Sitting Tenants

It was one of those facts that everyone knew. The Drill Field, home of Northwich Victoria, was the oldest continually used football stadium in the world. Indeed, the Vics even managed a couple of years in the Football League there in the 1890s. However, they decided to leave for a new stadium, The Victoria Stadium, in 2005, and it’s probably fair to say that this is decision that many people at the club have come to regret. The Victoria Stadium has hung like a millstone around the club’s neck over the last three and a half years, and this week the crisis turned into a farce with possibly the most petulant behaviour ever recorded by someone involved in the management of a club. In all honesty, the warning signs were there from the beginning. It was pretty obvious from the outset that chairman Mike Connett couldn’t really give much of a damn about the club, frequently describing Victoria Stadium as his “pension fund”, having swiftly moved ownership of it from the club itself to a holding company, Beaconnett, which he owned. Northwich effectively became tenants at their own stadium, with a twenty-five year long lease to play there. There was, however, onw small problem with this. Connett couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay the bills. He offloaded the club itself to local businessman Jim Rushe, although he did, of course, keep...

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