Worcester’s Conservative Parliamentary candidate Robin Walker brought his friend and colleague Nigel Adams, the Minister for Sport to meet with Worcester City FC and discuss exciting new plans that could see the club return home to Worcester in time for next season. He met with Steve Goode, Chairman of Worcester City, David Wood Chairman of the Supporters Trust and Luke Cox, a Director of the club. The Minister encouraged the club to take the option to return home to Worcester by working with the Worcestershire FA on their Claines Lane site and seeking to build back up from a new base in Worcester.
The club has a proud history dating back to 1902 and became nationally famous as giant killers when they beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA cup during the 1950s. Since leaving their old home at St George’s Lane they have been playing at first Kidderminster and then Bromsgrove but the journey to each of these places puts a strain on home fans and it has long been the ambition of the supporters trust to bring the club home to Worcester. In March this year the club voted to change its constitution to become a supporter owned club. In recent weeks the club has been considering two options through which to come back to Worcester – a takeover offer from the management of Sixways and a proposal from Worcester city council which has cross party support for them to come to the Worcestershire FA site at Claines Lane.
Robin promised Steve Goode, the chairman in a previous meeting that as soon as the club found a home in Worcester he would bring the Sports Minister to visit so that the club could discuss with him the various channels for raising funds for new facilities and on Friday he delivered on that promise, the day after an emotional meeting of the club’s AGM held a close vote on the options available to the club. Nigel Adams who is currently serving as Minister for sport, is a keen sportsman and a big supporter of non-league football, he encouraged Worcester city to take the option that would allow them to stay fan owned and to build back up in a new Worcester location. They discussed plans for improved parking and drainage at the site as well as how the club could bid for lottery or Premier League funding streams. Robin also pointed out that a proportion of the Stronger Towns fund, for which Worcester is shortlisted to bid, can be used to support sporting and culture priorities.
Commenting on the meeting, Robin Walker said:
“I am delighted that after six years of exile Worcester City are close to coming home and I was really pleased to be able to keep a longstanding promise to bring the Minister of Sport to meet with the Club. I want to see our historic city club playing in Worcester again and I am really pleased that the new proposal for a site that would be on land owned by the Worcestershire Football Association seems to have cross party support on the City Council. When the club previously got into difficulties over a proposal for a stadium at Nunnery Way, I helped them to escape their obligations to build a stadium that they could no longer afford and I have long wanted them to return to Worcester in a way that will allow them to grow and thrive.”
“I have previously encouraged the rugby club to consider offering them a home but now that Worcester City is fully supporter owned I totally understand the desire of many fans for them to remain independent. If the Claines Lane proposal works out, in my view, it will allow them the best of both worlds. It was great to be able to share the exciting news of this with the Sports Minister and if I am re-elected I am sure he will be hearing from me again. Worcester is a wonderful sporting city and bringing the football club home would make our local sporting offer stronger still. I will do whatever I can to support the club once it returns home and to ensure they have support in accessing funding from Government and other sources.”
Commenting on his visit Nigel Adams, Sports Minister and Candidate for Selby and Ainsty said:
“After too many years away it is wonderful to hear that Worcester City could be on the verge of coming home. I know how important it is to fans to be able to support a club like this at home and I have heard how much supporters want to see City back in the city. The Government wants to see more supporter owned clubs and we will make sure that they get the support they need to develop facilities and grassroots sport. I know Robin has been a great supporter of sports in Worcester throughout his time representing the city and if we are both returned to Parliament, I will work with him to support football in Worcester.”
Steve Goode, Chairman of Worcester City F.C said:
“I’d like to thank Robin for keeping his word by bringing the Sports Minister to see us, it was a very good meeting and we’re really pleased for the support that is now being shown by the council. Since I became chairman of the club only 15 months ago we now have real options of where we can go which is a great achievement by all the directors of the club and of the trust. It feels things are moving in a more positive direction.”