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Football social club ‘killed by recession’ faces final whistle
11:00am Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
Buy this photo » Reserve-team manager Tym Soper outside the clubhouse
A CHIPPING Norton football club could see its social club close due to mounting debts.
Chipping Norton Football Supporters’ Social Club is in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt after being “killed” by the recession.
The club is in negotiations to sell part of its Walterbush Road site to developers to build about eight homes and fund a new clubhouse, but contracts have not yet been signed.
Next week bailiffs will visit the social club to remove items – including chairs, tables and TVs – and sell them at auction unless the debts are paid.
The social club, which dates from the 1950s and has about 300 members, houses showers and changing rooms used by the 44-strong Chipping Norton Football Club and its reserve team. The clubhouse also features a bar room and hall.
Social Club stewardess Kim Clarke said: “We have got debts and debts and debts.
“It was decided about two years ago that the only way out of this was to sell the land for housing and build a smaller clubhouse. But until the contract is signed we are not going to get any money.
“It is catch 22. The clubhouse is sat on the money but we do not have cash to pay the bills. We expected to get the money before we got to this point.”
She added: “Liquidation is probably the only option we have got. We could carry on trading with no furniture and TV, which I do not think will work, or close the doors.”
Mrs Clarke said a decision on what happens next is likely to be made this week.
She said the recession had “killed the club” but said the smoking ban and noise complaints which ended events in its hall also had an impact.
She said the club has now had its gas switched off and has not been able to afford satellite television for this season.
Mrs Clarke would not say how much debt the club was in or how much the site was to be sold for, but said the entire site was worth about £2m.
The social club is run by a committee of 10 people and has about 300 members. The ground is owned by a trust.
Chipping Norton Football Club secretary Andy Watson said: “It would be a major loss if the social club closed.
“But I would expect the teams to carry on. Even if the social club shuts we still might be able to use the changing rooms.
“We could move to Greystones at a push but the quality of pitch is not as good.”
The Greystones pitch is the club’s secondary site and is used by its junior teams.
Reserve-team manager Tym Soper said: “After the amount of years it has been there at the heart of Chipping Norton Football Club, it is sad it is going.
“The club has a good atmosphere to come back to after the match. I do not know what will happen now. I suppose we will just go home after games.”
Mr Soper said the finances of the football club, which plays at the ground for free, were separate from the social club and would not be affected if it went into liquidation.
Social club user Jamie Withers, 39, from Little Compton, said: “It is awful. You have got the history with this club and it is an important part of the sports facilities in Chipping Norton.”
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