Gloucester City: Benefactor pays Cheltenham Town rent debts
BENEFACTORS have been found to pay Gloucester City's outstanding rent to Cheltenham Town.
But the funds – that would see the Robins paid in full for the remainder of this season – come with a caveat that a groundshare agreement must be secured for next year.
The Tigers need to secure a home for next season by the end of the month if they are to retain their Blue Square Bet North status.
And club consultant Colin Peake explained that after a week of protracted negotiations with the football club and local businesses, the outstanding figure owed to the Robins has been secured.
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The money would clear the £17,000 debt owed as well as secure funding for the remainder of the season and hopefully speed through an agreement for next season too.
Peake said: "I have been working on behalf of all sections of the club over the past week to establish what needs doing, when and how.
"I believe I have resolved the initial major issue which is the debt to their landlords Cheltenham Town.
"The debt due was just under £17,000 and I have offered Paul Baker and his board a resolution to that debt plus in addition monies which cover the club to the end of this season.
"There is, however, one vital condition to the payment, Gloucester City must extract from this payment the signing of the groundshare agreement for next season."
Robins chairman Paul Baker welcomed the news that the money would be paid and said that he was hoping to hear from the Robins tenants in the near future to confirm payment.
"We would be delighted if Gloucester City were able to clear their outstanding rent," Baker said.
"It would be fantastic news and we look forward to hearing from them to confirm this."
The debt arose after City went nearly seven weeks without a home game at the turn of the year due to wintry weather and forced postponements due to the Robins televised FA Cup ties.
In the past, when cash has been tight, club owner Eamonn McGurk has plugged any gaps in revenue.
But after spending £1million on the club over 16 years and more than £200,000 on the plans for a new Meadow Park, that well has run dry.
Relieved to have secured the funding that will hopefully see the sharing agreement extended, Peake explained that the club must seek to stand on their own financial feet in the future.
And with vital funding streams for a new stadium at Meadow Park requiring the club to be operating at the highest level it can, Peake said that security in Blue Square Bet North is crucial.
"The club cannot continue to rely on their owner and the valuable Supporters Trust every time there is a shortfall," Peake said.
"The stadium must be his priority for the purpose of longevity and the club itself must try to stand on its own two feet, although under difficult circumstances.
"If the club lose their Conference status then out of the window goes the funding streams which the clubs needs to help build the stadium.
"In my role with the Conference I have been able to engage in meetings and obtained verbal promises of extra funding for the club due to their unusual plight of how they became homeless.
"That is all dependent on any stadium having full planning consent. So the clock ticks away there. Also the Conference would not allow the club to groundshare for longer than five seasons without having some definitive end in sight to their nomadic life."