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Battle for Meadowbank

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May 31 2007



By Daniel Jones



THE owners of Dorking FC have issued a stark warning to Mole Valley District Council: we won't go without a fight.


In a statement released to the Advertiser at the end of last week council officials revealed that the club's lease at Meadowbank would not be renewed, citing unpaid insurance premiums and the poor condition of the ground as reasons for the decision.


And the council have warned that they will now ask the present owners to vacate the site.


It read: "The Council has a responsibility to maintain its property portfolio on behalf of its residents in a professional manner, ensuring the insurance premiums are paid.


"In addition it is very important that our properties are well maintained particularly when the public have access to the site and when it is so centrally located.


"Long-running attempts to get the current occupier to resolve the problems with the tenancy,namely money owed and disrepair of the property, have proved unsuccessful.


"As a result the Council has decided that the current operating company of Dorking Football Club will be issued with a notice to bring the current tenancy to an end and a new operator will be sought."


However, the club's owners, father and son Jack and Ray Collins, insist that they are well within their rights to stay where they are.


The Collins' family have been in occupation at the council owned site, on Mill Lane, Dorking, since the 1980s. In a strongly worded statement, the club's board expressed their surprise at the council's decision to go public at this time.


"Dorking Football Club Limited is surprised and disappointed at the contents and tone of the MVDC press release and we will be making a full response in due course," read the statement.


"However at this point in time we would comment that MVDC's statement is ill-timed as we have requested and been granted a meeting with the Chief Executive to express our own significant concerns surrounding our dealings with MVDC and to present the club's case for a long term lease renewal.


"Dorking Football Club Limited is a protected tenant under the landlord and tenant legislation and is entitled to apply for a new lease at the site under S24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 and as such the company is advised by its lawyers that it can and should defend its position in court if necessary."


The statement went on to refute the claims from the council that insurance premiums are still owed and that they have made 'long-running' attempts to repair the property.


They claim that the list of required repairs were only received this month and that all monies owed have now been settled.


It states: "The company has the financial means to deal with repairs when agreed, and indeed has access to FA and other funding and has repeatedly requested a new long lease from MVDC to enable it to apply for such additional funding.


"The club has the backing of the FA and indeed has a meeting with the FA at their Soho headquarters in June, but we find this backing and information is being ignored by MVDC.


"We are equally amazed at the statement in the release that MVDC are seeking a new operator at the site as Dorking Football Club Limited is the rightful owner of the lease, history and name of Dorking FC [2014] a position it will defend in law as this not simply transferable at the whim of MVDC.


"The club has been on it's ground at Meadowbank, since the club converted a 'brown field' site for football in the early 1950s and can trace it's history back to 1880.


"Further details will be released in due course,but we find the council's behaviour heavy handed, inconsistent and ill befitting when compared to the club's voluntary status.


"Dorking Football Club Limited is a solvent, well run football club which is highly regarded in the football community. The club will not be bullied and urge MVDC to reconsider its position."


The latest in the drama follows the dismissal of the Chicks' management team Steve and Andy Lunn last week.


The pair were released from their positions after seemingly siding with prospective buyer Aaron Meadows.


Meadows is interested in taking control of the club from the Collins family and is already in discussions with the council regarding the tenancy at the ground.


However,Ray Collins has made it perfectly clear to Meadows that the club is not up for sale.


Collins is adamant that his family will be in control next season and has also confirmed that the first team will be playing in the Combined Counties League.


The Chicks have been accepted into the Combined Counties Division One, and will take their place in the Premier Division as long as the issue over tenancy is resolved by the league's AGM on June 21.


Whichever division the side ends up in, it will have a very different look to last season's line-up.


The Lunn brothers have the full support of the playing staff and none of the team will return under a new manager.


The club are advertising for a new first team boss and have already had several non-league names apply.


Meanwhile, the Lunn brothers are looking at the possibility of entering their own side into the Combined Counties League,under the name Dorking Town.


"We have made an application to the league," confirmed Andy Lunn. "We would call ourselves Dorking Town and we are currently looking at the possibility of a ground share to resolve the problem of where we would play."


There is a meeting at 8pm tonight (Thursday) in the Old House at Home Public House, Dorking, for anyone who has an interest in the future of senior football in the town.


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Entered a poll on the FA website and won 1. Spoke to the other half before I did and asked her if she fancied going. Tells me that it is not her sort of thing. I win the ticket and have had ear ache ever since that she isnt going !

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Contrary to popular belief, I haven't registered with the new 'alternative' DFC site.


Someone told me today to have a peep at it, and I find Surreyad's comments very interesting, and probably not so far from the truth.


One thing should be remembered regarding M.V.D.C., even after the last local election the Council remained in Conservative control, and even if the Council was NOC, then the Tories would still hold power with the Ashtead Independent Councillors, (Independent but Tory by any other name).


Where there's Tories and land, theres development prospects. And where there's development prospects, theres always money for the back pocket !


Don't forget the giant c0ck erection on the Deepdene roundabout !


I can hear the Tory wallets being stretched to accomodate more money even as I type !!

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Originally Posted By: Krooner
Entered a poll on the FA website and won 1. Spoke to the other half before I did and asked her if she fancied going. Tells me that it is not her sort of thing. I win the ticket and have had ear ache ever since that she isnt going !

Hey Kroons

I did the same thing and got two tickets for the game. Whereabouts in the ground are you gonna be?

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U'll find him by the fast food stalls all round the stadium !!!!


Krooner holds the record of being the only person to visit all the food stalls !!!!! :cheesburger: cheeseburger

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