Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: Property developers and the death of non league football clubs


Grand Slam Champion

Status: Offline
Posts: 4058
Date:
Property developers and the death of non league football clubs


This pretty topical and fortunately getting lots of press because of the plight of Dulwich Hamlet FC, there are lots of great things about Hamlet, they get massive support for step 3 (the 7th tier of English Football) gates often North of 1500 generally a good gate at that level is 300-450.

It is a genuinely community club, lots of young kids at matches kicking balls against walls, there is plenty of intrinsic innovation from the fan base good food and beer on site, a proportion of the fans are relatively affluent and in the 20-45 age group and as a consequence it gets a bit of stick because it has a hipster left of centre feel. It is genuinely a great place to spend a Saturday afternoon, the standard of football is excellent, they play attractive football instilled in them by a coach who has been over achieving at the club for 6 yrs, Gavin Rose.

As is well documented in the press they have been squeezed very hard by the developer who in attempted to crush the club has suddenly billed them for back dated rent which they had agreed to waiver when they the owners set the budget at the beginning of the season, taken all bar profits, trade marked the clubs name and threatened to sue them if they refer to themselves as Dulwich Hamlet, the Hamlet or DHFC. I have been involved with DHFC since 1986 when I used to play at the stadium and over the last couple of years as a fan, the whole business is painful and really given everything that is right with DHFC it would be an absolute travesty should a solution not be found that allows such a positive organisation to exist on the fringe of Camberwell, Brixton and Peckham. The active engagement of the fans and local politicians make me very hopeful that the club will survive, although given past experience there is still some knawing anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I hope today's march is a massive success. 

DHFC  however is not my sole reason for posting and I apologise for its length but the process is cathartic so please bare with. It is a much wider problem for a nation that gets fatter by the day, it stretches the length and breadth of the country Hartlepool, Lowestoft, Worcester to SE London all decent sized centres of population all about to loose or lost a high level sporting focus. The players at this level arduous good and most local, many kids aspire to it and generally in a decent sized state

As a child I was extremely lucky in that my grandad was absolutely passionate about sport, both playing it and watching it. Admittedly sometimes his enthusiasm was miss placed, he bought me a full sized cricket bat when I was 5 which I finally managed to lift when I was 15.

He worked as a boiler plater and unfortunately got badly injured at work breaking his back, but I can still remember kicking a ball with him balanced on two walking sticks. My dad in comparison was not a natural footballer and kicking a ball with him even at 7 years old was painful, that said he had been indoctrinated in the ways of the Villa. So alternate weeks the three of us would drive up to Birmingham to watch what was at the time 3rd division football. 

That left alternative weeks free for some what my grandad called ... real football!! down St George's Lane, watching the mighty Worcester City FC. A homely 5,000 capcity stadium nestled in front of the channel on the fringe of the town centre framed behind their legendary blue main gates, known throughout non league circles as "the gates of convenience" as emblazoned in the middle of the gates in white paint were the clubs initials WC. Once over the threshold I was allowed to start on my 1/4 oz of lemon Bon Bons that would induce jaw ache and nausea by half time what ever the score. 

And score we did! 

Steeped In FA Cup giant killing history, we knocked Millwall and Liverpool out in 1957 (one of the biggest giant killing feats of all time) before loosing in front of 17,000 to Sheffield United at the Lane. 17,0000!!!! Fans. Funnily enough I missed that one by a decade but still spent some balmy afternoons and floodlit evenings watching City destroy Plymouth Argyle and run Newport County close (the support was so big there was a British rail football special to the first game) (1978) , get hammered by Coventry (1983), loose to Huddersfield (2005) live on match of the day and then a mere 5 years ago get revenge over Coventry at the Ricoh and the year after we had a televised 3rd round penalty marathon loosing to S****horpe 14-13 on penalties! 

Unfortunately City lost control of their ground in 2013 having sold to property developers to pay debts, the sale also raised money to develop a new ground locally. Unfortunately stalling by the council, no political advocates and objections by resident to a new grade has resulted in a prolonged 15 mile drive to home fixtures, that kills the community feel of a club, gates plummet. After 4 years at Kiddy thsir financial position was such that to keep the club afloat we dropped 3 divisions from the conference North right through the Southern League to Step 5 "West Midlands Premier" and moved in with what were once old southern league rivals Bromsgrove (nee Rovers now Sporting).

We are now 5 years on, their is no non league football club in Worcester a town of close to 100,000 admittedly with a premier league Rugby team propped up by a benefactor recruiting Southern Hemisphere internationals in the twilight of their career and 1st Division Cricket team (the  Damon D'Olivera babes ... but that is an inspirational story ... may he RIP). Next season it is likely that Worcester City will no longer be financially viable even at step 5 and may be playing amateur football. How can that happen live FA Cup football to park football in 5 years! Sports grounds need some sort of protection against property development particularly in areas of high population density as a community asset they must be preserved if they can be relocated legitmately ie. Planning approved simulateneous development fine. If not no development. 



