HOW cruel is the irony that Knutsford FC, representing perhaps one of the wealthiest and upwardly mobile communities in the north west, and with the megastars of the two Manchester clubs making millions just a stone’s throw away, is struggling through lack of funds to hold on to all it holds so dear; its ground and club facilities.

But then I am but a visitor from foreign parts, so what do I know of local politics and preferences?

On Saturday, October 13, on a visit to the area and being a devotee of non-league soccer, I mingled with the faithful at Knutsford’s Manchester Road ‘stadium’ for the A side’s Cheshire County FA Cup clash against top-of-the-table Altrincham Reserves.

Alas, it was the visitors who prevailed, but for me, and I suspect many others at the ground on that windy afternoon, the enjoyment was tinged with sadness at the realisation that Knutsford FC continue to fight for their very existence.

A club which has played football on the Manchester Road site since 1888, which gave six of its players to the 1914-18 war effort and which 100 years later delivers youth and community football on a grand scale across the Knutsford area, is left to struggle on alone against the march of developers eager to buy up the site, hampered even more by a desperate lack of funds and specialist expertise.

The club may consistently have the best outdoor playing surface in the Cheshire League – see it while you can – but of more urgent need is a secretary, a treasurer, volunteers, planning experts and, as ever, more funding.

The welcome I received at Manchester Road on Saturday was wonderful, the quality of football excellent.

Those I talked to spoke with sadness of the perils the club faces, and of the need to keep soccer alive in this affluent corner of Cheshire.

They also acted as unpaid ambassadors for Knutsford and its community, proffering a brew, many a handshake and a much appreciated tour of their playing pitch and facilities.

I would like to offer my own personal thanks to Knutsford FC for their kindness and generosity of spirit, and to appeal to the people and politicians of this splendid town not to let their historic football club, which contributes so much to community life for young and old alike, disappear beneath yet more executive housing.

Here’s wishing Knutsford FC and its supporters a more secure future.

Graham Taylor Worcester