Northwich Victoria update

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Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:10 am

VICS FANS LOOK AT SETTING UP NEW CLUB
From The Northwich Guardian

Fans of Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division club Northwich
Victoria say they will launch a new club in the town if enough people
promise to back their proposal.

The Vics’ Supporters’ Trust plans to talk for the first time on Thursday
about its vision for a new version of Vics run, and owned, by followers of
the club. “It’s time for Northwich fans to take on full responsibility,”
said trust chairman Paul Stockton. “That’s why we’re proposing to create a
new club owned not by one individual, but collectively and operated in a
transparent and sustainable way.”

The trust will present its idea to supporters at an open meeting on
Thursday at Lostock Social Club from 7.45pm. Fans can then say what they
think. Stockton added: “We believe the outcome [of the meeting] will have
a major influence on the continued existence and future direction of the
club.” Trust members will be asked to approve changes to the group’s rules
to give it greater flexibility to offer a community share scheme to raise
money.

Vics League rivals FC United of Manchester have done something similar to
collect cash to help pay for a new stadium. “It’s possible to set up a
club that can provide a positive image of the town with a stable financial
base and support from local businesses,” added Stockton. “Of course we
acknowledge that what we are proposing may have a detrimental effect on
the trust’s relationship with the club’s current owner. He said the trust
board had made up its mind after Vics’ owner Jim Rushe told supporters at
a meeting last month that he may not have enough money to keep running the
club next season.

Rushe’s refusal to accept offers of help from fans, or the trust, had
swayed opinion too according to Stockton. He said: “We haven’t given up
trying to establish a working relationship with him. But, unlike before,
we’ll no longer pursue it. If he comes to us, then we remain open to
talks.”

The trust board confirmed to the Northwich Guardian that it would consider
buying the current club if it was put up for sale, although an offer would
depend upon the state of its finances. “We’d need to carry out due
diligence then report the findings to our members before asking them what
they would wish for us to do next,” said Stockton.

Meanwhile, Rushe has reaffirmed his commitment to keeping alive the club,
which remains homeless, in its current form. He said: “Northwich Victoria
is not dead, and I’m very much focused on keeping it that way. I expect
the club to survive. This group of players is the best the club has had
for a long time and I plan to keep it together for the rest of this season
and into next. While I do that, work will continue to find a place for
them to play that is as near to Northwich as possible. Longer-term, I’d
like to be in a position to build a new ground elsewhere.”

Vics have an agreement in principle to host opponents next season more
than thirty miles away from their former home, the Victoria Stadium, at
Skelmersdale United. The First Division North club’s ground was inspected
on Tuesday by Northern Premier League officials to check it is up to
standard to host Premier Division matches. Rushe said that, and not what
the trust was up to, was uppermost in his mind. He added: “The supporters’
trust is entitled to do what it wants. They’ve called a meeting this week
to talk about forming their own club, rather than looking at ways this one
can be saved.”

The trust says it will publish a business case to back up its initial
ideas. It plans to ask Thor Specialities (UK) Ltd, a chemicals
manufacturer that bought land in January upon which the Victoria Stadium
is built, to hand over the ground’s assets to fans. Stockton said: “We are
actively seeking a positive answer from Thor because we see that as key to
increasing our credibility with fans and other stakeholders.”

It is now more than a month since Thor managing director David Hewitt
promised to find a solution for the benefit of the town. “It is in
everybody’s interest to work together,” he said after a summit with
Cheshire West and Chester Council, Sport England and Cheshire FA.


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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:25 am

NORTHWICH VICTORIA NOW CONSIGNED TO SLEEPING ON NEIGHBOURS' FLOORS
After selling the Drill Field, their much-loved home for 127 years, it has
been downhill all the way for the now almost destitute Vics, by David
Conn, from The Guardian

From mid-Cheshire, home to historic football clubs and chemical-industry
giants, comes a tale of heartbreak and wandering, with just a glimmer of
far-off redemption. For 127 years the evocatively named Northwich Victoria
owned, played at and were justly famous for one of the world's oldest
football grounds, the fabled Drill Field, yet now Vics, of all clubs, find
themselves homeless.

