Grays and council still upbeat on possibility of new stadium

THE POSSIBILITY of Grays Athletic moving back into the borough and securing a future at Blackshots took a step closer last night.

In answering a question posed by Blackshots councillor, Joy Redsell, portfolio holder, cllr Lynn Worrall informed the meeting of the full council that further discussions between the council and Grays Athletic has taken place.

Cllr Worrall said: “A meeting took place on November 25th between the leader of the council and the chairman and chief executive of Grays Athletic.

“Grays Athletic appear to be keen to be part of a complete framework within the Blackshots area.

Cllr Redsell requested that the ward councillors be informed as the councillors and residents are: “Very worried about Blackshots.”

YT understands that an area of land has been identified and that there is every opportunity that the club could be up and running in the area for the 2013-14 season.

But a vital part of the future will be developing a relationship with other sports providers in Blackshots (Thurrock Rugby Club and Thurrock Harriers).

It would also appear that the council under leader, cllr John Kent, (who is also a member of the Grays Athletic Supporters Trust) is laying down a marker/message of intent, that they are doing all they can to facilitate a move for the 121-year-old club.

Although the club is under what appears to be a new regime, many council officials have long memories and have been “exasperated” by attempts and negotiations over the decades with Grays Athletic.

In the meantime, Grays Athletic continue to search for a new ground-share for next season.

The club issued a statement this morning (Friday).

Chairman Keith Burns said: “The four other senior clubs in the borough have been invited to express their interest in hosting a ground-share with us for next season; as yet none have indicated that they would be willing to do so.

Without a venue, the club would die at the end of the current ground-share agreement; which expires at the end of the season.

“The Board are appreciative of the support given to us by the supporters, and your knowledge that we will not allow this to happen.

“Grays Athletic has secured a venue, which is outside of the borough, to enable us to continue next season and beyond. I would like to thank the League Chairman Alan Turvey, and Vice-Chairman Nick Robinson for their advice and support in this delicate but critical matter.

Our position is therefore very different to that when we moved out of the Recreation Ground, and without the assistance of Mr Bennett and East Thurrock United we would not still be playing senior football.

“What we have secured is a contingency plan to ensure the future of the club. A final decision on where we will play be made nearer to the 31st March deadline.”

YT understands that the most likely venue may be in Basildon.

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