Tuesday 18th May 2004

Margate's ground-share plans scrapped
by Mark Stokes - www.kentonline.co.uk

SHAREHOLDERS are due to decide Margate Football Club's next move on Thursday, after plans to extend the ground-share at Dover Athletic  for a further twelve months were rejected by the Nationwide Conference.

The club have called an emergency general meeting to allow shareholders the opportunity to debate and vote on four options. They are:

1) Appeal against the decision taken by the Football Conference directors not to allow extended ground-share with Dover in order to retain Conference status.

2) A formal application for a longer ground-share period with Dover Athletic Football Club.

3) Accept demotion to Conference South and ground-share with Dover Athletic or Ashford Town for a further period.

4) Accept demotion to the Conference South and return to Hartsdown Park in a reduced-facility stadium.

The club directors confirmed in a statement that as soon as the club's members indicate which of the options they support, the club will call a public meeting and invite Thanet District Council to attend.

Meanwhile, Margate have been included in the newly-named Conference Premier League, subject to confirmation. However, the formation of the top tier still hinges on several other issue, which need to be finalised before the Conference AGM at the Winter Gardens in Eastbourne on June 5.

Cash-strapped Telford United have only been given a one-year lease on their New Bucks Head ground by the liquidators, and, like Margate, have until May 31 to confirm they can guarantee their fixtures for the forthcoming

And former league club Halifax Town are another Conference side with reported financial problems.

Ex-Margate coach Kevin Hales this week linked up with the England National Games squad for the Four Nations international tournament in Scotland.

But goalkeeper and player-of-the-year Phil Smith missed out on a call-up after making his debut earlier this season.

Send in your news to Stephen McCartney
Email: stephen@mccartney2000.fsnet.co.uk