FOOTBALL fans will decide tomorrow, Thursday, whether to start their own club in the town.
Followers 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.
“It’s time to take the future destiny of our club into our hands,” said Paul Stockton.
“The current one, which the owner has made clear that he owns outright, is not the true Northwich Victoria.”
Mr Stockton is the chairman of Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust, the 200-strong membership of which will be asked for its verdict at a Special General Meeting (SGM).
The trust’s board members says they are fully behind a petition presented last month by a fan, Tony Rogers, with enough signatures to force a poll.
“The vast majority of loyal Vics fans are appalled by the way the club has been run by successive regimes,” added Mr Stockton.
“As a result, the once-respected name of Northwich Victoria has been dragged through the mud, leaving many supporters ashamed of their club.”
He has support from an unlikely source too, Vics’ owner Jim Rushe.
In an interview with the Guardian on Monday, he said he was in favour of a vote.
“I’m all for it,” he said.
“I don’t want the grind of all the speculation any more. Of course I’d prefer it if the fan base wasn’t split, but it is.
“I hope the trust forms its own club, because only then will they find out how hard it is to keep one going.
“It takes many hours in a week, and I’m not sure they’ve taken that into consideration, it’s an enormous undertaking.
“You can’t run a football team from behind a desk or on a computer. Sometimes you have to make a decision on the spot, without the help of a committee.
“Let’s see who steps up; who will be the one to make those difficult choices?”
The trust’s board said in May that it would not seek to start their own team while the existing one continued to play matches.
Its members have since changed their mind.
“We have tried to engage with the owner to persuade him that the only way for the club to survive was for the supporters to have a say,” said Mr Stockton.
“For reasons that only he can explain, he refused to even consider it.
“We feel that we’ve been left with no other option.
“We know it won’t be easy, but we’ve got a great business plan and will be able to tap into the considerable knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm of our own fans.”
The trust SGM is scheduled to take place at Lostock Sports and Social Club, on Works Lane, from 7pm.