Boost for arson-hit stadium as new club looks for home
THE Stormy Corner football stadium could soon be used for competitive football again after plans were announced for a new Skelmersdale team.
Former Skelmersdale United chairman Frank Hughes is behind plans to launch Skelmersdale AFC and says the club hopes to join the North West Counties League from 2019.
He now says talks are at an advanced stage about moving into the stadium, which is used as a training ground by Southport FC.
The stadium, at Selby Place, has been frequently attacked by vandals and was badly affected by a fire this month but owners Chequer Properties say they will carry out work to bring it back to standard.
United played their home fixtures at Stormy Corner until part way through the 2017-18 season before an acrimonious departure when the club had to share a ground with Prescot Cables to avoid dropping from the league.
They continue to play home matches at Cables’ Valerie Park stadium this season but announced plans to move back to the town to play fixtures at JMO Sports Park.
Mr Hughes said: “A lot of people are determined to see semi-professional football return to Skelmersdale, but the public will want to be reassured that the club is viable, responsibly managed and sustainable.
“We have put together a team of people that we believe can deliver such an ambitious project – people with vast experience within the non-league football arena.
“It’s not been the easiest of tasks, because whilst we’ve got vast experience of running a football club, this is the first time any of us have attempted to build one from scratch.
“And there is still a long way to go before we become a valid entity.
“Fortunately the feedback is good and negotiations have moved on considerably since we first discussed the idea back in August 2018.
“We are fully affiliated with the Liverpool County FA, we have met with the NWCFL to put our case forward and the National FA is also aware of our intentions.”
Southport’s lease on the stadium expires in May and the club are in talks with Sefton Council over plans to build a stadium.
Chequer says it will carry out repairs at the stadium and work is due to begin in the new year.
A spokesman for Chequer Properties Ltd said: “We are looking at ways of renovating facilities to achieve low maintenance, and utilise part of the footprint for other investment projects.
“We have an ambitious club that approached us with the view to negotiating a lease contract, in order for this to become operational, we’re obliged to carry out site work bringing the ground back up to the standard required for the FA and NWCFL.”