Hucknall Town’s main stand could be sold or demolished

UNDER THREAT -- the main stand at Hucknall Town's Watnall Road ground.
UNDER THREAT -- the main stand at Hucknall Town's Watnall Road ground.
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A crunch meeting today (Saturday) could trigger the demolition or sale of the main stand at Hucknall Town’s Watnall Road ground.

But some supporters are desperate to save the stand, which they see as the last symbol of Town’s glory days.

“This would be the final death-knell for the club,” an upset woman told the Dispatch this week.

“No-one seems to care any more. There should be a campaign to revive some interest before it is gone.”

The fully covered stand, which runs the length of the pitch opposite the dugouts, was built during the late Robert Spray’s tenure as chairman in the early 1990s.

Its maximum capacity is 860, including 270 seats. And it helped to house big crowds during The Yellows’ magnificent rise through the non-league ranks.

However, its deterioration has coincided with the club’s fall from grace in recent years. It costs more than £3,000 per year to maintain, and it has been closed for most of this season after failing to obtain a renewed safety-certificate from Notts County Council.

Now, with finances stretched and crowds struggling to get above 100, Town are seriously considering getting rid of it. The stand could even be sold to raise much-needed money towards wiping out their well-documented debts, which still hover around the £20,000 mark.

Therefore, all fans and club officials are invited to a meeting at the Talk Of The Town social club today at 5.10 pm after the home match against Pinxton. The Yellows’ chief executive, Liz Morley, says she is prepared to listen to all views before a decision is taken.

“You can only sell the family jewels once,” warns one supporter on Town’s Fans’ Forum website. But many others, including terrace stalwart Derek Harlow, take a more pragmatic view.

“I understand the thinking of those who want to save it,” Harlow said this week. “But if getting rid of it helps to pay the club’s tax bill, then I don’t think it’s an issue.

“Unless a decent financial backer is found, I can’t see us playing much higher than we are in the years to come.

“But if we are successful in the future, we could build a new stand, perhaps with the help of an FA grant.

“At the end of the day, the stand is not being used. And it can’t be used until we pay for the work that the council want us to do. Supporters have still got the Doff Portland terraced stand behind the goal, where they can shelter if it rains.”

It is not known how much the stand might fetch. But at least two clubs, including Stamford, have shown an interest in buying it.

Meanwhile council inspectors continue to monitor the stand to ensure it remains closed to the public.

Said a spokesman: “We have a duty to issue certificates to covered stands that hold more than 500 people at all sports grounds across the county.

“We appreciate the difficult financial position the club is in, and we know how hard they are working to resolve matters.

“But the safety of the public is our priority. The stand will remain closed to spectators until we are satisfied it is safe to use.”