United playing for extra time

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A club battling for survival, weighed down by debt, but its clubhouse is safe

A mystery buyer may yet take over the Quarter Boys, Rye United Football Club, but for the time being it has no officers, and some of its assets have been used to pay off debts.

The former clubhouse was destroyed in an arson attack in August 2010, and rebuilt and re-opened in March 2012. But the builders are still owed money, and ownership of the stands and the club’s floodlights have been passed to the builders to clear the debt.

Rye was challenged by the Football Association partly because of the outstanding debts and partly because another club questioned the use of the temporary barrier, which was approved some years ago.

The League Grounds Committee informed Rye that despite their efforts, the FA had recommended that Rye be treated as a relegated club at the end of the season and they would be demoted to County 2 next season. New FA and county regulations also classed the clubhouse as a new build rather than a rebuild, which led to the shortfall in the club’s required funding and lack of outside investment, which made it impossible for the club to continue. As a result the club withdrew from the Sussex County League in March.

The stands and floodlights have now been passed on to clear the clubs debt
The stands and floodlights have now been passed on to clear the clubs debt

Outgoing Rye chairman Clive Taylor is still optimistic that the club will be saved and a new owner will be willing to take over. If that happens an extraordinary general meeting will be called.

He told the AGM that a person, who was unable to attend the meeting, was extremely interested in taking over the club. But, even if a new owner is found, it is unlikely that there will be any football on the Salts next season and before 2015.

If the clubhouse ever closed down, cricket matches would also be at risk. However, the club is continuing to rent it, said Rye Cricket Club secretary Martin Blincow.

Soccer fan Anthony Dicesare said: “I am hugely disappointed that it is highly unlikely Rye United will be playing at the Salts next season. I’ve watched some top class football there over the years.”

However, the AGM did agree to transfer some assets to the builders, and no one was willing to be one of the club’s officers, so it currently has no committee.

The club, formed in 1938 by amalgamating Rye FC with Rye Old Boys, was a founding member of Sussex County League’s Two in 1952, and was promoted to Division one in 1955-56.