ONE of Rotherham's leading non-league clubs is in danger of not being able to start the season after losing its entire management team and many of its players to a neighbouring club.
Parkgate FC, whose first team play in the Northern Counties East League, saw manager Andy Dawson and his assistant Lee Whitehead join higher-division Maltby Main FC as joint managers last week, taking first team staff members and at least half a dozen players with them, with more expected to follow.
While Maltby's new management team were entitled to do so, the timing couldn't be worse with the league season only just over a fortnight away.
Parkgate chairman Albert Dudill said: “It has left us in a very, very difficult position. We have not been able to contact any of the players, and a lot of other players and managers are settled at other clubs already.
“It is 50-50 whether we can start the season.”
Parkgate have called an open training session at their ground at Roundwood tonight (7pm) to see if they can raise the numbers to play on.
Saturday’s friendly at Dearne & District and next Wednesday’s against Kiveton Park have been called off.
“We need support from ‘friends’,” added Albert. “We have been left in a position where we have not got much time to turn things around but we shall certainly be trying.
"The club will survive. We will continue to run our County Senior League side and our U21s. That's certain.
“The doubt is being able to fulfil fixtures in the Northern Counties East League.”
Maltby's chairman, Wilf Race, said: “I have sympathy for Parkgate and the circumstances it leaves them in, but I have to do my best for Maltby Main FC and to bring in two good managers was an opportunity too good to miss.
“If Andy and Lee hadn't gone to Maltby Main, they would have gone elsewhere.”
More on this story, and more reaction from both clubs, in this week's Advertiser.