Alvechurch FC has been playing football in the non league pyramid for over 100 years and the last few seasons has seen a meteoric rise through the leagues to their current position of 4th in the Southern League Premier Central, with a great chance of progressing to the National League. All this from a team operating from a village in Worcestershire with a population of under 5,000 people.
To make the club sustainable and to give a home or Hub for the 45 teams associated with the club, Alvechurch has taken on a 25 year lease, from Birmingham City Council, to operate the Hayes playing fields. The aim of doing this is that the Hayes can be developed into a Sporting Hub to run their education programmes from, give a home to their teams and to create a new Stadium in which Alvechurch can progress in football.
As part of this process, the club called a meeting, at Lye Meadow, so all stakeholders and residents of Alvechurch can be brought up to date with the plans and ask any questions.
Press Release Starts.
On, Thursday 18th April, an open meeting was held at Lye Meadow, the home of Alvechurch FC, where Chairman Richard Thorndike made two presentations regarding the club current position and the way forward.
“We are a village club and have the chance to go to Step 2 in the pyramid and play the likes of Kidderminster Harriers, Chester City, Stockport County and many more huge footballing non league Giants!” Stated Richard Thorndike, “We are punching well above our weight and this is all due to the managers and the constant work of the Clubs board and volunteers!”
Mr. Thorndike, who has been Chairman for the last 9 years stated, “When I first arrived in 2011 our average gate was 78, this year it is approaching 250. Whilst this is great, it means a lot of hard work, by the board, to provide a playing budget and keep the club sustainable.”
Richard then went on to present an outline planning application, made by the landlord, for the development of Lye Meadow. The Chairman stated that the application would only move forward with the support of the club and Mr. Thorndike wouldn’t want to support this before speaking to the people of Alvechurch.
The application was discussed with lively input from the 50 or so people in attendance. Local Councillors and candidates gave their understanding of the planning laws and residents expressed their desires for the site, should the club leave. The presentation made clear that Club could only move from Lye Meadow if a replacement ground was in place as ‘Sport England’ has the power to veto and planning on Sports Grounds.
After the discussions The meeting agreed that it is in the interests of all parties, for the club to work with the landlord, give their approval for the planning application, but keep an active dialogue with the people of Alvechurch so they have a full understanding of the situation.
After a short break the second presentation started which outlined the current position with the Hayes Playing Fields. The strong and robust board structure was explained to the meeting and the new Chairman, Simon Redhead, was presented to the meeting. Simon went on to explain the current plans and the way forward.
“The Hayes Sports Partnership is working with the local FA, the Football Foundation, Birmingham City Council and Bromsgrove District Council to get the Hayes set up with and “Artificial Grass Playing Surface” (AGP) so the current academy teams have a home that can be used all year round.” Mr. Redhead declared, “Because of the location, within the green belt, gave planning issues, there is a shortfall of around £1,500,000 between the available funding and the clubs requirements for a stadium. To this end the Hayes development will now take place in 2 planned phases.”
The meeting was informed that if Lye Meadow was developed then the monies this released would be ploughed back into the Hayes Playing fields and the creation of a hub for Sport in the area and a home for Alvechurch open age and development teams.
The meeting closed after a brief Q & A session with a Club undertaking to work closely with the people of Alvechurch.
Press release sent by Rob McLaren – Alvechurch FC Project co-ordinator.
Updated 19:35 - 2 May 2019 by Stephen Denny
Telephone: 07771 651898