DARLASTON Town Football club, who despite being one of the oldest clubs in the entire country folded at the end of last season, have had a surprise boost to their survival campaign.
Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Jamie Carragher recently became aware of the old club's plight, and have weighed in with some much-needed and very welcome support.
Chairman of the newly-formed, but not yet playing club, Neil Chambers, told us how it came about:
"Our local MP Valerie Vaz has been very supportive of what we are trying to achieve. I approached her asking her to donate an auction item for a forthcoming Sportsman's Evening we are holding to raise much needed funds.
"Unbelievably she said not only would she donate an auction item but she would seek to get some Liverpool FC signed memorabilia. A colleague of hers approached Kenny Dalglish and apparently he took an interest in our plight, and even did a little research on the internet.
"A few days later we were delighted to receive a Kenny Dalglish signed Liverpool shirt together with a personal signed letter of support from the former Liverpool legend and manager. In addition we received signed messages of support from Jamie Carragher and Alan Hansen.
"These will make fantastic items for our auction and will make a significant contribution to our fundraising efforts. The items will be auctioned on Friday 4 April but anyone wishing to make a bid can do so by email, at email@example.com or by text on 07976 752698 no later than 6.00pm Thursday 3 April 2014"
Formed in 1874, Darlaston Town played in the Birmingham Combination and Birmingham League until being founder members of the West Midlands Regional League in 1961/62. They were in the league until the club folded at the end of the 2012/13 season, until which time they had plied their trade at Step 6 and Step 7, for the last 51 years.
The club announced it had folded in July 2013, too late to allow it to be re-formed for the 2013/14 season. Following news of the club's demise and two public meetings, a new committee was formed to raise the necessary funding to start the 2014/15 season.
The club, under its new name Darlaston Town (1874) FC, is hopeful of rejoining the West Midlands League next season. The club has an illustrious history boasting numerous Football League players and two England Internationals, but has struggled over the last few years.
Since being appointed in September 2013 the new committee have been busy raising funds to re-form the club. More than £5,000 has already been raised but a further £5,000 is needed to meet the running costs in their first season.
The club are still looking for sponsors; anyone interested can contact Neil using the above email or phone number.