Stansfeld complete Eltham Palace takeover bid
STANSFELD have confirmed that they have taken over the running of Southern Counties East Football League First Division side Eltham Palace FC with immediate effect.
Stansfeld’s first team management team of Lloyd Bradley and Steve Smith will be in charge of the side and the playing squad will be made up of Stansfeld first team players, plus new signings. Players from last season’s Eltham Palace squad have also been invited to try out.
Off the field the club will be administered by a newly formed committee. The committee will consist of Stansfeld chairman Ian Rooney, Stansfeld social secretary Paul Johnson, plus Stansfeld secretary Colin Lush’s son George. They will be initially joined by Eltham Palace’s Neil Proctor to help keep some continuity.
In the short term Stansfeld will play as Eltham Palace, but the long term aim will be to incorporate the club into the Stansfeld brand, including changing the name to Stansfeld O&B FC at the earliest opportunity.
A club statement said: “Stansfeld had in fact applied in their own right to join the newly merged League this season, but unfortunately a late application prevented this from happening, even though their application met all of the very strict criteria to play at this level. So when we heard that Eltham Palace were possibly going to fold, it was clear that this was mutually beneficial to both sides.
“One of the problems Eltham Palace had was that they didn’t have a ground, having not taken up their option on renewing their ground share agreement at Glebe FC. Coincidentally Stansfeld signed an agreement to play at Glebe FC for the next three years, after Eltham Palace’s agreement ended, as part of their own ambitious application.
“Stansfeld will continue to have two teams in the Kent County League, with the reserves becoming the new first team, playing in the Premier Division, while the ‘A’ side will become the reserves and play in Division One West.”
Stansfeld Secretary Colin Lush said “We were thrilled to complete the takeover of Eltham Palace and are looking forward to the new season, especially as only a late application prevented us from joining the Southern Counties East Football League in our own right.
“There are obvious complications on both the administrative, as well as playing side, hence the need for a second committee. Players will need to have dual registrations to allow them to move between the various teams and make them eligible to play in both leagues.
“We have also had to have an urgent conversation with all of Stansfeld’s very generous sponsors to explain the situation, as some were not happy at the thought of donating to another club. We have now hopefully reassured them that they would still be sponsoring Stansfeld and that we will be Eltham Palace in name only, until we are able to officially change the name.
“Stansfeld have paid all the fees for the coming season and also paid up all monies owed by the previous administration.
“Starting in a new League at a fantastic new stadium, has really captured the imagination of everybody at Stansfeld and there are some exciting times ahead for the club.
“We look forward to the prospect of possibly playing in the FA Cup and FA Vase, as well as the opportunity of climbing the football league pyramid, which has always been the ambition of myself and the Committee”.
Manager Lloyd Bradley said: “Myself and the players are thrilled at the prospect of being involved in the newly merged Southern Counties East Football League next season. Although we would have much preferred to have achieved this with our own application, this is the next best thing and hopefully it won’t be long before we can resort to our own name.
“My ambition since joining Stansfeld has been to take the club to the next level and this takeover, allied to our ambitious move to Glebe’s ground have helped us achieve this. My thanks must go out to the Stansfeld committee who have backed me all the way and have worked tirelessly towards this aim.”
Bradley added: “But this is only the beginning. We must now prove we can perform at this level and it is vital that we at least consolidate our position this season, although myself and assistant manager Steve Smith will be looking for far more than that from the players. With this in mind we have managed to recruit some exciting new players, all who have had experience of playing at this level or above.
“I am really looking forward to this new challenge and I just can’t wait to get started now.”