A DISABLED Army veteran had a knife held to his throat while his friend was punched and kicked during a terrifying late night robbery at Sedgley Park Rugby Club.
Phil Hutchinson, a former member of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was taken to hospital with a fractured ankle after being "dragged from room to room" by robbers.
Mr Hutchinson, who has difficulty walking, will have to wait for an operation on his ankle, due to previous medical problems.
Four men carried out the attack at the club in Park Lane, Whitefield, at about 1.15am on Sunday morning, before stealing about £5,000 in cash from the club.
Mr Hutchinson’s friend and colleague John Grundy, a steward at the club who was punched, kicked and dragged upstairs, said the pair were lucky to not have been more seriously hurt.
Both men were cleaning up at the club after a birthday party and were the only members of staff left on site at the time of the attack.
Mr Hutchinson was attacked in one of the club’s offices by two men when he tried to call the police, while Mr Grundy was forced to open a safe and search the tills for money.
The robbers then attempted unsuccessfully to lock both men in a room and left with the cash.
Speaking from his bedside at North Manchester General Hospital, Mr Hutchinson, aged 58, said: “I was upstairs in the toilets at the time but I could hear shouting from downstairs.
“I saw a guy coming upstairs wearing a black hoodie and I punched him before running into the office to call the police.
“Shortly after that, a guy came running in holding a knife and he held it to my throat. He was yelling at me and telling me to put the phone down.
“I then heard John shout ‘leave him alone, he’s disabled’. The next thing I know, I was thrown to the floor and these men ran off with the money.
“I was trying to remain calm — to be honest, I was more worried about John. I’m relieved that he’s okay.”
Mr Hutchinson added: “The people who did this are absolute scum. I’ve got no time for people like that. They were basically kids — they couldn’t have been much older than 18 to 25.”
Mr Grundy, aged 59, said: “I was about to lock up, when these four lads came flying in at me.
“I couldn’t see their faces, but I could tell they had local accents.
“I was fighting with three men at first, while one of the men went upstairs and started fighting Phil, before being joined by one of the other robbers.
“It says a lot about them that they’re willing to assault someone who’s disabled.
“I’m still angry and annoyed about what happened. We were both very lucky this wasn’t more serious.”
Det Sgt Iqbal Ahmed said: "This was a particularly violent robbery which resulted in one of the men suffering a broken ankle as he was dragged from room to room.
"Not only that but they punched and kicked the staff members on numerous occasions throughout the whole episode.
"We are appealing for information and in particular any residents or anyone who was at the club earlier in the evening who may have seen any suspicious men or vehicles in the area.
"It is highly likely the men were waiting for their opportunity to go in and steal cash before they locked up."
Anyone with information can call police on 0161 8568204 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.