Belfast Telegraph

Ballymena United offer devastated Wrightbus workers free entry to match

Hundreds of Wrightbus workers leave the factory in Ballymena on Wednesday
Hundreds of Wrightbus workers leave the factory in Ballymena on Wednesday

Ballymena United has offered devastated employees of collapsed Wrightbus free entry to their match this weekend against Cliftonville.

The gesture was made following Wednesday's shocking news that the Ballymena bus manufacturer - a fixture in the town since 1946 and one of its biggest employers - was entering into administration, with the loss of 1,200 jobs.

In a statement, a Ballymena United spokesperson said they recognise that many Wrightbus workers and their workers make up their fan base.

They stated that all those at the club "share in the emotions" that have "swept over our town in the last 48 hours".

"This morning the board of directors and management committee have discussed ways in which Ballymena United can give back to those who support us through thick and think, acknowledging that as our fans are there for the club, so too must the club be there for its fans" the statement read.

"In that regard, the first step will be to offer free admission to all Wrightbus employees at our match versus Cliftonville this Saturday on production of their Wrightbus ID or clock card.

"We hope that, even if for 90 minutes, everyone's mind will be diverted to the team on the pitch and we can roar the lads home to a valuable three points."

Wednesday's news has been described as a "body blow" to Ballymena, a town that has suffered a series of mass job losses in recent years as manufacturers closed their doors.

In 2018, the Michelin factory was shuttered with the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs, with around the same number going with the closure of JTI Gallaher in 2014.

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