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Northwich Victoria reach 'agreement in principle' to play home matches at Skelmersdale United
NORTHWICH Victoria’s owner has asked a rival more than 30 miles away to host his club’s home matches next season.
Jim Rushe told the Northern Premier League on Sunday that Lancashire outfit Skelmersdale United had offered to share its pitch with homeless Vics from this summer.
He is waiting for league bosses to approve the agreement.
“I know it’s not an ideal solution,” he said.
“Northwich fans are not going to be happy, I concede that, but nor am I at the position the club finds itself in.
“The league set a deadline by which they wanted evidence that we had somewhere to play matches, and this is the best I’ve been able to do.”
He said that other clubs closer to Northwich had been either unable, or unwilling, to help.
However he did not wish to name which ones.
League officials will inspect Skelmersdale’s West Lancashire College Stadium before the end of the month to check it meets the standard required to host Premier Division matches.
Mr Rushe told the Guardian that he would continue to work on alternatives in the meantime.
“I’m exploring other options,” he said.
“Skelmersdale have been sensitive to our situation, and there is flexibility in our initial agreement that allows us to make arrangements with another club if the opportunity comes along.”
Northwich Victoria Supporters Trust, which provides travel for fans to every away match, said it will do the best it can to help supporters who wish to get to Skelmersdale.
“We’ll make sure there’s a way that supporters can watch the games if they’re played there,” said trust chairman Paul Stockton.
“An alternative nearer to Northwich would be better of course, but the club obviously needed to come up with something to satisfy the league’s demands.”
It is not known if Northwich would be able to use Skelmersdale’s ground should the team earn promotion back to the Football Conference on the pitch.
The Guardian asked the Conference to clarify its rules for promoted clubs on Monday, but it has still not responded.
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