Famous old footie club set to lose ground

PUBLISHED: 18:02 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:57 25 August 2010

A FORMER footie star turned television presenter has slammed a council decision to reclaim land used by a popular local club.

A FORMER footie star turned television presenter has slammed a council decision to reclaim land used by a popular local club.

Ian Wright from Woolwich played with Greenwich Borough Football Club (GBFC) which was given notice to leave its home in Eltham Gren Road, Sutcliffe Park, on Monday.

The closure of the semi-professional club, which has since been based at the site since 1928, has shocked past and present members and their families.

Former Match of the Day presenter Ian played with GBFC before being spotted by a talent scout and recruited to Crystal Palace.

He said: "If clubs like GB are forced to close, this will be yet another nail in the coffin of grass roots football.

"We could deny a player the chance of advancement to a league club or even the opportunity to play for England one day."

Greenwich council claims it is kicking the club out because it owes over £145,000 in unpaid rent.

But manager of GBFC, footballer cum actor Tamer Hassan said the council in fact owes the club over £230,000 for never maintaining the pitch in 17 years, as agreed in the lease.

Mr Hassan, 40, said: "The council have been trying to get rid of us since 1991. They want to develop the site, its all purely money.

"This is happening all across the country. I can help afford the legal fees, but most clubs don't have a chance against people like this."

The council plans to sell the land to Berkeley Homes, which will build on it to fit in with the council's Kidbrooke Vision Masterplan.

But the club is urging Greenwich council to relocate or compensate it.

Club employee Lee Howard, 17, of Bridgen Road, Bexley, said: "It will be devastating if we go, some of the kids here feel they have nothing else to do.

"We get boys coming from the estates because they respect the club and know it could take them places."

Eltham Amateur Boxing Club and Eltham Warriors kickboxing club are also based on the site and face closure.

A spokesman for Greenwich council said: "The club has been aware for many years that notice could be served at any time.

"Any relocation assistance would be conditional upon the club clearing its rent arrears."

GBFC plans to defy the council by holding a charity match in memory of Rob Knox, the Sidcup teenager killed on May 24, at 12.30pm on July 20.

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