Tow Law Town, a sinkhole & Football Manager 2020
On New Year’s Day 2020 a YouTuber by the name of Jack (AKA @WorkTheSpace) started a new series of videos under the title of ‘Park to Prem’ with the aim of taking a non-league club through the divisions to the top flight of English football on the popular football management simulator Football Manager.
On 22nd April 2020 an eight foot wide sink hole opened up on the pitch of Northern League side Tow Law Town, an unfortunately common occurance in the area due to the ground sitting atop of a disused mine shaft.
In isolation, these two events seem totally unrelated, but in a rare good news story they have become entwined and demonstrate the power of good will, the gaming community and some savvy PR.
When Jack decided to take control of Tow Law Town ahead of Falmouth Town, FC Oswestry Town and Whitchurch United in a YouTube video that to date has over a quarter of a million views, he set off a chain of events that would lead to new Tow Law Town fans popping up around the world. In the saved game, Jack was good to his word and guided the Lawyers through the lower echelons of non-league, through the Football League before securing promotion to the Premier League. Each episode regularly has tens of thousands of views and has created cult heroes such as Sonny Best AKA The non-league Neymar.
Back in the real world, Tow Law Town launched a GoFundMe page with the aim of raising £2,000 to support the club through the Coronavirus pandemic and to help with costs related to the sink hole. Things started off slowly until Jack shared the page with his 21,000 Twitter followers, asking for their help in saving the club. Donations began to roll in from around the world with donors leaving messages of support from Australia, Colorado, Norway, Czech Republic and Hong Kong to name but a few. The target of £2,000 was quickly passed and eventually over £6,000 was donated to help save the club, with many donors citing the YouTube connection in their comments.
The committee at Tow Law Town were initially unaware of the YouTube link, but soon made contact with Jack to offer their gratitude and talk about how they could thank him for bringing global attention to their plight. Discussions followed and Tow Law Town offered to have the Work the Space logo on the front of their home shirts for the coming season. After a quick discussion with their kit suppliers Avec, a prototype was developed and put in to production.
Fans of the YouTube channel had shown interest in buying kits as soon as the partnership had been mooted, and Tow Law Town capitalised on this, offering global delivery to their new wave of fans around the world.
The UK government signalled that grassroots sport will be able to return in due course, and when Tow Law Town take to the field in their new kits, it will be another chapter in a fascinating story that has taken the name of a County Durham mining town around the world.
Meanwhile, if you want to get involved in the kit action, take a look at the Tow Law Town online store here.