The future of Newport IW Football Club has been secured after the owners of St George’s Park have agreed to allow the club to remain at its home. This will enable the club to maintain their football status in the Sydenhams Wessex Football League Premier Division for the 2017/18 season.
The club had been given notice to quit the ground by land owners South Coast Leisure who are looking to build a new development that will create around 250 local jobs. South Coast Leisure has also been exploring plans to create a new purpose-built football ground away from the site as part of the deal.
Newport IW FC chairman Stuart Ross said “On behalf of Newport IW FC I want to thank South Coast Leisure for allowing us to remain at St Georges Park until the middle of May 2018. Their commitment to our club and the wider Isle of Wight Community has been exemplary allowing one of the oldest football clubs in the country of 129 years to continue its football at a high level whilst ensuring a community facility for the Island is maintained for which so many people are part of or connected to in some way.”
“The Isle of Wight Council, its leader Dave Stewart, other IW Councillors and Newport Parish Council have supported and assisted Newport IW FC throughout the whole process of negotiations so I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for our club. I look forward to maintaining a strong working relationship with them all as we progress on to secure the clubs long term future”
“My thanks also go to the Sydenhams Wessex Football League, Hampshire FA, Sport England and the Isle of Wight Divisional FA for their continued support to help save Newport IW FC.”
Tony Wake, South Coast Leisure shareholder, said: “As someone who has grown up on the Island I am well aware of the fine history of Newport Football Club and its role within the local community. South Coast Leisure has been extremely supportive of the club in recent years including allowing it to occupy St George’s Park at a peppercorn rent.”
“I am pleased to have reached this agreement with the club. As part of our planned development of the site South Coast Leisure will be providing replacement sporting facilities elsewhere and we hope to have some exciting plans in this respect in the near future.”
Speaking after confirmation of arrangements between South Coast Leisure and Newport, Council Leader Dave Stewart said:
“This has been a hard and challenging road but I am so pleased that all parties have been able to agree a way forward and thank both Tony Wake (South Coast Leisure) and Stuart Ross (Chairman of Newport IW FC) for their flexibility and commitment which has enabled them to secure a future for the club and help to inspire future generations of young Island footballers. I am pleased to have been able to help facilitate this outcome and wish all parties well as they move forward. They will have my continued support as they develop their future.”
Newport IW FC and South Coast Leisure are working together to progress a number of potential sites that will provide a home and long-term future for the club.
Club chairman Stuart Ross added “A new home for Newport IW FC is looking even more possible as each day goes by which will secure a long term future for our club.
“Our 2017/18 pre-season fixtures at St Georges Park have been planned which will bring something for everyone here on the Isle of Wight, further details on these will be announced soon.”
“Newport IW FC will be leaving its home in twelve months however there are exciting times ahead at the clubs new facility that will provide huge sporting benefits to our children, schools and the wider community.”
“We will play our last home league game of the season on Saturday 15 April against Portland Utd for a 3pm kick off at St Georges Park. I’m asking for the whole of the Island’s community and supporters from across the country who are or have been connected to our club over the years to come together to show your support for Newport IW FC and to celebrate our exciting future.”