Football will go on at historic Horden ground, pledges parish council

Welfare Park at Horden lies unused after Horden Colliery Welfare FC were evicted by the parish council.

Welfare Park at Horden lies unused after Horden Colliery Welfare FC were evicted by the parish council.

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Council chiefs who evicted a football club from their home of more than 100 years have promised the game will go on at a historic County Durham ground.

Horden Colliery Welfare FC were forced to leave Welfare Park, where they had played since 1908, after being served with an eviction notice by the parish council last month.

They played their last game there on Saturday, February, 20, when they beat Jarrow FC 3-1 in a Wearside League match.

It attracted their biggest gate in years, with almost 200 fans turning up to show their support for the club in what was feared could be their last game.

Former committee members lost a court case with Horden Parish Council, which owns the ground, and they were served with an eviction notice.

Neither party has disclosed why the court case was held, but a new committee was formed afterwards at Horden CW.

The club will be playing away games until the end of March, but needs to find an alternative venue for its remaining home fixtures.

Today, a statement issued by Horden Parish Council said it is determined to maintain the tradition of playing football on the ground.

It read: "Horden Parish Council, acting as sole trustee of the charitable trust known as Horden Recreation Ground, are determined to maintain and preserve the playing of football on the prestigious football ground situated in the ‘Welfare Park.’

"Vacant possession of the football ground and grandstand was given on Thursday 25th February 2016.

"This was in accordance with the County Court Judgement made on 29th January 2016.

"The trustee confirms that it is determined to support and safeguard the playing of football in Horden.

"It has been approached by several local football teams who are keen to use the extensive ground and facilities.

"Long-term plans for the future use of the football pitch will be decided by the trustee, Horden Parish Council, once all expressions of interest have been duly considered."

Horden CW launched an online petition asking for permission to stay at Welfare Park, and it attracted 1,770 signatures, but they had to vacate the ground by last week.

Club officials were due to meet with representatives of the parish council yesterday, but it is not known whether they have asked to be allowed to return.

Secretary Graeme Wetherell previously said: “Everyone on the new committee is from Horden, so we know all about the club and the area.

"We don’t want to see the team fold, especially during the season. All we want is somewhere to play football.”