We're being victimised - Bobbins
Paddy Davitt King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins insists the club will fight demotion from the Conference set-up over ground grading issues.
King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins insists the club will fight demotion from the Conference set-up over ground grading issues.
Bobbins revealed yesterday the Linnets face expulsion from Blue Square North after failing to begin work on a �250,000 re-building project at their council-owned Walks Stadium.
Bobbins confirmed the council had provided assurances the expensive upgrade would be complete in time for next season's kick off but this had been rejected by Conference top brass.
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"We're being victimised," said Bobbins. "We haven't really had time to catch our breath yet but this is an absolute disgrace. We've been told we will be demoted and thrown out of the league over ground grading issues although the borough council who own the ground have given Conference officials their unconditional assurance that the required modifications will be completed by the start of the season.
"Anyone who has been to our ground knows it is one of the best in the league and yet they feel fit to request work that would cost in the region of �250,000 to upgrade certain aspects of the ground. We've worked ever so hard to achieve Conference standard over these past five years but to have this taken away from us off the pitch through no fault of our own is a disgrace."
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A Conference spokesman declined to comment last night but Bobbins revealed the ultimatum came after the club missed an initial league deadline to begin work on the project.
"Unfortunately the league has a laid down procedure but we demonstrated to them that was not possible," he said. "However, to counter that they received a guarantee that even though the work would not start by April 1 the council would complete it in time for the start of next season. We spent getting on for �350,000 to rebuild the Main Stand in 2007 and then we spent another �55,000 on ground refurbishments for the FA Cup tie against Oldham before that. Now they want us to spend another �250,000 on the ground."
Bobbins admits demotion will have a serious short term impact on the club which saw major financial backer Michael Chinn pull out earlier this season.
"We are treating this extremely seriously as it will impinge on the finances," he said. "Clearly there are companies who would consider looking at us when we are in the Conference who would be far less inclined to do so if we end up in the Unibond - aside from the issue of attendances which are considerably smaller than at our current level. We've had this in the past when we've been used as a makeweight to suit the powers-that-be. It just feels like we're a pawn that can be placed wherever they want us."
Read Mark Hearle's exclusive behind-the-scenes club column today only on edp24.co.uk/kingslynn