Barnet Deaf FC offered chance by Saracens Rugby Club to move to Copthall Community Sports Ground

Deaf football club 'bowled over' by Saracens offer

Players say the showers rarely ever work and the club is facing action from the English Deaf Football Association over the lack of facilities

The team pays £600-a-year to play on the pitches, which they say are badly maintained

The team has previously turned up to find the grass has not been cut

Players say they are regularly forced to clear up broken glass and litter from the pitches before games

The club had demanded a refund from Barnet Council but were refused

First published in News
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A team of deaf footballers fed up with their “appalling” treatment by Barnet Council have been offered the chance to move.

Saracens Rugby Club met with Barnet Deaf FC last week and is looking to include the club in its new set-up at the Copthall Community Sports Ground, next to the Allianz Park stadium.

The pitches are owned by Barnet Council but Saracens is taking over the running and maintenance of the facilities and has already begun installing new drainage ready for the start of the next football season.

Barnet Deaf FC said last week they are fed up with the treatment they receive at their current home ground in the Montrose Avenue playing fields in Burnt Oak.

The club pays £600-a-year to hire the facilities from Barnet Council but say they are poorly maintained. Players say they have been forced to clear broken glass from the pitches before games and complain that the showers rarely work.

The club is also facing action by the English Deaf Football Association for failing to provide shower facilities for a team from Sunderland, which was forced to travel home without showering.

But, following the meeting with Saracens last week, committee members say they are looking forward to the future at the potential new ground.

Brinthan Nanthabalan, chairman of Barnet DFC, said: "We were bowled over by the vision and initiative shown by Saracens Rugby Club.

“They contacted us directly and invited us for a meeting at their stadium. Allianz Park is truly a community stadium with something for everyone. We could have not wished for a more positive meeting.

“We are looking forward to moving to Copthall Playing Fields for next season and working together with Saracens and the Football Development Group to become part of the inclusive, community atmosphere being fostered by the club.”

The football club’s situation attracted the attention of Labour’s GLA member for Barnet, Andrew Dismore, who met with the them last week and suggested talking to Saracens.

Speaking about the latest developments, he said: “This is great news. It is outrageous that they were being charged by the council so much for so little, and for facilities that were so substandard it was embarrassing them in the eyes of visiting teams.

“Barnet Council should be ashamed of their lack of concern towards this long-standing club’s fully justified complaints.

“I am grateful to Saracens for helping out in such a constructive way which is fully in line with their obvious and welcome commitment to the local community.”

Barnet Council said last week it was aware of the shower issues at the Montrose Avenue pitches, but insisted they are now fixed.

The authority also said it had offered the football club the opportunity to move to an alternative location, but it had declined.

Comments (6)

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11:27am Tue 25 Mar 14

Treenut says...

Fantastic news. Sarries is continuously becoming part of the Community and well done Dismore for the recommendation!
Fantastic news. Sarries is continuously becoming part of the Community and well done Dismore for the recommendation! Treenut
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Tue 25 Mar 14

churcheto says...

I have played at this venue a few times and the facility is terrible. I believe I have even played against this team in the Sunday Morning Sunday league.
Montrose Avenue is not the only place that suffers from lack of maintenance by Barnet Council.
Barnet Playing Fields on Barnet Lane rarely had hot water. You would even arrive to find that you can't even access the car park. Barnet Council would issue the club a key and that was about it. £600 for a key and poor facility.
Copthall was another location that had poor maintenance. You'd be lucky to have a hot shower there after a game. I reckon your chances of winning the lotto were greater.
Barnet Council are happy to take the money from these clubs paying for these facilities, but do they reinvest the money? I very much doubt it!
I have played at this venue a few times and the facility is terrible. I believe I have even played against this team in the Sunday Morning Sunday league. Montrose Avenue is not the only place that suffers from lack of maintenance by Barnet Council. Barnet Playing Fields on Barnet Lane rarely had hot water. You would even arrive to find that you can't even access the car park. Barnet Council would issue the club a key and that was about it. £600 for a key and poor facility. Copthall was another location that had poor maintenance. You'd be lucky to have a hot shower there after a game. I reckon your chances of winning the lotto were greater. Barnet Council are happy to take the money from these clubs paying for these facilities, but do they reinvest the money? I very much doubt it! churcheto
  • Score: 5

9:17am Wed 26 Mar 14

paulwglynn says...

is this the same Andrew Dismore that was against Saracens moving to copthall?
is this the same Andrew Dismore that was against Saracens moving to copthall? paulwglynn
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Thu 27 Mar 14

Nickyisgod says...

paulwglynn wrote:
is this the same Andrew Dismore that was against Saracens moving to copthall?
Yep. The same Andrew Dismore who was against Barnet FC moving there all those years ago.

How times change. Is there an election coming up?
[quote][p][bold]paulwglynn[/bold] wrote: is this the same Andrew Dismore that was against Saracens moving to copthall?[/p][/quote]Yep. The same Andrew Dismore who was against Barnet FC moving there all those years ago. How times change. Is there an election coming up? Nickyisgod
  • Score: 4

5:56pm Thu 27 Mar 14

dawboy says...

My son used to play football at Montrose Park, and I have to say that the facilities (and I use the word in the loosest possible context) are an absolute disgrace. If the toilets worked let alone the showers it was a miracle.Sport provisions around the rest of the Borough of Barnet aren't much better either unfortunately.
If our beloved Councillors were forced to used these facilities on a regular basis then something would soon be done, but as has been shown time and time again, our Council has little time for any sporting activity. You only have to look at our Councillors to see that few of them do any sporting activity, so why do they care.
My son used to play football at Montrose Park, and I have to say that the facilities (and I use the word in the loosest possible context) are an absolute disgrace. If the toilets worked let alone the showers it was a miracle.Sport provisions around the rest of the Borough of Barnet aren't much better either unfortunately. If our beloved Councillors were forced to used these facilities on a regular basis then something would soon be done, but as has been shown time and time again, our Council has little time for any sporting activity. You only have to look at our Councillors to see that few of them do any sporting activity, so why do they care. dawboy
  • Score: 1

6:57am Fri 28 Mar 14

Mr. Datchery says...

paulwglynn wrote:
is this the same Andrew Dismore that was against Saracens moving to copthall?
People are allowed to change their minds. I too was against the Saracens move initially but the arrangements regarding residents only parking and, for family reasons, the facilities the Saracens are providing for persons with learning disabilities have made me change my mind and I'm not running for anything, not even buses, these days.
[quote][p][bold]paulwglynn[/bold] wrote: is this the same Andrew Dismore that was against Saracens moving to copthall?[/p][/quote]People are allowed to change their minds. I too was against the Saracens move initially but the arrangements regarding residents only parking and, for family reasons, the facilities the Saracens are providing for persons with learning disabilities have made me change my mind and I'm not running for anything, not even buses, these days. Mr. Datchery
  • Score: 1

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