New Stand or relegation
THE COUNCIL has proposed �450,000 of public money be handed over to Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club, to help save the team from League relegation. The funding would form part of a �1.36 million sum needed to build a new stand at the stadium, in Victo
THE COUNCIL has proposed �450,000 of public money be handed over to Dagenham and Redbridge Football Club, to help save the team from League relegation.
The funding would form part of a �1.36 million sum needed to build a new stand at the stadium, in Victoria Road, Dagenham, which would see their covered seating capacity increase from 1,000 to 2,000.
Without the new stand the club would face relegation, as Football League rules state that any club in League Two must have a minimum of 2,000 covered seats.
The club, who were promoted in 2007, have been told the work must be finished by May 2010.
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At the Executive meeting last night (February 17) members decided whether or not to give the proposal the green light.
If approved the council will award the club a capital grant of �250,000 and a loan of �200,000.
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Last week Cllr Terry Justice told the POST he was shocked to hear the Football League was demanding the upgrade at a time when the borough is feeling the effects of the credit crunch.
"This couldn't come at more ill conceived time. The borough is struggling enough as it is, without having to spend an extra half a million pounds. However, I do support the council's proposal, because it would be terrible if the football club was forced to relegate.
"They've worked really hard to get to the position they are in and deserve to stay there."
He added: "I just hope this wont lead to the authority raising council tax or putting people out of jobs."
Opposition leader Cllr Robert Bailey slammed the council's proposal. He told the POST: ""Council tax payers shouldn't be paying for this kind of thing when we are in the middle of a recession."
Managing director of Dagenham and Redbridge, Steve Thompson, agreed it wasn't the perfect time to ask for public money, but said the club had no choice.
"When we were promoted two years ago we were told we had three years to increase the seating capacity, which means the work has to start this summer - there's no way around it.
"But I think in the long run it's a good move for the club. At the level we are at now people expect more from us, and I think the improvements, which will include new toilets facilities, will be welcomed by supporters."
Read next weeks POST to see if the proposal was given the go-ahead.