Just a few months ago, the future of Basingstoke Town was looking grim amid a row over the sale of its stadium.
Their much loved Camrose stadium is currently left abandoned and soon to be demolished with former club chairman Rafi Razzak attempting to sell it for development.
— Graeme Hickey (@spandau_wirral) October 4, 2019
The ground, which was once sponsored by Sky Sports during the 2014-15 season, was the Southern League Division One South side’s home for over 70 years.
Volunteers have claimed Mr Razzak is trying to “rack and ruin” the club, something he’s denied.
Now the club are playing their home matches at Winchester City’s ground for the 2019/20 season, which costs £500 a game to use.
Basingstoke’s only revenue coming through is ticket sales and revealed how supporters have raised £65,000 through loans to keep the club up and running.
Mr Razzak had put in excess of £2m in the club but in 2016 revealed he wanted to end his financial support and instead use the redevelopment of the stadium site to recover his loans.
They want to play matches at Winklebury Football Complex, where Hampshire FA are based, but director of football Terry Brown said Razzak should provide money “up front” to help bring the facilities there up to Football Association standards.
“We need a home. We have a wonderful opportunity – this club could grow into a healthier community-based club,” said Mr Brown.
“I want to a make sure Basingstoke has a football club and it survives.”
Razzak said he was “really upset the facts have been distorted”.
“It is ridiculous for them to expect me to put in more money than I have. I’ve promised to hand the club over debt-free and provide £250,000 as long as they are viable.
“That means I’m writing off all my investment – I think that’s a very generous offer from me.”
He said he was waiting on planning consents on the Camrose before releasing funds to the club.
They have also entered Buildbase’s “Transfer Deal” which gives four non-league clubs £25,000 each of building materials. You can vote for them by clicking HERE.
THE CLUB’S RENOVATION PLANS:
– Covered terracing to accommodate 400 spectators
– Increasing the existing stand seating capacity from 66 to 100
– Building turnstiles and extending the current changing rooms
– To offer the clubhouse to the community as a central hub for coffee mornings and also a creche
Ian McConville, procurement director at Buildbase said: “Non-league football clubs mean so much to the communities around them, but they are often in dire need of help.
“So far, we’ve given away building materials worth up to £300,000 and it’s fantastic to see so many of the projects we’ve supported get underway.”
The club with the most votes will get with automatic entry to the final.
After checking out photos of the Camrose stadium looking abandoned, fans took to give their thoughts and memories on the place – see those tweets on the next page.