Northampton

Chelsea star's boyhood clubhouse destroyed by fire

Fire at clubhouse
Image caption Despite the damage, the club said it should be able to carry on playing football

A fire has destroyed the clubhouse of Chelsea's new £58m forward Christian Pulisic's boyhood football team.

Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire firefighters tackled the fire at Brackley Town, which broke out at about 03:00 BST.

Northamptonshire Fire Service said the blaze was under control, although crews would remain there for some time.

Chairman Francis Oliver said it was "a very traumatic time for everyone at the club".

But he said: "The football side of the business will be able to operate without too much upheaval."

Image copyright Brackley Town FC
Image caption Four fire engines from Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire attended the fire

Despite the setback, the club has announced the signing of the former Cheltenham Town striker Dan Holman on Thursday.

Mr Oliver said he hoped that the changing rooms had not been affected.

"The support from the football community and everyone around Brackley has been unbelievable," he added.

Image caption The club said the extent of the damage meant the clubhouse would have to be demolished

Mr Oliver said he arrived at the club about half an hour after the fire broke out and described the scene as "horrendous".

Brackley Town play in the National League North, the sixth tier of English football, at St James Park, in the south of town.

Last year the club won the FA Trophy, beating Bromley 5-4 on penalties in the final at Wembley.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pulisic signed a five-and-a-half year contract with Chelsea in January, arriving from Borussia Dortmund this summer

Pulisic, 20, played for Brackley Town aged seven, when he moved with his parents from the US to the UK, returning to the US a year later.

His father, Mark, told The Guardian it was where Pulisic "really fell in love, became obsessed with [football]", and said he was still in touch with his junior coach from Brackley, Robin Walker.

Brackley are due to host Oxford United, MK Dons and Northampton Town next month in pre-season friendlies and it is hoped those games will still go ahead.

The cause of the fire is not known, and an investigation has begun.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The club, which plays in the National League North, won the FA Trophy last year

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