Published: 08:17, 24 March 2020
| Updated: 10:49, 24 March 2020
A dedicated Dover Athletic fan has set up a GoFundMe page to help support the club during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aylesham man Jamie Parsons has lent a helping hand to Whites who will be without a football match until at least April 3, bringing a stop to crucial match-day income.
Mr Parsons decided to create the page, which has already raised in excess of £1,500, after chairman Jim Parmenter highlighted the financial impact an extended football hiatus could have on the National League club.
Explaining the inspiration behind the idea, Mr Parsons said: “I spoke to a few of the fans, there are about six of us who go to pretty much every home and away game.
“We just said ‘Let’s see if we can get some momentum going and get a bit of money for the club'.
“Obviously, the chairman put out a statement that was a little bit worrying and, from speaking to a couple of people within the club, and then the physio [Huseyin Torgut] being made redundant, it [seems] as serious as we were worrying it might be for a lot of non-league clubs.
“So we just thought that we would try and help as much as we can.
“Obviously what we have raised at the moment isn’t a huge amount of money but, hopefully, it can build up and every little bit will help.”
Mr Parsons, who runs a plumbing and heating company, has been thrilled with supporters’ responses so far.
He said: “Absolutely, I think about 70 different individuals have donated so that alone is a big number of people.
“I know a lot of people that go there [to Crabble] are from elder generations and they don’t use a lot of social media, so it’s hard to get those guys to see it.
"But 800 to 1,100 Dover fans are at home games.
“So even if some of them give £10 each, that’s quite a large sum that we could get.
“We are only at 70 [individuals donating] but I think it’s been six days, so it’s not too bad as a response.”
The 29-year-old, who lives on Harrison Road, also says Dover Athletic Supporters’ Club plan to add £1,000 to whatever the GoFundMe page raises.
He said: “At the moment, it’s at £2,500 [in total, including the £1,000 Dover's supporters' club plan to donate]. That’s not bad.
“I knew we were never going to get to the £10,000 target I set.
“To be honest, I was happy when it was getting up to around £1,000 and then, obviously, it has exceeded that.
“The next target is £3,000 so I’ll put it more on social media and try and give it that boost.”
On when he hoped to give the money to the club, he said: "The main thing is, when the payments really stop, that’s probably when it’s worth us giving over.
"If it is really is a problem, it’s probably worth giving them the money sooner rather than later, and maybe then starting again. I don’t know, it’s hard.
"Obviously what we have raised at the moment isn’t a huge amount of money but, hopefully, it can build up and every little bit will help."
"I have spoken to [media and communications director] Steve Parmenter and he said he’ll send me the bank account details when it’s ready.
"They didn’t seem too desperate for it so I don’t think it’s completely necessary just yet, anyway."
Dover have not been in action since their 1-1 draw at home to Chesterfield on March 14.
When asked how he was finding having no football to watch, Mr Parsons replied: “It’s terrible, I have cleaned the cars three times!
“It’s difficult, it really is. For work, I’m self-employed, I have a plumbing and heating company, and that’s quiet.
“We have had cancellation after cancellation because people don’t want us in the house if it’s not essential.
“With that and no football, it really is painful and with no football on TV, it’s even worse!”
In response to the GoFundMe page, Dover Athletic said on Twitter: "A huge thank you to all those supporters who have donated money to the collection organised by you, the fans, to help us through this difficult time.
"It is greatly appreciated by us all. #TogetherWeAreStronger #Covid_19 #StaySafe."
The page can be found by clicking here.
More by this authorThomas Reeves