Glapwell FC face uncertain future

THE future of Glapwell Football Club could be in jeopardy unless a dispute over the terms of their ground agreement is resolved with the parish council.

Glapwell Parish Council has had an agreement with the Evo-Stik Division One South side for the club to play at Hall Corner since 2004, but now wants to revoke the licence so the land can be used by the local community.

The agreement with the council was replicated in 2006 and it is claimed by Glapwell FC Limited that the authority granted a 30-year licence on the ground and the football club then decided to create an incorporated entity - Glapwell Football Club Limited (GFC Ltd) in 2007.

The entity was set up to attract capital, cover expenses and help the club finance a more secure lease application to attract grant-aid towards building a multi-sports community development.

But GFC Ltd says negotiations for the lease stalled when the parish council only initially offered a five-year lease, mainly because the authority wanted the stadium to become an open park site.

Glapwell FC continued to play under FA standardised rules as part of the existing licence until the end of the 2009/10 season, when it and Glapwell FC Limited were served notice by Glapwell Parish Council.

The dispute, which will now be settled in the courts, means the club is not currently meeting ground criteria regulations set by the Northern Premier League as well as insurance requirements set by Sportsguard.

As a result, they may not be able to confirm security of tenure by the 31st May deadline.

Speaking on the club’s website, GFC Ltd chairman Dr Colin Hancock said: “Throughout our involvement at Glapwell, we’ve wanted to raise the profile of sport in the locality by developing a successful first team, and embracing a junior group, on the way to a ‘community’ definition.

“The parish council would wish to present the image of cooperation in respect of the Hall Corner lease but we’ve been presented with one deal-breaker after another in the correspondence, following all the meetings that I attended.

“They have deceived us into believing that a substantial lease would be on offer and we had every confidence that the lease would qualify us for grant-aid; we progressed with the building, finished it and then proceeded to get notices to quit.”

Dr Hancock says his plan would have brought together more sports and recreation for the community.

“The second phase would have meant jobs and a business to attract investment as well as providing further local amenity,” he added.

“Sadly, the chance of this coming to fruition against the current negative dialogue is close to nil.”

But parish council chairman Tony Trafford said the council made several attempts to reached an agreement with Glapwell FC Limited, but wanted the ground to be shared with the community.

“We’re dismayed that we’ve never come to an agreement but the difficulty lies in the personnel of Glapwell FC Ltd, they have alienated a lot of people including the parish council,” he said.

“We wanted to negotiate a shorter lease with them and we made two offers, even offering them a 15-year lease period with conditions that it was still used by the community but they never came to us with a business plan, if we had gone along with it we would have been failing in our duty to the community.

“In the end we had to give them a deadline because we want our ground back.”