United’s three month bat­tle

Chair­man look­ing to find 300k to keep club afloat EX­CLU­SIVE

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

TONY O’Driscoll is rack­ing his brain for ways to raise the £300,000 needed to keep Hayes & Yead­ing United afloat.

The chair­man has re­vealed the stag­ger­ing fig­ure must be achieved in the next three months or he will be forced to close the doors on the club.

Hayes & Yead­ing brought an end to their three-year ground­share with Wok­ing this year and are now play­ing their Con­fer­ence South home fix­tures at Maiden­head’s York Road. Build­ing work has stalled on the con­struc­tion of their pro­posed new home in the bor­ough and O’Driscoll set a Fe­bru­ary 2015 time­line for sur­vival dur­ing a fans’ fo­rum last week.

He met with Foot­ball Con­fer­ence of­fi­cials this month to try to find a so­lu­tion to meet the Na­tional Ground Grad­ing Cat­e­gory B stan­dard and get the team into Bea­cons­field Road.

Those dis­cus­sions saw him ar­rive at the £300,000 sum which, de­spite be­ing a tall or­der, is far more re­al­is­tic than the eye-wa­ter­ing £1.2mil­lion pre­vi­ously thought to be needed.

In­stalling tem­po­rary build­ings rather than com­plet­ing all of the in­te­rior rooms and us­ing por­ta­ble toi­lets tem­po­rar­ily have been mooted as a way of meet­ing the grad­ing by the chair­man.

United held ten­ta­tive talks with London Ir­ish last year but the Aviva Premier­ship side de­cided against pur­su­ing a re­lo­ca­tion from Read­ing’s Made­jski Sta­dium.

O’Driscoll sees po­ten­tial for a steady rev­enue stream from a ground­share and is due to meet with an un­named club to­mor­row (Thurs­day) with a fur­ther party in­ter­ested.

He told the Gazette: “We’re look­ing at lots of op­tions at the mo­ment, talk­ing to lots of peo­ple, and they are com­ing up with ideas to be fair. Ev­ery penny that the fans of­fer is great but we need a bit more than just a few quid.

“I’m try­ing to get peo­ple on board to put a few thou­sand in – a few al­ready have and that’s what we’re sur­viv­ing on. I don’t see any other way of do­ing it. If we got to the fi­nal of the FA Trophy even that wouldn’t be enough. It’s dif­fi­cult, mak­ing it work ev­ery week.

“I hon­estly don’t know what the an­swer is. We’ll just keep go­ing as long as we can and try and bring in some more money. What I said to them last week was that although £300,000 is a lot less than £1.2mil­lion, we’ve still got to get that £300,000. It’s not just go­ing to hap­pen overnight, I don’t think, so we’ve got to keep talk­ing to peo­ple and try to get some money.

“The London Ir­ish thing is not go­ing to hap­pen. There was some­thing last year, I hadn’t even taken over, and they were look­ing for their own ground rather than shar­ing with Read­ing. They came down and had a look but I don’t think it was suit­able for them.

“There are two clubs I’m speak­ing to this week. I’ve got one meet­ing on Thurs­day so we’ll see what hap­pens there and then I need to ar­range some­thing with the other club. We’ve got op­tions. There’s al­ways some­thing go­ing on.

“If we could get back there then any money that we made from that would just go back into im­prov­ing the ground.

“Every­body says the stand looks great but it’s a long way from be­ing fin­ished.”

Hayes & Yead­ing romped to a 6-0 FA Trophy win over Hor­sham on Satur­day, to set up a first round trip to the win­ners of St Al­bans and Weald­stone’s re­play on Tues­day night at Grosvenor Vale, after Scott McGleish’s late lev­eller.

O’Driscoll added: “It was nice to be able to en­joy a game. You can’t get too car­ried away with it though.

“Don’t get me wrong, ev­ery lit­tle helps, but it wouldn’t be as grand as it would if we were play­ing at home. I’m still grate­ful for it.”

n OP­TIONS: Tony O’Driscoll says Hayes & Yead­ing United need to raise £300k or they will fold Photo by John-Pa­trick Fletcher

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