Soccer club trashed by hoons for third time in 18 months

Paul Albertini from The Lismore Thistles Soccer Club. Photo Contributed
Paul Albertini from The Lismore Thistles Soccer Club. Photo Contributed Contributed

IN WHAT appears to be a shocking pattern of serial vandalism, the Lismore Thistles Soccer Club was wrecked for the third time in 18 months on Saturday night by hoons.

The 10 minutes of malicious driving, recorded on the club's security camera as an unidentified vehicle doing "donuts" around the ground, will cost the club an estimated $10,000 in repairs.

The footage also reveals the vehicle deliberately causing damage to goal posts which will require a welding crew to fix, according to club president Paul Albertini.

Mr Albertini said he was "absolutely gutted" by the incident, which was much worse than the previous two occasions.

He said it was clearly premeditated, given the time and effort to move one of the large rocks out of the way, situated last year to block vehicular access to the ground.

"It's mind-blowing that this is how someone gets their kicks," he said.

Yesterday work was already under way to repair the damage, with sand used to fill some of the worst gouges in the turf.

At least 30 people were on the field for the effort, who had all arrived spontaneously after hearing of the incident via word-of-mouth and Facebook.

The damage caused by a vehicle being driven on Lismore Thistles Soccer Club's grounds. Photo Contributed
The damage caused by a vehicle being driven on Lismore Thistles Soccer Club's grounds. Photo Contributed Contributed

Mr Albertini said if the goals can be fixed by Tuesday night the next premier game would go ahead, but the ground would not be up to standard without a professional top-dressing requiring at least 100 cubic metres of sand.

"But we just don't have the funds. I don't know how we're going to remedy the situation," Mr Albertini said.

Football Far North Coast general manager Steve Mackney said it was a "big kick in the guts" for the club, which already survived purely on the passion of its members and "the smell of an oily rag".

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, who posted photos of the damage on Facebook yesterday morning, labelled the vandalism as "mindless and malicious".

In a gesture of goodwill, both longstanding rival club Lismore Richmond Rovers and the Bangalow Soccer Club have generously offered manpower from their respective premier teams to help repair the ground.



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