Boost for ar­son-hit sta­dium as new club looks for home

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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.”

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