Round the lower levels Part 1
Posted by John Beech on November 28, 2011
Plenty has been happening once you look down the football pyramid since I last gave a general overview. The continually flashing lights on my radar screen have of course been Plymouth Argyle and Wrexham, although, for entirely different reasons, I have resisted the very strong temptation to blog on these two clubs. In the case of Plymouth, I have been put off by the plethora of non-news that has been churned out over the last few months – it seemed as if 90% of this consisted of Peter Ridsdale purring that one of two takeover attempts was due to completed ‘next wekk’. At Wrexham, in distinct contrast, real news was happening at a staggering rate – I did actually start a posting, but, while, I was writing it, two press releases issued which made my opening paragraph redundant. In any case, my friends over at Twohundredpercent gave (happenings and non-happenings) at both clubs excellent coverage.
A third nebula seems to heading towards my radar screen – the ever-dependable Portsmouth, but with one Henry James Redknapp due in court shortly, I’ll hold back for the moment at least.
It’s not as if the radar screen has been otherwise blank though. In alphabetical order of clubs then:
- Astley Bridge
(I haven’t managed to identify which league the club plays in – any offers?)
The club, which has been around since 1892 (1), is under threat thanks to thieves who stole the club’s pitch mower (2). The club cannot afford the alternative of having the council mow their three pitches at a charge of £1500 for five cuts.
The club has failed to buy back its Dean Court stadium which it was forced to sell and lease back almost six years ago (3). Meanwhile, 50% of the club’s shares have been sold to a 41 year-old Russian petrochemicals trader (4), and chairman Eddie Mitchell purred “His arrival brings security to the club”. Is it just the Pompey fan in me that finds this less than reassuring? I hope so.
Carlisle have formidable issues with the existing Brunton Park stadium, not least the threat of a repeat of the 2005 flooding (5). Just over two years ago the club was losing £1.2m a year and facing gates down to just over 6,000 (6). By March 2010, gates were down to around 5,200 and budget cuts had to be imposed (7).
Now we have the results of a feasibility study (8) and ‘Project Blue Yonder’, which would see the building of a new 12,000-seater stadium (9). Certainly this appears more realistic than Plymouth Argyle’s ill-fated plans for a 40,000+ stadium, but not a great deal more so – Plymouth has a population of just over 250,000 whereas Carlisle’s population is just over the 100,000 mark.
No easy solutions to the club’s dilemma I’m afraid.
- Dawlish Town
I’m a bit thin on information here, but a link (10) said that the club had withdrawn from the Western League Premier Division in July.
The club website (11) is still live, but does not appear to have been updated recently. With doubtless no intended irony, it still has a link to an item headed “Chairman dreams of promotion and new stadium ”
Their Wikipedia entry (12) begins with that damning phrase “Dawlish Town A.F.C. was a football club… ”
A Facebook page (13) implies that the club has disappeared, and a new FC Dawlish Town is being formed.
Can anyone with local knowledge expand on this?
- Harlow Town
A winding-up petition from HMRC was dismissed in court o 14 November because the club had paid its tax bill (15). This followed on entering a CVA in September 2009 (16).
See also postings passim.
- Hucknall Town
After a particularly turbulent period last season (16), the club has new owners (17) who talk of turning into a community club. There is even talk, perhaps just a tad OTT, of the club as a ‘sleeping giant’ (18). All in all, things a lot a rosier nonetheless.
- Kettering Town
Ah, the inimitably enigmatic Imran Ladak! See postings passim.
Having solved the impending problem of the end of their ease, Ladak took the club to Rushden’s Nene Park (19), which everyone hoped would see the start of a new period of stability (for Kettering, at least)
Ladak is now ‘open to offers’ for the club (20), the entire team is transfer listed (21), players are partly unpaid (22), and as a result it has been transfer embargoed (23)
Who can guess what Ladak will do next? This, after all, is the man who brought in Gazza to run the club, sacking him after six games (24).
- Prescot Cables
This Community Interest Club has taken the decision to return to being an amateur club, the financial pressure having built up following the lack of a sponsor (25).
Part 2 will be coming to a screen near you shortly. I’ve now more or less recovered from the failure of my laptop’s CPU and hence its scrapping, so normal service should now be resumed.