Club in search for new home

A FOOTBALL team face a race against time to find a new ground after their hopes have been dashed of extending their temporary tenure.

Baldock Town Letchworth FC had an agreement with Hertfordshire FA enabling them to play at the County Ground, in Letchworth GC, for three years. However the time allotted will expire at the end of the season and the club will be out. The club have until May next year, when they have their annual meeting, to find a ground and register it with their league.

Lee Rusbridge, the club’s secretary and centre midfield for their reserves, said:

“The agreement was for a three-year stint because the plan has always been for the club to play in Baldock.

“We always knew that this was a three-year thing but we had hoped they would extend it before we moved back to Baldock. We only have a year to find somewhere to play and we have talked to the council about finding somewhere to play in Baldock.

“If we can’t find anywhere else to play that’s up to the standard we are used to we will have to go back to playing park football or fold.

“It doesn’t pay to be derogatory about the Hertfordshire FA because at the end of the day that’s the way things are. It’s disappointing from our point of view because we were trying to grow as a club and this will have to be put on hold.”

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The club’s first team play in the Hertfordshire Senior County league and are aiming for promotion into the Spartan South Midlands League.

Baldock Town Letchworth FC finished third in the league last year, one place away from promotion.

Only the club’s first team play at the County Ground. However, Hertfordshire FA claim that this will interfere with coaching and cup finals.

Gary Norman, chairman of the Hertfordshire FA, said: “It’s an agreement where they would get notice for the end of the season if either party wished to cancel the agreement. That notice was issued.

“The Hertfordshire FA wish to promote coaching across the county for everyone.

“By having a club permanently based here it was proving detrimental to the coaching here.

“If the club were promoted to the Spartan South Midlands League they would struggle to find dates as the league insists on full availability and it would mean that the children’s cup finals held at the County Ground would be disrupted.

“They came close to promotion last year but I understand they would like to come closer. If they had finished in the top two last year they would have moved up the ladder and would not be playing at the County Ground this season.”

The club’s senior team was formed out of a successful youth side and came into being in 2003. They originally played at the Knights Templar Sports Centre in Baldock, under the name Baldock Town and before that Baldock FC, but moved to the County Ground in 2008.

Once they had moved to the ground, for the 08-09 season, the club incorporated Letchworth into their name.

The chairman of local rivals Letchworth Garden City Eagles commiserates with the club, despite their competitive history.

Tony Eden said: “I feel very sorry for them because they have had the same history with grounds as us. They have had a similar deal.

“I wish Baldock every success in getting a ground, I feel for them. They’re our local rivals but I don’t want them in a mess. I’m sure they will find a solution to their problems.”