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Homeless Salisbury Still Locked Out

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THE city's reinvigorated football club is facing the prospect of missing out on another season after being locked out of the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

The hope that Salisbury FC could begin a fresh campaign when the fixtures kick-off in August, now seems unlikely while the club remains homeless.

The consortium which bought the old club's assets, Salisbury City FC, in December is led by former professional and TV pundit Steve Claridge, chairman David Phillips, Jeremy Harwood, Graeme Mundy and advisor Ian Ridley.

They have been told there is no automatic return for them to the ground and that no decision will be made until the spring.

This could be too late for the new Whites because their failure to strike a deal with the trustees will prevent the FA from accepting their application to join the football pyramid.

The consortium says they will have to re-think their options if they are denied a return to their fortress Ray Mac.

"This is all a bit of a kick in the teeth," said Phillips, whose attempts to set-up meetings with the trustees fell through.

"We are trying to bring football back to the city and had hoped that the trustees would look favourably on us to get the club going again but instead they have dashed our hopes."

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"The solicitors say they are working for the benefit of the trustees and exploring all options following the demise of the Salisbury City club but not to allow us to play at the Ray Mac, even for the short term, makes no sense to us."

If a new lease is granted, the group has been informed that it would be based on a market rent rather than the terms of the lease issued to the defunct club.

And in the midst of parties' emails, Phillips, pictured below with Harwood, was told that a lease would be granted because planning permission on the site is for football use and to change that would require consent from Wiltshire Council.

He added: "We cannot believe the trustees would betray the legacy of Raymond McEnhill, who donated the site for football in Salisbury. Surely they are not trying to find ways around not providing a new stadium? I met Mr McEnhill and I know he wanted a good standard of football for the people of Salisbury and in good quality facilities."

"They have even told us that we cannot go in to the stadium, which is strange seeing as we paid the administrator a reasonable sum for all the club's assets inside the ground, which include floodlights, two stands and an electronic scoreboard."

"We accept that the lease has been forfeited after what happened to the old club, and that the trustees may not have had a good experience of football with the previous club, but we are new people with new attitudes.

We have submitted a basic but sustainable business plan to the trustees several months ago as requested.

"Time is running out as we have to make our detailed application to the FA by the end of March for returning to the football pyramid and obviously the better quality of stadium we are in, the better our chances of going in at a good level.

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