-- Edited by Oakland2002 on Saturday 17th of March 2018 08:43:04 AM

__________________


Tennis legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 13793
Date:

There are many non league football clubs struggling at present.
Dulwich is a slightly odd political debate, where the developers wanted to sell the land and build a new stadium only for the council to turn down their site and then they started a vendetta.
Chester, Hartlepool and Dagenham are all in a financial mess. Macclesfield didn't pay their staff in January despite being top of the league.
Worcester have been in a mess for sometime. The old ground wasn't fit for purpose, it was sold, but the owners never got a new ground and the money has run out.
There is plenty of money in conference north at the moment. Salford, Southport and Harrogate all have big money behind them and there are plenty of teams with big support which allows big wages - Stockport, FC United, Darlington, Kiddy etc

__________________


Intermediate Club Player

Status: Offline
Posts: 330
Date:

paulisi wrote:

There are many non league football clubs struggling at present.
Dulwich is a slightly odd political debate, where the developers wanted to sell the land and build a new stadium only for the council to turn down their site and then they started a vendetta.
Chester, Hartlepool and Dagenham are all in a financial mess. Macclesfield didn't pay their staff in January despite being top of the league.
Worcester have been in a mess for sometime. The old ground wasn't fit for purpose, it was sold, but the owners never got a new ground and the money has run out.
There is plenty of money in conference north at the moment. Salford, Southport and Harrogate all have big money behind them and there are plenty of teams with big support which allows big wages - Stockport, FC United, Darlington, Kiddy etc


 As a resident of Southport with only a passing interest in the club I wasn't aware they were that well off, though Haig Avenue is a decent looking stadium. Is that just by the standards of the Conference North or lower leagues in general?



__________________


Grand Slam Champion

Status: Offline
Posts: 4058
Date:

St Georges Lane was more than adequate for conference north, the City supporters trust concerns over surviving a ground share which prompted an independent planing application for a 3k stadium as part of a sports hub look like coming reality.

The Dulwich situation is a result of an assumption that the council would allow a new stadium to be built on their land, not merely replacement of an Astro but the building of a stadium around it using some adjacent metropolitan open land. They also made the assumption that they would be able maximise their profit by building less than 35% affordable housing which is the proviso Southwark Council have for the granting of planning position.



__________________


Tennis legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 13793
Date:

I've been to St George's Lane, maybe 10-15 yrs ago and the terracing was crumbling. It was an old stadium will poor access. The club may have been able to play conf north, but no higher and it needed a lot of money spending on it.

__________________


Tennis legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 13793
Date:

brendan wrote:
paulisi wrote:

There are many non league football clubs struggling at present.
Dulwich is a slightly odd political debate, where the developers wanted to sell the land and build a new stadium only for the council to turn down their site and then they started a vendetta.
Chester, Hartlepool and Dagenham are all in a financial mess. Macclesfield didn't pay their staff in January despite being top of the league.
Worcester have been in a mess for sometime. The old ground wasn't fit for purpose, it was sold, but the owners never got a new ground and the money has run out.
There is plenty of money in conference north at the moment. Salford, Southport and Harrogate all have big money behind them and there are plenty of teams with big support which allows big wages - Stockport, FC United, Darlington, Kiddy etc


 As a resident of Southport with only a passing interest in the club I wasn't aware they were that well off, though Haig Avenue is a decent looking stadium. Is that just by the standards of the Conference North or lower leagues in general?


 Brendan - I'm from Southport originally and have followed the Port for 30+ years and was secretary of the supporters trust for 8yrs.

The previous chairman was forced out at the end of last season and a new board has formed. Phil Hodgkinson has now joined the board and is about to pump significant sums into the club.

The ground plans will be unveiled at the Floral Hall on Tuesday, but they are talking of spending £2m on the developments. 

Spread the word, the club will be going places sooner rather than later.



__________________


Intermediate Club Player

Status: Offline
Posts: 330
Date:

paulisi wrote:
brendan wrote:
paulisi wrote:

There are many non league football clubs struggling at present.
Dulwich is a slightly odd political debate, where the developers wanted to sell the land and build a new stadium only for the council to turn down their site and then they started a vendetta.
Chester, Hartlepool and Dagenham are all in a financial mess. Macclesfield didn't pay their staff in January despite being top of the league.
Worcester have been in a mess for sometime. The old ground wasn't fit for purpose, it was sold, but the owners never got a new ground and the money has run out.
There is plenty of money in conference north at the moment. Salford, Southport and Harrogate all have big money behind them and there are plenty of teams with big support which allows big wages - Stockport, FC United, Darlington, Kiddy etc


 As a resident of Southport with only a passing interest in the club I wasn't aware they were that well off, though Haig Avenue is a decent looking stadium. Is that just by the standards of the Conference North or lower leagues in general?


 Brendan - I'm from Southport originally and have followed the Port for 30+ years and was secretary of the supporters trust for 8yrs.

