GROUND MOVE FROM THE WELFARE GROUND
17th August 2000 By DOUG THOMSONFrom the Huddersfield Examiner:
Big Emley switch to Wakefield confirmed
Optimistic chairman Peter Matthews today issued a rallying call to supporters as he confirmed Emley will play all this season's UniBond League home matches at Wakefield.
Matthews and his fellow management committee members have struck a ground-share agreement with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Rugby League Club which involves the football club playing rent on a match-to-match basis, and the division of profits on all income taken at Belle Vue.
And UniBond League officials, who last month highlighted 14 major points of concern at Emley's current Welfare Ground, have given the green light to the switch, saying Belle Vue passes on all counts.
Having already played two of last season's League matches and friendlies against Halifax Town and Leeds United at Wakefield, Emley will be back there for their first home UniBond Premier Division match of the campaign against Spennymoor United on Bank Holiday Monday, August 28 (3.00).
And Matthews, who confirmed there would be further talks on a more formal arrangement between Emley and the Wildcats but that there was no question of a merger, said: "Clearly it will be an important day, and we want as many supporters to be present as possible."
Matthews, who confirmed Emley's Reserve team will continue to use the Welfare Ground and that the adjacent social club will continue to operate as normal, added: "I don't think there is any management committee member who given a realistic choice, would want to leave the Welfare Ground.
"But we don't have a realistic choice, because we cannot go forward if we remain.
"This has been a very difficult decision, and it's fair to say we have some reservations.
"The decision is based on a number of factors, one of which is our inability to attract either regular crowds of more than 300 or lucrative sponsorship deals.
"The reasons are many, but Emley's geographical location, poor public transport links and lack of modern facilities could be three of the main ones.
12th July 2000 Huddersfield Examiner Report: By DOUG THOMSON
Emley share plan gets vital backing
EMLEY officials have been given the go-ahead to finalise plans to ground-share with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Belle Vue.
But president Peter Maude says any agreement with the rugby league club will involve first-team football only, and that there is no intention to move either the second team or the prosperous social club from Emley's current Welfare Ground base.
In theory Emley, who will play a plum pre-season friendly against Leeds United at Belle Vue on Thursday August 3, could be installed at Wakefield for the forthcoming UniBond League season, which starts on Saturday August 19.
But because the exact terms of the arrangement have yet to be thrashed out, and because another Emley members' meeting must be called to rubber-stamp any ground-share, officials of the two clubs will have to move faster than last night's stormy three-hour annual meeting, which left the stay-put lobby, led by former player and treasurer Granville Ellam, throwing accusations.
The two crunch moments came at the start and end of an evening in which the acrimonious ground-share debate overshadowed the alarming revelation of a £52,800 loss for the last financial year.
Deletion of the rule which states that the club must be based at the Welfare Ground was passed by 42 votes to 33, while a rival proposal that all Emley senior sides play at the club's current base was defeated by 38 to 22.
A rare annual-meeting appearance by the club's players, who are deemed members under Football Association regulations, undoubtedly swayed the vital votes - and infuriated those who oppose the ground-share plan and current committee, but have so far failed to put forward any candidates of their own.
"The meeting was a total disgrace," said Warwick Jepson.
"The players have never before attended the annual meeting, and on this occasion, it has been totally biased because of their presence.
"Complete disregard has been given to the local members who have brought the club success.
"We feel it's goodbye to all the good work and it seems Emley FC will now be taken over by outsiders."
Maude - who reiterated the club's fears that because of new ground-grading regulations, remaining at the Welfare Ground could result in relegation from the UniBond Premier Division - insisted: "As a management committee, we are trying to steer the club in its best interests rather than those of individuals."
Accountant Robert Cave said that while payments to players fell for the second season in a row (this time by more than £9,000 to £86,545) and the ground maintenance bill dropped from £29,930 to £17,523, the lack of a major transfer or FA Cup run, meaning a drop in gate receipts from £59,381 to £35,112, brought about the overall £52,809 loss.
