Arsonists blamed over ground blaze

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Club chairman Phil Rogerson surveys the damage Club chairman Phil Rogerson surveys the damage

Bosses at a football ground which was attacked by arsonists have vowed the first game of the season will go ahead as planned.

A third of the main stand at Guiseley Football Club’s Nethermoor ground was destroyed in a blaze in the early hours of this morning.

More than 40 plastic chairs and wooden flooring was destroyed and the damage will cost at least £20,000 to repair.

Club chairman Phil Rogerson said: “The fire has destroyed a good third of the main stand. We believe it was started deliberately. There is evidence of unlawful entry into the ground.”

Mr Rogerson said the stand had been targeted by vandals in the past and seats had been broken.

He said he suspected underage drinkers who were sitting in the 500-seat stadium because it was raining.

The club is due to start its new season at home to Cammel Laird in the UniBond Premier League on Sunday.

Mr Rogerson said: “It wont stop us starting the season. We will have to look at the safety of the stand and if any of it can be used or if we need to fence it all off.

“We need to get the damage assessed and at this stage we don’t know whether it will be condemned and we will have to rebuild the whole thing.

“In the longer term it could be a big problem with regards to our league status as we need the full amount of seats to fulfil our ground grading.”

Although Mr Rogerson did not know how much it would cost to repair the damage at this early stage, he said: “I would have thought this sort of thing would be at least £20,000 to £25,000.”

Mr Rogerson said the wooden structure, which has an asbestos roof, had been used for 60 years and used to be the bandstand at nearby Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop.

Emergency services were called to the two-storey, 15-metre by 15-metre stand at the Ings Crescent site at around 2.30am. Fire crews from Rawdon and Shipley attended.

Police and the fire service are investigating.

Anyone with information should call Weetwood Police Station on 0845 6060606.

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