Thursday 12th August 2004
Good news all round for Margate

MARGATE will kick off the new Nationwide South season on Saturday boosted by good news on and off the pitch, writes Andrew Gidley.

After months of wrangling it seems the club’s Joint Venture Company and Thanet council are closer than ever to agreeing heads of terms, while the team completed their mini pre-season with a 3-0 win at Ashford Town.

A club statement issued following the latest council cabinet meeting said: “The approval of the heads of terms which, once signed, binds all parties to a legal contract, subject to conditions, which the club and its partners are legally obliged to fulfil, before works can commence on site.

“These conditions include detailed planning consent, business plan and the allocation of specific funding for the development. Architects for the scheme were due to be instructed early next week, and a detailed application is due before the council within three weeks.”

It is expected that any planning application is likely to take at least three months, and the proposed programme will be geared so development will start immediately planning consent is confirmed.

On the pitch, former Gravesend man Aaron Barnett scored twice in the win at Homelands, heading in two Adrian Clarke corners. Che Stadhart, who looks like staying at Gate despite interest from Farnborough Town, added the third.

Looking ahead to the new season boss Chris Kinnear said: “I am extremely optimistic. We believed something was going to happen regarding the ground, and I feel we have got a great future to look forward to.

“Getting relegated was a shock. We finished 16th last season and the club was in good shape. A few players left and it takes time to re-organise.”

Kinnear was planning to sign Barnett this week. The former Erith and Belvedere and Gravesend defender scored 14 goals for Ryman League Bishop’s Stortford last season.

Canadian triallist Peter Benvides has also earned a contract with the Gate, while Ian Pulman Greg Oates and Darren Annon have been retained on contract.

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