Shildon Allay Fears
by Scott Thornberry - 14th May 2012
Shildon Football Club would like to allay the fears of residents and football fans regarding certain comments and inaccuracies about their proposed groundshare with Darlington FC.
The availability of car parking, the facilities at the Dean Street ground and the very inaccurate allegations of drug and alcohol abuse are all issues that the club is addressing.
Secretary Gareth Howe said: “We have a meeting this week with the local police to discuss the car parking concerns that have been raised since we announced the signing of our groundshare agreement with Darlington FC.
“We would like to state that we are working as hard as we can to minimise the potential disruption to residents near the Shildon ground in Dean Street.
“While the streets around the ground are public highways, we recognise that irresponsible and inconsiderate car parking can cause problems for residents, and we will be making every effort to work with the local police and Darlington FC to reduce the inconvenience by directing visitors to Shildon FC to the various car parks in the town.
“We believe that are at least 300 car parking spaces are available in six locations which will be confirmed later.
“We have also noted the comments about bus parking. Provision has been made for buses to park at Elm Road WMC, 400 yards away from the ground, where there is ample room for buses to park during games.
“It is our prime aim to prevent disruption to residents and fans as much as possible, and we are sure that the police will actively support our car parking suggestions.
“It is clear that when Darlington matches will be staged, that fans must give themselves plenty of time to find a suitable and legal parking space that doesn’t cause any inconvenience.
“There is also a public transport system, with regular bus services, and the train station is 15 minutes’ walk away from the football ground. Darlington FC is also considering the provision of buses and trains to bring their fans to matches, and also the introduction of a car sharing scheme.”
Howe says that the two clubs will also be upgrading some of Dean Street’s facilities. “The two clubs intend to add some extra toilet facilities and extra changing facilities for match officials. In due course, we will also be inviting Darlington fans to come along to Dean Street and help with the many jobs that a football club at our level must undertake during each summer.”
The club would also like to correct some misapprehensions that arose from the recent fans’ forum at the Blackwell Grange Hotel.
“It was stated by one gentleman, not from the board of 1883, that “drug addicts and alcoholics congregate at the ground.” This is blatantly untrue and completely inaccurate. The football club has a very good working relationship with the local police, and at no time in recent years have we, as a football club, have had to alert or call the police to address any sort of drug or alcohol abuse issue within the ground of Shildon FC.
“The club is run by a band of unpaid, hard-working people, who work long hours. We have a huge amount of sympathy for Darlington because we had severe financial problems ourselves nine years ago when a previous owner cast himself adrift from us, and there were question marks over the future of the club. We can therefore identify with Darlington’s predicament, and want to help the club as much as possible.
“We see the ground-sharing agreement as beneficial to everyone concerned – the clubs, both sets of fans, and to generate much-needed revenue for the local economy.
“We appreciate the concerns of everyone involved, and we thank them for their patience and understanding.”
Craig McKenna, the project manager of 1883 said: “DFC 1883 Ltd always knew that a groundshare wasn't going to be popular with all the fans and we were aware that whichever option we took would receive some criticism, so some of the feedback isn't a surprise. We have concerns no at all about Shildon being suitable for our needs and we are looking forward to a mutually beneficial relationship over the coming twelve months.”