HALTON Borough Council is ‘out of step with the nation’ on this huge day for international football, according to one of Runcorn’s MPs.

This comes as it prepares to remove goalposts at a youth team’s home ground, which they say means they cannot finish their season.

Brookvale Football Club is perplexed why the posts must be taken down at Woodside playing fields, where the team trains and play their home games.

Owing to the pandemic, the club's season was delayed, but it has now once again started up. The club estimates that it will need six weeks and is due to play three home games.

If the goalposts are removed, it would mean having to play as far away as Newton-le-Willows, with some at the club not having access to a car.

But the council is refusing to reinstate the posts, despite the intervention of Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury, saying it is necessary due to maintenance and that pitch availability has already been extended into June.

Mr Amesbury, who has been contacted by the team manager and upset parents, said: “It is a big day in the football world today as England plays Scotland in the Euros.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Weaver Vale MP Mike AmesburyWeaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury

“All those players learned their skills by starting off in youth teams like Brookvale.

“I cannot believe the council is removing goalposts from children, denying them and their families the opportunity to enjoy junior football, especially when you think about the impact the pandemic has had on children’s health and wellbeing

“It is cutting their season short on top of all the Covid challenges they have already had.

“I have asked for some common-sense from the chief executive, but I am afraid on this occasion it has not been applied. It is almost ‘computer says no’.”

Mr Amesbury, a Manchester United and England fan, added: “I would ask for some flexibility and for the council to think again.

“It is ironic, for those old enough to remember, that when Scotland beat England at Wembley in June 1977, the overexuberant Tartan Army tore down the goalposts in celebration.

“Unfortunately, on this occasion, it is a council that is taking away goalposts from local school children.”

In response, a council spokesman said: “All teams and league secretaries were notified in March as to pitch availability – ample time for the club to arrange its home fixtures.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Woodside playing fields in Runcorn (Image: Google Maps)Woodside playing fields in Runcorn (Image: Google Maps)

“The council cannot be held responsible if clubs have not done this.

“Furthermore, pitch availability had already been extended into June this year – pitches normally close in May – and midweek games were also allowed.

 “We are also leaving the posts up over the weekend to offer some opportunity for games to be played.

“We need to maintain the pitches or they will be unavailable for the start of next season.

“Our work programme has been planned for many months, based on the information which we have shared with clubs.

“This is proper maintenance planning to ensure pitches remain in a good condition for their long-term future use.

“The council has applied flexibility and been very reasonable in giving good notice of pitch availability."