United’s three month battle
Chairman looking to find 300k to keep club afloat EXCLUSIVE
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