Thorney FC are confident they will win their fight to survive, despite a double body-blow at ther natural home in Thorney Park.
The club’s first-team have already been forced to play their Peterborough Premier Division matches at Parson Drove this season because the facilities in Thorney were not deemed up to scratch for top flight football.
And last month the club’s reserve team were kicked out of the village after Peterborough City Council discovered health and safety issues at the venue involving an existing power supply at a toilet next to the dressing rooms.
First-team manager Dougie Dixon is concerned that a failure to return to the village in time for next season would cause the club to fold, but he’s determined not to let it happen.
The Council expect to have completed their necessary work by the end of March. The football club will now apply for funding for the upgrading of the dressing room area from the Football Association and the National Lottery.
Dixon said: “It has been a bit of a nightmare, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Moving the first team out to Parson’s Drove cost me a few players, but several stayed with us on the understanding that we were back in Thorney for the start of next season.
“We want to play in our own village. In fact we have to play in our own village or we will struggle to survive.
“The facilities are excellent at Parson’s Drove, but we also lost a main sponsorship with the Thorney Ex-Serviceman’s club because the players no longer drank there after a game once we moved out of the village.
“But the Council assure us that their work will be completed in March which is good as it’s also a pain that our reserves are seeking out a different home venue every week.
“We are also preparing our funding applications so hopefully we will be back in Thorney for the start of the new season. We can use Parson’s Drove again if our facilities are not quite ready for the start of the season. If we have a definite date when we will be able to return that would give us the desire to carry on.
“We want to carry on as we worked hard to get a team into the Premier Division.”
A city council spokeswoman said: “Historically there has been a toilet block and separate changing facilities at Thorney FC’s home ground. Although the toilet block has been closed for a number of years, it has supplied power to the nearby changing facilities.
“However, on a routine visit from the power supplier it was identified that a leak from the toilet block roof had flooded the meter cupboard. As a result the power supply was immediately turned off.
“As the toilet block has been closed for a number of years and there is no use for it, it makes better sense to create a new power supply as opposed to fixing the roof. We expect this to be completed by the end of March, while appreciating that members of the football club would like to see the works completed as soon as possible.”
History: Thorney have been going for 110 years
Thorney FC was originally formed in 1905, but was in operation in random years between then and World War Two.
They started playing again after the end of the war, but folded in 1959.
The club re-formed in 1968 and played on a famer’s field just outside the village until moving to Thorney Park in 1973.
They have been represented in the village at senior and junior level since then.
Thorney’s first team won the Peterborough League Division One title last season without losing a game. They are currently ninth in the Premier Division
Thorney Reserves currently play in Division Two. They have played their last two home games at Fulbridge Road in Peterborough.
Thorney Park is one of the grounds who will have groundsman cover withdrawn next week as a result of council cuts, but manager Dougie Dixon believes Thorney’s senior sides would cope with those changes.
Dixon said: “We would get by without a groundsman if we were playing in the village.
“We just want to come home.”