Tales From The Deep End: Non-League Football’s Difficult Start To 2012

This year has been a difficult year so far for several of our non-league clubs. Mike Bayly has a round-up of what has been going on at the foot of football’s food chain.  By any measure of austerity, it’s been a fairly turbulent week in the world of non-league football. On Sunday evening, the main stand at Rossendale United’s vacant Dark Lane ground was completely destroyed in what police are treating as a suspected arson attack. The fire was just one in a long line of depressing incidents at the ground over the last couple of years. In June 2011, the programme sellers hut was burnt out following an “arson incident” with other acts of theft and vandalism causing significant damage to the troubled venue. Coupled with accusations that the club was being mismanaged and left to stagnate, the Lancashire side were expelled from the North West Counties League at the end of last season after failing to pay their membership fees. There had been talk of a Phoenix Club – Rossendale FC – reforming in the near future, though whether their intention was to play at the Dark Lane ground which is still owned by Rossendale United’s former chairman Andrew Connolly is unclear. As an epitaph, there was a macabre inevitability about it all. Set against the backdrop of a gloomy windswept housing estate, the club struggled for long periods...

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