LOCKED OUT: Relief as footballers allowed to use changing facilities again
The changing facilities, right, that Three Fiddles football players had been unable to use, Image: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live
Footballers who were locked out of their changing rooms and toilets have spoken of their relief after the matter was resolved and they were allowed back in.
Players turning out for Guisborough-based Sunday league football team the Three Fiddles FC were having to wee in bushes and get changed on the touchline or in their cars after being told they could no longer have the key to use the facilities next to the King George V playing fields in the town.
But in a ‘back of the net’ result, the team, named after the Three Fiddles pub in Westgate, Guisborough, has now been allowed access again with leisure centre operator Everyone Active apologising for an apparent misunderstanding.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service had revealed the plight of the footballers earlier this month and in an attempt to get to the bottom of the situation spoke to representatives of Everyone Active, Redcar and Cleveland Council and also Guisborough Town FC, whose ground and own changing block is next door.
Everyone Active operates Guisborough Swim and Fitness Centre, on behalf of the council, which includes the changing rooms and toilets next to the playing fields used by the Three Fiddles.
In a statement Peter Smith, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said: “We would like to apologise for any confusion and inconvenience regarding access to the changing rooms and toilets for the Three Fiddles Football Club.
“Having sought clarity on this issue from our partners at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, the matter has now been resolved.
“The club was given access to the changing rooms and toilets last weekend, which will remain the case in the future, and we are pleased to have them back.”
The change of fortunes for the Three Fiddles was also reflected on the pitch with the team, triumphing last weekend 4-1 over local rivals New Marske Sports Club.
The result allowed the Three Fiddles to move up to sixth in Division One of the Langbaurgh Sunday Football League in which they play.
One of the squad said: “We turned up and half-expected to be on the field and have no facilities, but surprisingly the council had turned up to open the changing rooms to everyone’s relief.
“The publicity we had was brilliant, a lot of people saw the article and it has obviously worked.
“It has massively helped us, now we don’t look like scruffy idiots getting changed at the side of the pitch.
“It is the talk of the pub.”
He added: “We are happy to pay £20 a game [for the facilities] and have gone back to the normal arrangements which worked before.
“The team before last week came from Scarborough and we felt a bit guilty for them having to get changed in the rain.
“They could not use the shower facilities and had brought their wives with them as they were wanting to have a drink in the pub.”
Guisborough councillor Anne Watts said she wished to see a portable building put up for players to change in, had the situation not been resolved.
She said: “Very well done to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.”
Words: Stuart Arnold, Local Democracy Reporter
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