Worksop Town boss Mark Shaw welcomes deal to remain at Sandy Lane

Worksop Town manager, Mark Shaw.Worksop Town manager, Mark Shaw.
Worksop Town manager, Mark Shaw.
Mark Shaw has welcomed the agreement in principle which will see Worksop Town play home games at Sandy Lane during the 2016/17 season.

Tigers officials have agreed a new lease for an initial 12-month period with Peter Whitehead, which could be extended by a further two years.

Paperwork needs to be completed and submitted to both the Football Association and the Northern Counties East League before the March 31 deadline.

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Shaw said: “A sense of purpose has been created in where we want to go and what we want to do. I believe Worksop should be playing in Worksop.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t try and play at Sandy Lane. It’s a perfectly good ground and I think it can house near-enough Evo-Stik Premier League football again.

“It’s a no brainer. It means that we can try and make the facility work. If we can’t make the facility work, should we be involved in a football club anyway?

“It’s a chance for us over the next 12 months to generate funds and become self-sufficient football club.

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“I’ve seen enough over the past three years to know that the supporters want their own ground. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone.

“It’s a chance for us all to come together to try and make it work. It’s a great thing that we’ve been able to create this deal.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead. It’s not going to happen all by itself and it’s going to need people who are passionate about the football club to take on roles and responsibilities.

“That’s how we’re going to make it as good as we can get it.”

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And added: “Where else are we going to play? Do people want us to go and groundshare out of Worksop? I don’t want to be manager of a football club away from its home town.

“We’re a big non-league club and we need our own home. I don’t believe we need a new ground. I think Sandy Lane is fine. It’s down to us as a football club to come together.

“This is an opportunity for us to create a viable business for the very long future, to create a home for the generations of Worksop fans and players to use.

“We’ve got to do it. If we don’t do it then what are we going to do? Where are we going to find the money for a ground, let alone a team budget?

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“This is a big thing. I don’t think people realise how big a deal this is. We should be putting our heads together making sure there is a viable business plan to take us forward.”

Worksop had struck a back-up plan to play at Clipstone - which would have been the club’s third spell away from the town.

The club moved out of the town to groundshare with Gainsborough in 1989, before the newly built Sandy Lane became their home in 1992.

But Worksop were kicked out of the ground in 2008 by the leaseholder 1861 Leisure Limited, and had to play their home games out of the town for three seasons, at Hucknall, Ilkeston and Retford.

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Handsworth Parramore owner Peter Whitehead bought the lease for Sandy Lane in 2011 and agreed a groundshare deal with Worksop that saw them return to the town.

“The supporters have been given exactly what they want,” said Shaw. “At a time when we’ve all been moaning and groaning about losing things, this is a chance to get it right.

“There is no Worksop Town future away from Worksop, in my opinion.

“Who wants to go and watch Worksop play at Clipstone - they’re a good up-and-coming club - but Sandy Lane is in walking distance of the town.

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“This is a chance to get the ground back. Supporters are in control at the moment, let’s be pro-active and make it work.

“It’s an old club with a lot of history, it’s one of the great non-league football clubs around, it’s got some fantastic supporters who do a lot of hard work for the club but there needs to be more.”