07:00 Friday 24 January 2014

Ely City chairman believes development would solve club's financial woes

Written byMARC BEYELER

Ely's City Unwin Ground could make way for a supermarket Ely's City Unwin Ground could make way for a supermarket

Ely City chairman Bob Button believes a possible new development at Downham Road could be the answer to the club’s financial problems.

Button said that Harrier Developments are interested in building a supermarket where both the football and rugby club are currently located. The football club’s land is owned by East Cambs District Council and the development would see both clubs relocated to a new ground as part of the deal.

“They’ve been talking about putting plans into the council to develop the area,” said Button.

“The council own the land we’re on so there would be money coming in for them and we’d be put in a new ground if they found the right area to go to.

“We wouldn’t have any problems with it. We’d have a new pitch with floodlights and clubhouse, and the rugby club would have the same. If it comes off it would solve all our problems.”

The City chairman revealed the club have been struggling to pay players in recent weeks. Plans for the supermarket development have not yet been drawn up and Button stressed the need for greater support from the Ely community to help prevent further hardship.

“Sponsors are hard to come by and we’re a small club so people tend not to look at us as much,” he said.

“The players know the situation. They will be paid but it just might not happen when they expect it.”

City are struggling near the bottom of the Premier Division and Button believes their poor form could be one of the reasons for low attendances this season which have regularly been below 100.

“We’re one of the first clubs to shout for help,” added Button.

“But there are others worse off than us. We’re a long way from having to pack up our bags and go. We’re just letting people know the situation in the hope they will come and support us in whatever way they can.”

City are not in action this weekend but plenty of other Mid-Anglia clubs are.

Haverhill Rovers entertain Thetford with boss Dean Greygoose calling on his team to show more adventure in attack.

“We’ve been saying for a few months we need to be more clinical,” he said.

“But it’s not just the finishing. We need to show more creativity and guile in the final third.”

Mildenhall Town manager Christian Appleford could have some fresh options for their trip to Kirkley & Pakefield.

Craig Nurse is back in contention after recovering from a broken leg and Josh Pope has returned from Australia, but James Paterson remains unavailable.

Matt Robinson is still out with a knee problem.

“We drew 3-3 with them recently and the squad we’ve got available is similar to then, but with a couple more options,” said Appleford.

Godmanchester Rovers travel to Brantham Athletic and CRC are home to Walsham-le-Willows.

In the First Division, Saffron Walden are at home to Ipswich Wanderers.

“We’re on a good run and we want to keep it going,” said joint-manager Colin Wallington.

“They’re near the top and we’re going well so it’s probably our biggest match of the season.”

Haverhill Borough are also in action, away to Team Bury.

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