“Our City, Our Community, Our Club”. The motto of Chester FC has never rung quite so true, with the support shown for fan favourite Kole Hall.

The Bermudan International has started his rehabilitation from surgery on a chronic knee surgery, there was no other option for Manager Calum McIntyre: “Despite his best efforts, and the best efforts of our medical team, it has become unmanageable and requires surgery, this is an injury that has been a problem for Kole since last Christmas.”

Chester FC’s largest supporters’ group ‘Cestrians1885’ set up a ‘GoFundMe’ page to minimise the financial strain on their star forward. Danny McNally, head of the supporters’ group said: “We decided that we should use the power of the fanbase to try and fundraise to help him, the idea was to help him not to essentially pay for the whole surgery but that’s how it turned out.” This was in response to Kole and the rest of the squad donating their FA Cup win bonuses to ‘Cestrians1885’ in order to help improve the experience of the fans in attendance, McNally said: “It was a really nice gesture from the players to donate their win bonuses as that goes to new flags of the manager and players, new drums and repairs to old ones.”

Click here to view Kole Halls GoFundMe page.

Due to issues over insurance entitlements for players who suffer serious injuries, Hall had to cover a majority of his medical costs, upwards of £4000, out of his own back pocket. Since COVID-19 clubs have been unable to offer the same financial support, looking at even cheaper insurance packages to support injured players. Before the pandemic many clubs across the country opted for a much cheaper insurance alternative for as little as £25 per week of their wages which lead to a wider issue of players retiring early, unable to afford surgery.

In 2015, Woking forward Scott Rendell required surgery after rupturing his knee ligaments with the club unable to fully cover the operation, rehabilitation and his wages. Club chaplain Ian Nicholson also organised a ‘GoFundMe’ page to cover the costs. Fans managed to raise a staggering £12,638, highlighting the lack of support for players outside the football league.

Woking FC Badge, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The forward faced a turbulent few years prior to signing for ‘The Seals’ in 2022, having played just 56 games in three years whilst also being sent on loan to Nantwich Town and AFC Telford United. Despite a dip in form, Kole earned an international call-up for Bermuda, he has since made three appearances scoring in a 1-1 draw against the Cayman Islands in 2022 World Cup qualification. Domestically, Hall enjoyed his most consistent spell at Northern Premier League Premier Division side Radcliffe FC managed by former Wrexham midfielder Lee Fowler. The 40-year-old currently manages Flint Town United but was full of praise: “Kole is a superb lad, a very talented player and humble and very laid back off the pitch but very determined and serious on the pitch.”

Lee Fowler playing for Fleetwood, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Hall has found his home here in Chester after securing a one-year contract extension off the back of an impressive campaign last season, that included seven goals and four assists. McIntyre is expecting a new year return: “I know he will come back from his surgery better than ever before and ready to help the team get where we want to be.”