Martlesham football side on the road to Dortmund after coronavirus cancels competition
PUBLISHED: 11:29 05 June 2020
A Suffolk Sunday league football team has turned heartbreak into motivation after coronavirus scuppered plans to play at the home of Borussia Dortmund.
The boys at Borussia Martlesham FC were due to take part in the German giant’s annual Südtribünenmeisterschaft competition on the weekend of June 6 – facing up against fellow Dortmund fan clubs from across the world.
The club had been put forward to join the competition for the first time since forming in 2013 after joining forces with the Bundesliga side’s London supporters’ club – but now are unable to take part after coronavirus saw the five-a-side tournament cancelled.
But instead of letting the lockdown bring them down, club captain Ali Clements and chairman Steven Wilding have taken the opportunity as a way to raise money for Ipswich-based charity Memory Lane Cafe.
Mr Wilding said: “It is such a shame – we had seen so many videos of the tournament from previous years and the boys were all well up for it.
“We didn’t just want to go over there and take part, we were going over there wanting to win it. It was going to be a great chance to meet the players and fellow fans from around the world.”
The charity, which organises weekly meet-ups with those living with dementia and their carers, had been chosen by Mr Clements after the charity helped a member of his family.
As part of their challenge, the team will be completing a series of endurance challenges totalling 662 miles – the exact distance from their home ground at Woodbridge Town FC to Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, north west Germany.
Mr Wilding added: “Almost all of us will be doing something – I turned 60 last year but hope to get up early and complete a half marathon.
“I haven’t done a marathon in 10 years and was due to compete in the London Marathon in April before it was postponed. Others in the squad will be completing an 100 mile bike ride while others will also be completing a marathon on Sunday.”
The club had hoped to bring one more piece of silverware home to Martlesham this year, with the black and yellow sporting side through to the semi-finals of the league cup – but insist they are raring to go whenever next season is deemed safe to begin.
Those who would like to donate to the team’s fundraiser can do so by visiting their Just Giving page here.
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