FOOTBALL fans will decide next month whether to start a new club in the town.

Supporters of Northwich Victoria, a team with close to 140 years of history attached to its name, are to vote on whether to set up their own version of Vics.

The current example continues to play home matches more than 40 miles away, in Stafford.

“It’s a matter of the heart,” said Tony Rogers.

“My concern is whether it’s the right moment, not whether it’s the right thing to do.”

Mr Rogers presented a petition to Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust this week with enough signatures to force a vote on whether fans should start a new club.

The group’s near 200-strong membership will now be asked for its verdict at a Special General Meeting, provisionally scheduled for Thursday, November 15.

“I don’t claim to speak for all fans, not at all,” added Mr Rogers.

“I’ve done this to find out how other supporters feel. If they vote against the proposal, then at least we’ll have done it in a democratic and open way.

“There are names on the petition that feel as strongly as I do, and I’m sure there’s many more out there too.”

Vics’ first team was relegated from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s top tier at the end of last season as punishment for breaking finance rules despite finishing as runners-up.

It is the second time during the tenure of owner Jim Rushe that the club has been expelled from a competition for reasons other than football.

He is currently embroiled in a legal dispute with the league about moving the club’s temporary base to Flixton, in Greater Manchester, where Vics have a lease in place for the two seasons after this one.

It may finish the current campaign there if a legal expert trained to solve sporting conflicts rules that the league was wrong to refuse permission for the switch to happen sooner.

Meanwhile Mr Rushe says he is determined to build a new home in Northwich, although he has told the Guardian he is not ready to make public his plans.

“Receiving the petition is a significant development,” said Paul Stockton, chairman of the supporters trust.

“Tony has collected the number of signatures that he needed in a short space of time, but every member of the trust will be able to have their say should they wish.

“The trust board is united, and will respond to what members decide.”

A group in favour of football fans having a say in how their favourite club is run says it is behind Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust.

Supporters Direct spokesman Kevin Rye said: “People have to ask themselves how long they would put up with a situation like this in any other part of their daily lives.

“For fans to now be calling for a vote on a new club is a reflection of how desperate it has become for them.

“In the end the trust’s members will make a decision, which is as it should be.”