Wealdstone’s stadium plea to Barnet chairman

PUBLISHED: 11:03 15 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:03 15 July 2013

Barnet stand

Barnet stand

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Wealdstone have accused Barnet chairman Tony Kleanthous of “breathtaking cheek” in his response to their efforts to discuss a groundshare between the two clubs.

Barnet will play at The Hive, on the site of the Prince Edward Playing Fields in Canons Park, next season after they moved out of Underhill at the end of the last campaign.

Wealdstone want to exercise a clause written into the lease at The Hive which will allow them to share the ground on reasonable commercial terms.

However, the Ryman League side say that Kleanthous has ignored their efforts to make contact and discuss a groundshare – accusations which the Bees’ chairman last week dismissed.

Kleanthous said Wealdstone should “come and talk” – but Stones director Quentin Fox insisted Barnet have so far refused to discuss the terms of a proposed groundshare.

“For the chairman to ask us to talk to them is breathtaking cheek. We have come to talk and have been frustrated by his stalling tactics,” he said.

“Mr Kleanthous is being disingenuous. He has indeed never said we can’t play at Prince Edward Playing Fields, but he refuses to engage with us over the terms on which we can – it amounts to the same thing.”

The Stones director also demanded clarity over running costs, insisting that, with The Hive designated for Barnet’s purposes only, Wealdstone cannot be expected to share costs equally.

He added: “Our motives are straightforward: to establish on what terms we are to be permitted to play at PEPF and to negotiate over those terms. Tony Kleanthous is denying us that opportunity.

“The building is almost up and he must have a very good idea of what the costs are, but we are not being told. Without that knowledge, we can’t say whether we can afford it.

“The chairman appears – but has never made it clear – to want us to pay half the match-day costs.

“Harrow Council’s pledge that whoever won the tender to develop and operate the site should accommodate Wealdstone FC at PEPF carried with it an implication that Wealdstone’s use of the site must be on affordable terms that permit the club a sustainable future.

“To be clear, we are not asking Mr Kleanthous to subsidise the costs of running Wealdstone Football Club, but we are certainly asking for a fair deal in terms of the costs of playing at PEPF based on the size and level in senior football of our club.”

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