At the end of the 2014/15 season the roof over the Duke Street end of the ground that is owned by Victory Park Holdings Ltd was condemned as dangerous and required removal. The only alternative to this was to close that entire end of the ground. In the absence of any financial or indeed practical support for this from the stadium owners the board of Chorley Football Club Ltd set aside funds from its own budget, recruited a number of volunteers and secured the use of engineering equipment to remove the condemned structure themselves. Naturally this has led to questions on the (uncovered) terraces about when the roof would be replaced. This, of course poses quite a conundrum to the board of Chorley Football Club. The ground is not theirs. It is not the football clubs. There is not even any security of tenure beyond the current football season to play there. So, why on earth would they take approximately £35k out of a tight football budget to stick a roof on a property that belongs to another company, a property for which there is no guarantee of the club playing at in the long term? The same question can similarly be asked of the numerous other projects at the famous old ground that need addressing that include, but are not limited to:
If the club do nothing they run the risk of losing fans in the winter months as they also run the risk of losing fans who are not accustomed or willing to watch their football in a ground with such decrepit facilities.
Naturally, the next questions to be asked are:
There are a limited number of people who are able to answer these questions, none of whom play any part in the day to day running of Chorley Football Club. What we do know is, having read this article we can see that Victory Park now has a charge against it as part of the £360m worth of assets Northern Trust Ltd put up to secure the £238m loan. This is clear from the most recent entry in the Land Registry and the Statement of Charge obtained from Companies House. Furthermore the Statement of Charge also contains this on page 14, section 6 paragraph 6.2:
“No Chargor shall (nor shall any charger agree to) enter into a single transaction or a series of transactions (whether related or not or whether voluntary or involuntary) to sell, lease, transfer or otherwise dispose of the Charged Assets except as permitted by the Facilities Agreement”
Now, more than ever, everyone with a genuine interest in Chorley FC needs to unite behind one cause. First to secure the ownership of Chorley Football club to ensure it is protected for generations to come (irrespective of where the club is to play its games) and once that is achieved a security of tenure must be sought for the ground which Chorley FC have called home for seventy years.
UPDATE 8th October 2015 - An anonymous benefactor has now come forward with an offer to pay £35,000 to install a new roof over the Duke Street end. However, the benefactor has stipulated that he/ she wishes to have some written assurances about the long term future of Chorley FC playing at Victory Park. I understand that this proposition is to be put to Victory Park Holdings in the coming days. Everybody with an interest in football in Chorley awaits the response to this proposition with baited breath. It will certainly give some indication as to the feelings Victory Park Holdings/ Northern Trust have towards our beloved football club.