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Tonight sees the AGM where Vics fans will be fully updated on what is happening over the proposed ground move and, most importantly, on how we fund the new ground. it promises to be a lively meeting although the outcomes are probably foregone conclusions unless something very unexpected happens.
A taste of what is to come was to be had at the meeting at Witton’s club on Tuesday and thanks to Andy Higginson who has quickly summarised the events below:-
Approximately 60 people attended, with few Vics fans there. The atmosphere was convivial and relaxed.
Mike Worthington spoke at length in a forthright manner, before he took questions.
The background of debts was depicted. MW`s own main objective was to clear the Club`s debts and hand back full control to the fans. He quoted John Stitch`s advice to make the paying off of the brewery loan an absolute priority. Witton`s bank loan(s) were of less concern.
He then turned to the concept of maximising assets and NVFC`s hiring of the stadium fitted in to the overall business plan, which saw Lbion getting into the Unibond Premier Lge. No figures were given- just that the deal certainly benefitted Witton and its independence from its creditors.
MW called upon supporters to assist with Vics` sejour.
The hiring of Wincham Park would be a normal arrangement, legally, for 2 hours pre-KO and 3 hours after the match. MW would not be drawn on what might happen at the end of next season.
The Conference inspectors had visited the previous day-
by the 1st April- 1 new turnstyle will be put into the "top left" corner the cinder track will have to be tarmac-ed the dug-outs will have to be re-vamped/ extended to give cover to 5 subs/ side.
An extra 6 weeks would be given for the floodlights to be up-graded.
Cheshire Trading Standards will increase ground capacity from 2,040 to 4,000 when the various measures above have been implemented.
It would not be until May that the Conference Committee would give a final all-clear.
New car parking will be provided, although fans were telling me after the meeting that other spaces are set to disappear.
An opportunity for questions followed. No serious objections were raised although, unsurprisingly, no real enthusiasm was voiced either.
MW was typically pragmatic when questioned about perimeter fence advertising- If Vics got existing gaps filled, they could benefit financially, and Witton would take a cut too. Similarly, club officials allayed fans` misconceptions about being forced to play on Fridays or Sundays. Witton would retain 1st choice of cup dates if both clubs were drawn at home.
MW suggested the last ever game at the Drill Field or the 1st ever in the ground-sharing era might be between Vics nd Albion. He emphasised that the ground-sharing was in Witton`s interests, but repeatedly reminded the audience of the benefits to Vics (eg being able to stay in the Northwich area).
The basic upshot of this is that WAFC appear to be planning to do their utmost to accommodate us for one season. There was no mention of any resistance to such a move.
On the assumption that the move does go ahead Vics are hoping to use Winsfords ground for training and to play their reserve matches on. Groundsman Malcolm Hewitt has been advising on how to improve the present pitch and on how to help the pitch cope with more games in a season.
With all the speculation and focus on the ground issue one could be forgiven for forgetting that Vics have their biggest game of the season on Saturday when they host Telford in the FA Trophy with a quarter final place at stake. Possibly in the line up will be loan signing John Grant, a 20yr old from Crewe. John scored on his debut at Hayes last week and looked a useful player having started a few games in the first division for Crewe. His place may depend on how Neil Illman’s broken toe is. Also doubtful is Mark Devlin from the gash to his received the previous week against Dover. Gary Talbot is back after suspension but Mark Barnard starts his and will be missing. Had Vics been able to play Doncaster this midweek he would have been clear to play. Denny Ingram has signed a contract to keep him at the Drill Field (or wherever!) and is widely quoted within the club as “never having his football so much”.
Ex-Vics player Peter Holdcroft has moved from Kidsgrove to Prescot.
Vics youngsters reached the semi-final of the Sentinel Youth Cup by beating Shamblers 3-0. They travel to Stone Dominoes this Sunday in another quarter final, this time the Staffs County Youth League Cup.
Last Friday I listened to most of the “phone-in” on GMR about non-league football. It was very good and Vics were discussed over several issues. Remember, the non-league slot is on every Friday, usually between 8.0 and 9.0 pm, it’s always worth a listen.
No winner on the Yankee this week but 5 locals won £80 each for trebles.
Before the AGM Ros and I are meeting commercial manager Brian Edge to try to firm up the arrangements for the DV “do” at the end of the season. More next week. Can I remind anyone who is thinking of coming to let me know by the weekend, so we can get a rough idea of numbers. It doesn’t commit you to anything, nor is it your last chance., it just helps us to sort it. We have about 30 interested so far.
Match report out by about 7.15pm on Saturday.