Ground blow for relegated Grays Athletic

First published in Sport

WITH Grays relegation from the top flight having long since been confirmed, now comes the shock news that they are unlikely to be competing at Blue Square level at all next season.

Grays’ home game with Forest Green Rangers on April 24 is now widely expected to be their last ever at their New Rec home.

It is understood that the club have been unable to negotiate a new lease with the ground owners, the Billings family, and that the site is likely to be sold to developers for housing.

Now officials of the newly-formed Grays Athletic 1890 Supporters Trust are calling on fans to turn up in big numbers for that last ever game to back the bid to make sure the club has a future.

With no current prospect of a new home of their own, Grays are said to have approached near neighbours Thurrock about a possible groundshare.

As Fleet play in the Blue Square South, they would appear to be the only club able to offer Grays a home at which they could play soccer at that level.

But it is unlikely cash-strapped Grays would be unable to pay the £55,000 a season Fleet would want as landlords.

It is understood that Grays will apply to become members of the Ryman League.

Talks are understood to be planned with two current Ryman One North clubs, East Thurrock and Tilbury, regarding possible ground-sharing.

Grays have long-term hopes of finding a new home and becoming more of a community club along the lines of League Two Dagenham and Redbridge.

But it is clear that the small crowds they currently attract, only 298 watched Saturday’s latest demise, means that a place in the Ryman would probably be the best home for them currently.

Grays were deducted two of only 21 points they have gained this term, and fined £500, for five breaches of Conference rules. On Saturday goals from Ashley Westwood and Neil Taylor secured the three points for the Welsh visitors Grays are back in action tomorrow when they visit AFC Wimbledon.

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