contributed.
She said: “The response has been phenomenal. We never really expected it to take off that well so we are really pleased. It is great and we can’t wait to see the fans again down at Imperial Fields.”
The appeal will support vital sports facilities for football, lacrosse, rugby and cricket used by local schools and disability organisations.
There will be a draw for people who have donated and prizes include a Tooting and Mitcham shirt signed by West Ham’s Michail Antonio and a pair of season tickets.
In response to the lockdown the club has partnered with Merton Council and Merton Voluntary Services Council to provide essential food parcels for local residents.
You can support the crowdfunding appeal here and request a food parcel by calling 07909893004.
Main picture by Sam Conquest Photography.