Press Release for Publication from 21 November
‘Club will die without timely funding to get to Winklebury’
Last week Basingstoke Town played its first and potentially, last match at Winklebury . In a hastily arranged friendly Town triumphed 3-2 over higher league rivals Farnborough Town in front of an appreciative crowd. However, in order to play permanently at Winklebury , the Club have been given a deadline of the 31st March 2020 to complete the works needed to guarantee playing there for the 2020/2021 season. In order to do that minimum ground improvements costing an estimated £120,000 will need to be completed to meet the FA / Southern league standards.
Having been forced to move from their previous home, the Camrose, and ground share with Winchester City, Town, now run by its supporters as a Community Club, say that a further ground share for next season – if it could be found – would be uneconomic.
Chairman Terry Brown said ‘ The only hope for survival is Winklebury .But as a new club effectively we don’t have the money to do the necessary ground work by the deadline of 31 March. As the expected funds for Winklebury enhancements are linked to the to the successful planning approval for the Camrose, they just won’t come through in time.’
The club want money now to start a phased approach meeting FA grade D standard sufficient for their current league and to play at Winklebury. Then when full funds were available then the higher grade C standard , equivalent to the Camrose would be implemented
In a bid to get funding now – to enable the works such as new covered stands and changing room alterations , Board Member Kevin White and first team manager Dan Brownlie met with former club owner Rafi Razzak and his development partner Malcolm McPhail to discuss options for upfront funding . Their company Basron -who own the Camrose ground – are seeking planning approval for apartments and a care home . In the light of Sport England objection at the loss of a sports amenity at the Camrose , it is expected that a condition for planning approval would be an obligation for Basron to make like for like improvements at Winklebury .
Kevin White made it clear that such help would be too late and called for an upfront payment. In response, Rafi Razzak declared that ‘he would not let the club die’ but would not commit at the moment to a monetary amount. Kevin White said ‘We shall be pressing Rafi Razzak and Basron further to agree an approach quickly that will secure our future at Winklebury, because we need our Community Club, playing in our community.
The Gazette understands that the Community Club have also been talking to the borough Council about the prospect of a loan , in advance of receipt of ‘planning money ‘to make the Winklebury ground improvements before the deadline . Chairman Terry Brown said ‘It is an absolutely mad situation that everybody says they want the club as a community asset to survive but we have no commitment at this stage to make it happen for want of a relatively modest sum. We shall be stepping up our campaign and hope for positive news prior to our AGM on 27 November . ‘
Note : The Basingstoke Town Community Club AGM is at the Apollo Hotel 7pm for 7.30 pm start. New or renewal members can sign up for membership on the night £10) , provided it is done by 7.15pm