"It's a situation which clearly cannot be sustained over more than a short period," he warned.
13th June 2000 Huddersfield Examiner Report: By LINZI NICHOLSON
Members keen to stay
SOME members at Emley would rather see their club drop to the Northern Counties East League than leave the village, it has been revealed.
Amid claims it costs £100,000 a season to run the club at UniBond level, former player and club treasurer Granville Ellam is proposing Emley should not leave the village to merge with rugby league's Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
After a two-and-a-half hour extra-ordinary members' meeting last night, Mr Ellam said: "The implication is that if Emley do not move to Wakefield's Belle Vue ground then the UniBond League could relegate us if we couldn't match their ground criteria.
"But I and many other members would rather see that happen, so there remains a football team in Emley for local players, rather than move to Wakefield and destroy an important village amenity."
Emley member Mick Pamment added: "At the moment we are losing £100,000 a year just to finish fifth in a desperately poor league - that's nothing short of financial suicide.
"The club are still living on money received from our FA Cup exploits with West Ham, but that will certainly not last for ever."
Emley, managed by respected Ronnie Glavin and famous for their FA Cup exploits, are considering leaving the village because UniBond regulations mean capacity at the Welfare Ground must be 3,000 within two years. To progress to the Conference, it would need to be 6,000.
Club secretary Richard Poulain said: "The club tries to achieve the best and highest standard of football that it can - that is what any ambitious sports club are all about.
"In an ideal world, that standard of football would be available to us at the Welfare Ground, but to achieve what we want we would have to expand, which we are unable to do at the present site because it would bring inherent problems for the village."
What are the Criteria for getting into the Conference?
This is the 1996 version (thanks to the Barrow AFC List).
I guess the criteria may be more stringent now:
Have a minimum capacity of 3000 with the potential to expand to 6000 (minimum Football League requirement).
Ground to be four sided.
Minimum height of perimeter wall to be 2.4 metres.
Main stand to have minimum of 400 seats and contain directors seating and associated facilities for directors eg boardroom.
Covered accommodation required for minimum 1000 spectators (includes main stand total).
Directors' seating for 24 home and 16 for away directors.
Segregated standing area required for visiting supporters.
Minimum of six turnstiles required.
Press facilities required for six people.
At the time the floodlights had to be 140 lux for Conference and 250 lux for the Football League.
There are also minimum sizes for other things such as dugouts and changing rooms as well as car parking spaces for directors and officials and number of toilets and food outlets.
The club have also to submit bank accounts and bank details to the Conference for inspection. The Conference may, if deemed necessary, also ask for a bond of UKP100,000.
23rd May 2000 Huddersfield Examiner Report: By DOUG THOMSON
Emley look set for Wildcats merger!
EMLEY'S plan to ground-share with rugby league club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats could become a merger.
Both clubs today admitted preliminary amalgamation discussions have been held in the wake of the Huddersfield non-League club's two test-the-water matches at Wakefield's Belle Vue ground.
But Emley chairman Peter Matthews insisted any merger, which would hinge on the UniBond League outfit taking on limited liability status, would not "sell the club short".
Emley are considering leaving the village whose name they have put on the national football map through their FA Cup exploits because the state of their cramped, three-sided Welfare Ground - shared with the local cricket club - means they could not progress any further up the soccer ladder.
Wakefield are keen on an amalgamation because it would open up new sources of finance to further improve a ground which has already undergone a £1m facelift as the club aim to secure their future in Super League.
As well as continuing improvements at Belle Vue and exploring the possibility of building a new stadium, the merged club would aim to set up a new training complex, with the Welfare Ground a possible site.
Ironically, Kirklees Council's refusal to pass plans for a training area adjacent to the ground helped set in motion Emley's blueprint to move in with the Wildcats.
Mr Matthews, who is adamant that the Emley title will be retained, said in a statement: "Our position regarding playing at Wakefield has been strengthened by establishing that should Football Trust and Lottery money be available for stadium development, it would be in both clubs' interests to pursue these lines of enquiry.
