Pupils fight to save St Albans FC

Cunningham School year 6 pupils with their letters to cllr Julian Daly at the district council suppo

Cunningham School year 6 pupils with their letters to cllr Julian Daly at the district council supporting the Save Our Saints campaign - Credit: Archant

Concerned pupils at a St Albans school have added their voices to a campaign to save the city’s cash-strapped football club.

Year 6 pupils at Cunningham Hill Junior School, Cell Barnes Lane, have recently put pen to paper to call upon the district council to support St Albans City FC.

They have taken the club’s plight to their hearts, asking the authority in poignant, heartfelt letters: “If the Odyssey cinema came back to life, why can’t the Saints?”

Their pleas come two months after the club’s co-owners, Lawrence Levy and John McGowan, admitted to ploughing £450,000 into the Saints since taking control four years ago.

The club has faced an uphill battle in trying to break even ever since, as restrictive covenants placed upon its Clarence Park home mean it struggles financially, unable to hire out rooms at the dilapidated site for weddings and other functions.

Sarah Kropman, Cunningham Hill’s football coordinator and a Year 6 teacher, said classes recently visited SACFC’s base.

She added: “A key topic for Year 6 literacy is the ability to write a formal, persuasive letter.

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“With many of the year group representing the club at under-11 in both the boys and girls squads, I was keen for my students to understand an issue that is relevant to many of them.”

While visiting the grounds, pupils “became passionate about the current problems being faced by the club”.

Afterwards, they wrote and asked the council to support the Saints’ bid to build a new stadium, possibly on St Albans’ outskirts, saying it would benefit future generations.

The authority was told by one pupil: “SACFC is truly important to the community. Their coaches encourage healthy eating and teach PE at local schools.

“Their youth clubs are the largest in the country … shouldn’t we be proud of that?”

Another implored the council to help the Saints, “get a new stadium … it is exceptionally important to the community and is far more than a weekend club.

“I strongly suggest that you help SACFC because of their insignificantly small amount of money and profit due to the lack of facilities.”

One boy wrote that his visit to Clarence Park had left him, “shocked, stunned and staggered” to see its deteriorated state.

He pointedly asked the council: “Do you want people to get hurt?”

One girl added: “I can’t believe that you have let this carry on as it should have been changed years ago.”

The council has yet to discuss the letters.