The club have been evicted by a neighbouring chemical company, Thor,
bringing a cruel full-stop to a decade of calamity. In 2002, previous Vics
directors sold their greatest, defining asset, the Drill Field, for
housing, and for ambition to build a new stadium on an industrial estate.
Had the world been different the Drill Field would have been protected,
for Northwich and future football generations, but the Conference, itself
pumped up with professional ambitions, was insisting all its member clubs
have 6000 ground capacities, able to be enlarged to 10,000.

Near-tragically, as it turned out, the Conference reduced that rule to a
more reasonable 4000-capacity requirement just after Vics made their
decision, so it could have been saved, but the directors decided to plough
on anyway.

Formed in 1874, founder members of the Football League Second Division in
1892 when Billy Meredith, later of Manchester City and United, turned out
for them, senior non-League competitors throughout the 20th century,
Northwich Victoria sold the Drill Field to Bryant Homes, which dug it up
and demolished it for 102 new houses.

The old board began to build the Victoria Stadium on the Wincham business
park at the edge of town, with the hope that the bar and restaurant which
they planned would make them money to climb the football ladder.
Northwich, the town, club and fans, always seemed a non-League stalwart,
not an out-of-town bar-and-restaurant sort of place, and the move was
blighted from the start.

In early 2004 the money from selling the Drill Field proved not to be
enough to complete the new stadium, and the club collapsed into
administration. A Manchester nightclub owner, Mike Connett, bought the
Vics and the new ground from the administrator, and oversaw its
completion, with the bar and restaurant.

For a time it seemed as if Northwich's directors' vision of a better
future could be realised at Victoria Stadium; in their first season, 2006-
07, the team won promotion to the Conference Premier and reached an FA Cup
Third-Round tie at Sunderland's Stadium of Light. But the financial
hangover hit the following October and with the club at risk of falling
into administration again, Connett kept the ground, and sold the club to a
Manchester go-cart-track owner and property investor, Jim Rushe.

Rushe, still Vics' owner now, sank GBP325,000 in to pay wages and running
costs, as did his then partner, Nick Bone, but it was insufficient to bail
out the club and by May 2009 Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs had issued
a winding-up petition for GBP433,902 unpaid taxes. Rushe took the club
into administration again, and bought it back himself. "It was my dream to
own a football club with a workable model," Rushe explains. "I knew what I
was doing, and I still believe it is workable."

Connett, too, was having difficulties. In October 2008 Deloitte was
appointed as receiver of the stadium by Clydesdale Bank, which had lent
money to Connett, and the bank repossessed Vics' new ground. January 2009
was one of the grimmest periods in Northwich Victoria's long history, as
they were forced to wander for the first time since they arrived at the
Drill Field in 1875. Ultimately they returned to play their games at
Victoria Stadium, but only on a short-term licence from the receiver,
which was looking to sell it.

Rushe formed a new company and tried to borrow the money to buy the ground
but due to the credit crunch, he says, no bank would lend to a venture
whose anchor tenant was a non-League football club. The Conference insists
that clubs emerging from administration pay all their debts and in 2010,
despite another storming FA Cup run, in which Vics beat Charlton Athletic
live on ITV in the First Round, the club were expelled and relegated to
the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

Rushe says he had paid a deposit in another serious effort to buy the
ground, but could not secure the funding again. Finally Thor Specialities
which, the company's managing director David Hewitt says, makes
preservatives for a range of water-based products including flame
retardants and hairspray, bought the ground for GBP598,000.

"We are a sustainable manufacturing company employing 85 people, and we
bought the site to build a distribution centre and develop our own
expanding business, which will create further jobs," Hewitt explains. "We
have not forced the club to move; we bought the site with vacant
possession."

When the receiver served the club with the eviction notice in January,
Daniel Butters of Deloitte said it was repossessing the ground with "some
regret". Owners of a special, atmospheric football home from 1875 until
only ten years ago, Vics are now doing the football club equivalent of
sleeping on neighbours' floors. Mostly they have played their matches at
Nantwich, but also at Macclesfield and Kidsgrove. Rushe has just announced
a ground-sharing agreement for next season with Stafford Rangers, 40 miles
away, which is filling no fans' hearts with glee.

Andrew Simpson, sports editor of the Northwich Guardian, which has
chronicled all of this, roots the difficulties back to the sale of the
Drill Field: "The club and the town lost one of its prime assets,
somewhere everybody seemed to know, which put the town on the map."

On the field in the Northern Premier, the Vics have been doing remarkably
well, under the management of the former Port Vale and Oxford United
striker Martin Foyle and Aston Villa full-back Alan Wright, comfortably in
the play-off places behind the leader, the supporter-owned and revived
Chester FC.

Off it, groundless, Rushe says he will not be able to fund the club with
their current wage bill next season, although he insists the club will
stay in business. "With no stadium and no income streams, it is very hard
to sustain," Rushe says. "I'm trying very hard, on a week-to-week basis."

In all this wreckage, there are chinks of cheer. Hewitt, of Thor, says he
will donate the Dane Bank stand, floodlights and other movables to the
club if they, and a new site, can be proven sustainable. The supporters
trust, working with Supporters Direct, is actively seeking a "community-
owned" future for the club. Sport England has a statutory right to object
in any planning application if a sports site is disappearing with no new
one to replace it, so a solution may need to be found before Thor can
develop.

It is, then, possible to foresee a decent future for a venerable old club,
somewhere over a mountain of toil. Yet it makes you want to bang your head
against the locked gates of Victoria Stadium, and the house fronts on the
old, great, gone Drill Field, at the needlessness of it all.

Community shares option: Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust are exploring
a possible community share issue as a means of raising money to buy a
stake in their stricken club. At an open meeting last week, the trust
referred to similar offers, in which money has been invested by supporters
and the wider community, at supporter-owned clubs FC United of Manchester
and Wrexham.

The community share offer, developed by Supporters Direct, invites
investment from supporters on a mutual and long-term basis primarily to
help a club become sustainable. Investors agree not to seek withdrawal of
their money before a specified number of years, and postpone interest
until the club makes a profit and the directors decide it is prudent. FC
United of Manchester, the club formed in 2005 by Manchester United fans
opposed to the takeover by the Glazer family, recently raised GBP1.6m via
community shares, towards the planned building of a new stadium in Moston,
north Manchester

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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Merthyr Imp on Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:47 pm

On the face of it seems strange they can't play at Witton Albion's ground - I went to a match there once and it's within walking distance of where the Drill Field used to be. But I suppose there must be some sort of reason why.
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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:35 am

Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust members vote to set up new club, there's a link to the statement here - http://www.nvfc.co.uk/

Good luck to them!


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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:27 pm


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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:34 pm

http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=21300

A further development at Northwich Victoria


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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:07 am

Good luck to everyone at Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust;

A New Club For Vics Supporters
From the North West Counties Football League Bulletin

The application from 1874 Northwich FC to join the NWCFL next season is the
latest step in a process undertaken by the Northwich Victoria Supporters
Trust to establish a new club for Vics supporters in the town. As the club
is not currently playing in a Step 7 League, their application to join our
League has been referred direct to the FA for approval, with a decision
awaited in the coming months. The Trust is an independent supporters' group
which has been in existence for about eight years, and had been discussing
the possibility of setting up a new club for some time. However, in October
a member of the trust collected enough signatures to get a vote on the issue
at a Special General Meeting, and on 15 November, the members voted
overwhelmingly to form a new club.

Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust Chairman Paul Stockton explained the
background to the events of the past few months. "We made enquiries at the
end of last season regarding what was involved in setting up a new club and
entering the NWCFL, although at that stage we decided to wait before taking
any further action. However, once a member of the trust collected enough
signatures to get a vote on the issue, we arranged a meeting in November and
the members present voted 141 to 4 in favour of forming a newly-formed,
democratic fans-run club for the people of Northwich, able to commence
playing in the 2013/14 season. At the meeting, we were supported by Kevin
Rye of Supporters Direct, who was able to tell us of the challenges that he
and his fellow supporters of AFC Wimbledon faced when their club were
forcibly re-located to Milton Keynes and how they overcame these and created
their own club. Two weeks later, members decided on the club's name 1874
Northwich FC, and by the end of November we had affiliated to the Cheshire
FA. Our name has been accepted, and we changed our rules and constitution
and submitted them to the Cheshire FA and the FA for approval, which has
been received. Since then, we have spoken to representatives from Runcorn
Linnets, and have a good relationship with them. We went over to meet them a
few weeks ago, and had a very useful discussion to help us understand what
we need to do in the next few months to get ready for starting up with a
team next season. We are now in negotiation with three clubs in Mid-Cheshire
regarding sharing a ground for home games, and without naming them I'm sure
many people will be able to guess who they are. At the moment we are looking
for a deal that will last for at least two seasons, with the option for a
third year, and we hope to be able to make an announcement regarding this
matter by late February/early March. We want to start as high up the
non-League ladder as possible, so the grounds we are looking will all
satisfy the criteria for Step 6".

In addition to the work being carried out to form the club, Paul says the
Trust is also keen to hear from anyone who wishes to join the Trust and lend
their support to the new club, and existing members already have a number of
initiatives under way. Updates on the latest developments are being provided
via a weekly newsletter to Trust members, and designs for a new club badge
and playing colours are also being developed. A 200 Club has been started
and will, initially, be the club's major fund raising initiative, and many
fans have already been in touch to offer their services to the club.

While they have a number of hurdles to negotiate yet, Paul believes that
there is a place for a new club in the town of Northwich, and that they can
take inspiration from the lead shown by Runcorn Linnets a few years ago.
"Ideally we would hope to do something like Runcorn Linnets have done", he
said. "We will follow their model closely, and hopefully we will be as
successful as they have in the coming years. Longer term we need to look at
getting back into the town of Northwich with our own facilities. We want to
be a community focussed club, and we are looking to be working with the
Council to help us achieve that".

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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:21 am


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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:50 am

DATES SET FOR NEW CLUB DISCUSSIONS
1874 Northwich FC and Widnes Vikings FC have been invited to meet with the
FA regarding their applications to join our League next season.

The respective meetings will take place at the FA facility at the Football
Centre, St Georges Park, Burton on Trent on the 22 April, and the objective
is to discuss both clubs' applications to enter the non-league football
pyramid system at Step 6 in the North West Counties League Division One.

In addition to FA officials and representatives from both clubs, League
Chairman Dave Tomlinson and Secretary John Deal will also be present at the
meetings. Once completed, the outcome of the meetings will not be known
until after the FA Leagues Committee has met on the 17 May, when the
non-League structure for the 2013/14 season will be finalised.

If the FA grant approval for the clubs' applications to join the National
League System at Step 6, club representatives will then be invited to League
AGM in June, at which point the existing member clubs will vote to decide if
both clubs should be admitted to the NWCFL.

Since their intentions to join our League next season were first reported on
the League website a couple of months ago, both clubs have been working hard
on their development plans, and we publish below updates from both clubs.

1874 Northwich: Since being set up last year, the 1874 Northwich Supporters
Trust have been working hard on all the tasks that need to be undertaken to
get the club up and running, and have made some significant steps forward in
recent months. A club crest has been chosen, interviews are taking place to
appoint a team manager, and a ground-share agreement has been agreed with
Winsford United for the club to play its home games at the Barton Stadium.
They have also arranged their first home fixture - a pre-season friendly
against AFC Rushden & Diamonds at the Barton Stadium on Saturday 13 July
2013, with kick-off scheduled for 3pm. As well as forming an important part
of both clubs' pre-season preparations, this game marks the latest meeting
between clubs who have adopted the increasingly popular model of supporter
ownership, with the current incarnation of the Diamonds being formed in July
2011 whilst 1874 were created as recently as November 2012. AFC Rushden &
Diamonds, playing in their first season of senior football, are currently
pushing for promotion from the ChromaSport and Trophies United Counties
League Division One. In recent weeks, an Operations Sub-Committee have been
working on the match day programme, advertising and promoting 1874
Northwich, the role of the match-day coordinator, and the key match day
tasks, and the first items of club merchandise should be on sale soon.
Members of the Trust have also been actively visiting many clubs around the
NWCFL in recent weeks, and have made contact with many club officials
already as they look for advice and guidance on what is required to compete
in the NWCFL. The club will be represented at the FA meeting by Chairman
Paul Stockton, Treasurer John Coats and board member James Wood - the latter
being the main man responsible for co-ordinating the club's constitution,
rules, business plan and more recently a Ground Share Agreement with
Winsford United. "Nothing can be taken for granted in this situation, but
there is space for four teams in the North West Counties League Division
One, and as I understand it there have only been three applications to join
the League for next season", said Chairman Paul Stockton. "We have a very
determined and organised group of people on the Trust Board, backed by a
vibrant and supportive membership, who have endorsed every decision the
Board has made in recent months. I would therefore like to take this
opportunity to thank publicly the membership for their support and the Trust
Board for all their hard work as we approach this critical phase in our
short history".

Widnes Vikings: The club, who currently compete in the West Cheshire League,
and play their home games at the Stobart Stadium which also hosts home games
for Widnes Vikings Rugby League club, are looking to fill one of the
vacancies available in the NWCFL, but like 1874 Northwich FC they need the
approval of the FA and the League's member clubs to do so. However, club
officials have been working hard to get the necessary structure in place to
meet all the requirements, and Club Secretary Bill Morley believes they are
well on target.

"Regular meetings have taken place over the last few weeks and months with
the club's committee members, who have provided fantastic plans for the
whole club to develop and enhance its already strong reputation and links
within the local community", he said. "With the football club already having
a full junior team setup, steps have been made to fulfil the remaining age
groups so we have all the teams covered, generating a smooth and steady step
for all our players to progress from the Mini Soccer Schools through to the
Vikings FC first team. The addition of an under-21s team will create even
further competition for places in the first team, along with our Scholarship
& Development Teams leading to a good number of high-quality players from
the local area competing for positions within the first team squad. A
newly-created Vikings FC Supporters' Club is ready to launch, and a number
of meetings with existing supporters has created great interest in becoming
members for the coming season ahead. Merchandise items have already been
planned with a fantastic amount of replica shirts already been sold through
the club's new website www.widnesvikingsfc.co.uk and more items are in the
pipeline to be released in the coming months. The club's match-day media
team is expanding, with new additions being planned to enhance the match day
experience at the Stobart Stadium. We are lucky that the club has family
links with a number of Media Students which is proving a great asset, as
they are learning new skills in College/University and they can now put
these skills into practice with the football club. The club's YouTube page
has seen over 55,000 views for its video match highlights, and Facebook &
Twitter followers are increasing on a daily basis which is showing great
signs of progress to match our targets. On the commercial side, all current
sponsors have been renewed for next season, and whatever Division the club
is placed within, we will continue to have the backing from huge nationwide
renowned brands. The club's biggest commercial aspect will be the 'Vikings
FC Business Club' which is due to launch over the summer. This will coincide
with building additional links with local community projects and generate an
increase in new supporters from the local area. The club's committee have
been working tirelessly to create a solid application, backed up by
confirmation from our associated FA, the Liverpool County FA, and we would
also like to thank the West Cheshire League and the Liverpool FA for the
co-operation and support they have given over the past few weeks/months. We
are now pretty much ready to showcase our application come April 22nd at St
Georges Park".




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Re: Northwich Victoria update

Post  Red Flag Martyrs on Thu May 23, 2013 7:38 am


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