Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Non League ground standards and daft red tape

One thing that the trip to Outwell and a few of my recent trips out in East Anglian football have highlighted is how some of the bureacracy in the present economic climate is potentially going to kill a few clubs off.

First of all is the case of Cambridge City who were relegated from the Blue Square South to the Southern League because their ground just wasn't up to scratch. I would however say that it was adequate. Now they are looking for a new ground. I am however a bit cynical about this one, as their present ground really is a nice bir of real estate for someone. However their crowds hardly warrant a bigger ground and the only problem with the present ground is that poor shots often end in neighbouring businesses or property.

Then there is Soham Town Rangers, they have been told that the standing area down one side of the ground can't be used because there is too much space there! So now nobody can stand there. They can't change the situation though as it is adjacent to their training area, so they are stuck with a much reduced capacity.

Wisbech Town are also victims of this. They reached an agreement with Outwell Swifts to play for one season there while they were having a new ground built. They gave Otwell some floodlights and there are a few areas of covered standing areas and a little stand, which is more than adequate for crowds of around the 100 mark. However you have to go through the village hall and there isn't anywhere to realy put a turnstile, so it isn't good enough for the Eastern Counties. Well it is, but only for one year. This could have serious consequences for Wisbech as they are having problems with the sewers at their new ground and it doesn't look like it will be ready for the next season.

In the most extreme of these situations locally Whitton United folded when they knew they wouldn't be able to reach the ground standards in time.

Surely now more than ever is the time for common sense.

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