Bassetlaw Council leader wants Worksop Town ownership handed to the fans in 2016, but club won’t get more local authority cash

Bassetlaw Council leader Simon Greaves presents a cheque for �15,000 to Worksop Town Supporters Trust, accompanied by manager Mark Shaw, players and supporters
Bassetlaw Council leader Simon Greaves presents a cheque for �15,000 to Worksop Town Supporters Trust, accompanied by manager Mark Shaw, players and supporters
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Bassetlaw Council want to see full control of Worksop Town handed to the club’s supporters in 2016.

But council leader Simon Greaves insist Tigers cannot expect to receive any more funding from the local authority.

Coun Greaves was instrumental in Bassetlaw Council’s support for the club in the wake of backer Jason Clark’s decision to stop bankrolling the operation.

Tigers became fan funded, and have recently filed annual accounts showing a pre-tax profit of £5,445 for their first year as a self sustaining club.

They set up a Team500 membership scheme that helped save the club, and attracted sponsorship from the likes of golf star Lee Westwood.

Despite Clark pulling his funding, the managing director of Proact IT UK has retained his majority shareholding in the football club.

Coun Greaves hopes that Clark will give up his grip on the club’s ownership next year.

He said: “The council remains supportive of Worksop Town’s community programmes and its ambition to become a mass membership fan-owned club.

“Following the fantastic efforts of the fans last season to raise the cash they needed, we all want to see the club progress, whilst at the same time remaining financially sustainable. 

“As such, I welcome moves to place the ownership of the club in the hands of the Tigers fans themselves, away from private ownership, and I hope that progress can be made on this during 2016.”

But the council, who approved a £15,000 grant to Tigers in September last year, will not be able to make a habit of handing out cash to the world’s fourth oldest club.

“As a council we will be as supportive as we can, but let’s not forget that the Government will be reducing its funding to Bassetlaw by almost £3m over the next few years.

“As a council we simply can’t provide any further direct financial support to Worksop Town.”

Worksop Town are currently in negotiations with Sandy Lane leaseholders P&M Leisure over a groundshare agreement for the 2016/17 season.

A number of fans fear that going into exile again would undo all the hard work of the past 18 months, and see attendances plummet.

But it remains a possibility that Tigers will have to ply their trade at a ground outside Worksop.

A club statement said: “The club wishes to reassure supporters that the strong likelihood is that we will play our home games at Sandy Lane for 2016/17 season.

“However, as a precaution, potential ground shares are being pursued.”