SPORT TALK: Why leaving Sir Halley would be best for Tulips

End of the road? Spalding United may be on the verge of leaving the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field
End of the road? Spalding United may be on the verge of leaving the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field
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SO it seems Spalding United are gearing up for life away from the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

Those of you that read Tuesday’s Lincolnshire Free Press will have discovered that plans are afoot for the Tulips to move to a purpose-built facility on the outskirts of Town.

It must be noted that Spalding are not the driving force behind the potential move, which would be part of a town centre regeneration project.

But this is perhaps the most exciting story I can remember the Tulips being embroiled in.

Now, I know many locals are very fond of the club’s current base – a place they’ve called home for 90 years. I also know there’s plenty of grey area with regard to the Halley Stewart covenant.

But casting that aside, this is hugely encouraging from a footballing point of view. Anybody that made the trip to The Walks last Saturday – the fantastic home of UCL Premier Division rivals King’s Lynn – will have enjoyed a taste of what a non-league club should look like.

Granted, the Linnets have traditionally played at a higher standard, but Spalding isn’t that much smaller as a town.

Let’s be honest, the Halley Stewart is an archaic place. It’s an old, decaying ground with a terrible playing surface. If it were a horse, you’d take it behind the stable and put it out of its misery.

Although they’ve always struggled when playing at a higher level, Spalding’s committee – to their great credit – continue to harbour ambitions of climbing further up the non-league ladder. I hope they had a good look at The Walks, because a smaller version of that is exactly what’s required here.

In the short term, everything is pointing to the club being turfed out of their rented ground at the end of the season – and you don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to realise such a development won’t be ready for the 2012/13 season.

Although they deny it, I have it on very good authority that Spalding’s committee have already spoken to Bourne Town about a potential ground-share next season (although the Wakes’ Abbey Lawn home isn’t currently deemed up to scratch for step five standard).

So far, the Tulips have been tight-lipped on the move, which is a real shame, if not a surprise. After all, this is a club that denied any managerial appointment was imminent, 24 hours before handing Pat Rayment the job – something the press weren’t even notified about.

Hopefully they’ll work with us on this one, nothing but good can come from it.