The previous chairman was forced out at the end of last season and a new board has formed. Phil Hodgkinson has now joined the board and is about to pump significant sums into the club.

The ground plans will be unveiled at the Floral Hall on Tuesday, but they are talking of spending £2m on the developments. 

Spread the word, the club will be going places sooner rather than later.


 good to know, I'll keep an eye out



__________________


Grand Slam Champion

Status: Offline
Posts: 4058
Date:

paulisi wrote:

I've been to St George's Lane, maybe 10-15 yrs ago and the terracing was crumbling. It was an old stadium will poor access. The club may have been able to play conf north, but no higher and it needed a lot of money spending on it.


As a realist Worcester never ever threatened to rise out of non league football although both Hereford and Kiddy smaller local towns have at some point made the football league.

We did win the southern league back in the 70s but that predated the Alliance league and in its first season we came third, as soon as Nobby Clarke was sacked we got relegated and been Conference North ever since. Generally you never had to bother looking at the top or bottom because we were always slap bang in the middle! The canal end has always been the restriction as far as ascending out of the conference, but in conference North and gates of about 1000 the Lane was for for purpose and now there is nothing. 

Very exciting to here that Southport are now ship shape and going places. It is great to see a sleeping giant of non league get back on its feet. Although I enjoy it most when it is driven predominantly by a supporters trust and the growth is organic sustainable and resilient. Although I am yet to make a trip I have great admiration for FC United of Manchester. I am however a little unnerved by the rise of Salford which is a bit of a distraction and it is almost as if by the involvement of Uniteds class of 92 stars they have deliberately stolen some of FC United of Manchesters non league thunder and impeded the intrinsic growth of the fan based club. Perhaps thats not the case and the Nevilles, Scholes and Giggs are just living the non league dream?? 



__________________


Tennis legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 13793
Date:

The novelty effect of FC United has gone, although they still get 2500 for a home match. Ironically their principles of playing at 3pm on a Saturday have been thrown by the police who will not let both sides play at the same time due to locality.
Salford have undoubtedly picked up some of there support given that they have moved from Bury to east central Manchester.



-- Edited by paulisi on Saturday 17th of March 2018 08:48:36 PM

__________________


Top national player

Status: Offline
Posts: 3459
Date:

paulisi wrote:

The novelty effect of FC United has gone, although they still get 2500 for a home match. Ironically their principles of playing at 3pm on a Saturday have been thrown by the police who will not let both sides play at the same time due to locality.
Salford have undoubtedly picked up some of there support given that they have moved from Bury to east central Manchester.



-- Edited by paulisi on Saturday 17th of March 2018 08:48:36 PM


 Just picking up on this, My local team Harrogate Town are in quite a battle with Salford in National League North this season. Harrogate beat FC United 6-0 week before last and in a free scoring season have pulled right up on Salford who were 10 points or more ahead. 

Current top 3 is shown below. With 7/8 games left, Harrogate are a point behind, but with a game in hand. Brackley (who are in the FA Trophy final, a fine achievement) are 8 points back from Harrogate but with 2 games in hand. All 3 play today (all at home) and twice more over Easter so should see where things lie in a week). 

My son is home from Uni. so we are going to watch Harrogate tonight playing Spennymoor. Should win but you never know. Last time I saw the Town was Xmas period when we got around 1200 fans. It may be less tonight with it being mid week but maybe around 800-900. It will be massive for Harrogate to get promoted to the National League and be one off the Football league. Come on Town!    

 

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsPromotion, qualification or relegation
1Salford City3522766541+2473Promotion to the National League
2Harrogate Town3422668440+4472Qualification for the National League North play-off semi-finals
3Brackley Town32181045728+2964


__________________
JonH


Grand Slam Champion

Status: Offline
Posts: 4058
Date:

Good luck I would rather see Harrogate go up than Salford

__________________


Futures qualifying

Status: Offline
Posts: 1798
Date:

Blimey Jon.....you jinxed that one!

__________________

 



Top national player

Status: Offline
Posts: 3459
Date:

I did! Player sent off at end of first half, 0-0 at that stage, downhill from there. Harrogate deserved to lose though and then Salford and Brackley won by 3. Terrible!

__________________
JonH


Top national player

Status: Offline
Posts: 3459
Date:

Ps got 1001 attendance. I must have been the 1!

__________________
JonH


Tennis legend

Status: Offline
Posts: 13793
Date:

Harrogate have thrown a lot of money at winning this and have laid down a plastic pitch, which no doubt helps them.
Fond memories of winning the league at Harrogate, but feel Salford should buy the league.
Attendance in this league are far superior to the southern equivalent.



-- Edited by paulisi on Wednesday 28th of March 2018 05:43:09 PM

__________________
1 2 314  >  Last»  | Page of 14  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.

Tweet this page Post to Digg Post to Del.icio.us


Create your own FREE Forum
Report Abuse
Powered by ActiveBoard