A crowdfunder has been launched to support a coach at Exmouth Town Football Club who injured himself during a game and is unable to work while recuperating.

Chris Eynon, head coach of the under-10s team, suffered a serious knee injury on January 14 while playing for Exmouth Town Football Club Vets against Feniton Football Club Vets at the Withycombe Common Pitches. The accident was no-one’s fault, but it could take Chris up to 24 months to recover, and he will not be able to play football competitively again. He is also unable to carry out his work as a carpenter, which is the main source of income for Chris and his family.

To help them out two of the other coaches from the football club, Rich Higham and Matt Merriam, are appealing for donations via GoFundMe. All three coaches have sons who play for the Under 10s.

Exmouth Journal: Chris with the Under-8s boys, September 2021

Chris has been involved in the Exmouth Town Football Club's youth development since 2021 when he founded the club’s first Under 8s team – now the Under 10s. He also founded the girls' section, which currently has an Under 13s and Under 15s team. A third age group will be starting in time for the 2024/2025 season. He has done all this work as a volunteer.  

Exmouth Journal: Exmouth Town FC girls' team

Chris is also the founder of the Exmouth Town Soccer School, set up to give young players, particularly those unable to find a space on a club team, access to football in a fun and safe environment. The school currently runs an Under 6s group preparing for club football and a mixed-development session for those aged 7+.

Matt said: "As coaches, our intention is to not just teach these kids how to play football, it is also to provide a healthy community of adults and children that can together model how to be people that make a difference in the lives of the people around us.

“Unfortunately, getting injured, or having other tragic things happen, is a reality that most of our players will experience at some point in their lives. Rich and I wanted to set up this fundraiser to show our kids and families that we need to look after each other when those things do happen.

“Hopefully, when they are older, they will look after each other like this. In the same way, we are confident that Chris will show these kids that it is OK to receive help when you need it, and the importance of not giving up but continuing to work hard."

Rich said: "Chris does a huge amount for youth football in Exmouth, and all alongside having a full-time job and a busy family life! He has created opportunities for a lot of kids and young people in our town to play football, grow in confidence and ability, and make potentially life-long friendships. We are doing this because we know Chris would do something like this for us if the positions were changed, he is a top coach and friend."

Chris has asked for his plight to serve as a reminder to everyone who plays sports to have insurance that can cover any earnings lost in a similar situation. He had only recently stepped in to help the Vets team and had not yet secured any insurance. Clubs have insurance that cover some aspects of recovery and liability with injuries, but not loss of earnings.

To donate to the crowdfunder, visit the Eynon Family page at www.gofundme.com/f/eynon-family.