FOOTBALL: Home is where the heart is

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I read with interest about the special meeting that took place on Wednesday, June 19 at the council chambers to discuss the future of the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field that has been home to Spalding United for the past 90 years.

Having been a volunteer worker and long term supporter of the club I feel it is time to put my stake in the ground on behalf of all the supporters who want the football club to stay at its current location. It would be a crying shame if the football club was forced to move out of town as some clubs that have done this in the past have become isolated and struggle to get the support they deserve.

If it is green open space people want, then there is the Castle Sports Complex that is only a few hundred metres away from the football club.

Also it has been custom and practice over the years for the club to pay rent to the custodians – South Holland District Council for the upkeep of the facilities at the Sir Halley Stewart, which hasn’t been a problem.

If the current site is thrown open to the public it could end up in disaster for all concerned, empty bottles and beer cans come to mind let alone the cost that would be involved in transforming the area into a centre park and having to find a new facility for the football club that would all be another burden on the tax payer.

I feel it is a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, just look at recent proposals concerning the Castle Sports Complex.

The district council was considering moving these facilities out of town at a reported cost of £10million or was it plan B, a total refurbishment of the current site at a fraction of the price?

Also there has been the Winfrey Avenue redevelopment project that has come to a halt because of the current economic climate or is it because the big supermarkets are not spending money at present? This was all linked in to the future of the Sir Halley Stewart that prompted speculation that the football club was looking for another site last year.

For me, home is where the heart is, Spalding United Football Club is in an ideal location for bus and train access.

With the club having one of its best seasons for many years it would be shameful to lose the direction it’s taking.

However I do understand that there are documents that state the field should be held in trust by the council for the benefit of the town, but for sport.

So it will be interesting to see the outcome of the Charity Commission’s investigation.

The partnership between the club, supporters, local business and the council could be so good for the local economy, it’s getting the right balance and the right people to head these initiatives that could be so beneficial for our market town.

The game against Guernsey earlier this year was an example of how a club can put the town on the map, many people came to visit and looked around the town, spending money and commented on how friendly our town was.

Success breeds success, so build on what we have and don’t let the Tulips wilt away in some isolated location.

Rodney Sadd

Carrington Road, Spalding