"If this proved correct, some form of merger or amalgamation may be an option, but we are at pains to stress that the Emley management committee will not sell the club short in hopes to achieve this.
"If this were to happen, Emley's current position as a members' club would have to be changed to become a limited liability club.
"This subject has already been broached to members, and it is anticipated that an extraordinary general meeting will be called some time prior to the annual meeting (on Monday, June 10) to sanction this move. Club rules mean seven days' notice is required to call such a meeting.
"All clubs have been urged by both the Football Association and the UniBond League that limited company liability is an option which should be seriously looked at in view of liability suits and clubs going bust in the last five years, because it does not expose members to financial losses."
Wildcats chief executive John Pearman said: "Agreement has been reached with Emley, in principle, to make the tentative experiment of the last few weeks into a permanent arrangement.
"The plans are subject to Wakefield Trinity being able to guarantee access to significant sums of grant money to enable further improvement to be made to our facilities."
27th Mar 2000 Huddersfield Examiner Report: By DOUG THOMSON
Club stalwart Jones backs Emley bid for groundshare
21st Jan 2000 Huddersfield Examiner Report: By DOUG THOMSON
Emley Fans to have say over Trinity move
EMLEY are to canvass fans at both the Welfare Ground and in Wakefield over
their possible move to the city.
11th Jan 2000 Yorkshire Post Report: Ian Appleyard and John Ledger
Discussions with Wildcats offer Emley grounds for achieving
reaching Football League
AMBITIOUS Emley are considering a move to nearby Wakefield to realise their dream of playing at Conference and eventually Football League level.
Huddersfield Examiner Report:By DOUG THOMSONFootball club which put village on the map plans to leave
EMLEY football club which hit the national headlines with its FA Cup exploits could quit the village it helped make famous.
The club is considering a bold plan to leave the Huddersfield area and set up home with ambitious rugby league club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Talks are under way between the two parties which mean Emley could join forces with Wakefield - Super League rivals of Huddersfield and Sheffield Giants - to create a new stadium in Ossett.
Emley, which pushed Premier League giants West Ham all the way before going down 2-1 in a memorable FA Cup third-round tie in London two years ago, could move in to Wakefield's current Belle Vue base while a proposed new ground on green-belt land by the M1 is under construction.
Part-timers Emley, members of the Huddersfield and District Football League until 30 years ago, have built themselves into one of the top clubs in the Northern Premier (UniBond) League, just two rungs away from the Football League.
But the state of their cramped, three-sided Welfare Ground home - shared with the local cricket club - means they could not progress any further up the soccer ladder.
And if a tougher Football Association ground grading system comes into force as expected, they could even be banned from playing in the UniBond League.
Lack of funds, difficulties with the deeds and problems gaining planning permission for various projects, most recently the creation of a floodlit training area, have made redevelopment of the Welfare Ground an unrealistic option.
By moving to a thriving and populous area which has no senior football club, Emley, whose average attendance this season is a meagre 350, believe they could also attract larger gates.
"Nothing is concrete, but moving to Wakefield is an option and talks are ongoing," confirmed Emley chairman Peter Matthews.
"As things stand, we will have problems when the FA bring in the new ground grading system.
"Wakefield have exciting plans to move to a new stadium and, in the meantime, I'm sure Belle Vue would easily meet the standard required.
"The other attraction is that at the moment, we are in the shadow of Huddersfield Town, whereas Wakefield has no senior football club."
Go-ahead Trinity, who made bold bids to sign New Zealand's juggernaut rugby union star Jonah Lomu and former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio this winter, are awaiting the outcome of a public inquiry into their stadium plans.
The initial blueprint also involved Wakefield Rugby Union Club and Emley's UniBond League rivals Ossett Town.
The latter have since pulled out of the scheme while the rugby union club, who have few assets, are reported to be considering a merger with neighbours Sandal.