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Worksop Town fans campaign for new home

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Worksop Town has a long and proud tradition. The club, who play in the Unibond Premier Division, was formed in 1861 and spent the next 147 years in playing Worksop, aside from a brief three year ground share with Gainsborough Trinity in the early 90s.

100 of these years were played at the club’s Central Avenue ground and included famous cup runs that were only ended by the likes of Chelsea, Spurs, and Burnley.

Sadly Worksop Town now finds itself homeless and stuck with a local council that is not only unwilling to help but seems to be actively preventing the club from finding a new home.

Not that the Tigers’ support is about to take that lying down:

We’re loving the handwritten petition too, it appeals to our retro tastes, if you choose that route mail it back to the FSF via this address and we’ll send it on to the 1861 Tigers Trust.

An open meeting with John Mann MP, who backs the club’s fans, is also going ahead this Friday 15th January at The Crossing (Newcastle Street opposite The Liquorice Gardens) starting at 7pm. All interested parties are welcome.

The club’s problems can be traced to property developer Howard Raymond who, in 2005, took over the club and its assets (via a company named 1861 Leisure Ltd) as it went through a period of financial difficulty. Raymond, incidentally, is the son of famous porn baron Paul Raymond who was behind such literary treasures as Razzle, Men Only, and Mayfair.

A slump in form followed and the club was eventually relegated from the Conference North. In 2008 Raymond decided to kick the club out of their Sandy Lane stadium, still retaining ownership of the club’s assets (i.e. ground) through 1861 Leisure, without ever bothering to explain himself to the club’s support. Since then the club has played its fixtures at Watnall Road, in Hucknall, and Ilkeston Town’s New Manor Ground.

Good news looked to be around the corner though when planning officials at Bassetlaw Council, the club’s local authority, recommended that a planned development on the local Vesuvius site (fans erupted etc.) be given the go ahead. The plans also included other sports facilities, a supermarket, and industrial units.

However, in a very unusual move the council’s planning committee rejected the application leaving Worksop Town reeling. Chairman John Hepworth said he was “appalled” by the decision and blamed it on local party politics as a rift appeared in the planning committee.

The club’s fate now lies in the hands of a planning inspectorate who could overturn the committee’s decision – if enough fans and members of the local community make their voice heard.

Sign their petition and help Worksop Town find a new home.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe