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Northwich Victoria have hurdles to overcome to secure a switch from Stafford to Flixton
VICS’ hopes of making a pitch in Manchester a temporary home for the next two seasons have suffered a setback.
The club announced on Wednesday that it had asked the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League to consider a switch from Stafford, with whom Northwich have a ground share agreement, to Flixton.
But league bosses, who kicked out the club in April only for their preferred punishment for breaking finance rules to be reduced on appeal, have refused.
“Stafford continues to be the sole designated home ground for all Northwich fixtures next season,” said a spokesman.
“We have nothing to add to previous statements on this matter.”
The Northern Premier League told the Guardian a fortnight ago that its rules on security of tenure were clear; plans had to be in place, and approved, by March 31.
Vics, after a proposal fell through to play more than 30 miles away at Skelmersdale United’s West Lancashire College Stadium, reached an agreement with Rangers in the nick of time.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, the club said: “Logistically it is more convenient to play at Flixton, which is just 16 miles away from the Victoria Stadium.
“Also, it would be commercially better.”
The Guardian has contacted Flixton for a comment, but to date has not had a reply.
The Valley Road-based club announced earlier this year that it was considering a move away from the North West Counties League to a competition with more derbies.
Its final decision may not be made public until that competition’s annual meeting later this month, but the Guardian understands that the club’s plan to resign is unchanged.
“I think we should play in a bigger league that has more teams with a Manchester post code,” said chairman Lenny Woods in March.
An FA spokesman has confirmed that Flixton’s home ground is not fit, at least at the moment, to host Northern Premier League games.
“Valley Road has an F certificate which means teams can play Step 5 [or below] matches there,” he said.
It is not known how much work needs to be done, or how much it would cost, to bring the facilities up to the required standard for a Division One South encounter.
That leaves Northwich, who could not conclude a deal with Cheshire neighbours Warrington, likely to start the new season at Marston Road.
However Stafford chairman Mike Hughes said this week that he fears for Vics’ future if they cannot negotiate an alternative.
“The sensible thing would be to find somewhere closer,” he told the Express and Star.
“The distance for them [to come here] is too far and would put a strain on the club.
“In common sense terms, it’s unworkable.”