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The Non-League Football Paper

Power to the people! Grays Athletic target homecoming after becoming fan owned

Pic: Pro Sports Images

GRAYS ATHLETIC have joined the list of clubs who have handed control to its supporters – with their next goal a return to the town they left back in 2010.

The 2005 and 2006 FA Trophy winners have fallen on hard times since Mick Woodward cut ties with the club he bankrolled through the Pryamid.

Now second bottom of the Ryman Premier, the Blues have been groundsharing since the Rec was sold for housing six years ago.

But they have hope for the future and believe fan-power can help them take control of their own destiny, with the ambition a return to Grays in the coming years.

A statement confirmed that Athletic are now in the hands of its supporters and a new board of directors is expected to be in place by the New Year.

“We have been informed by the Football Association that they and the Ryman League have approved the transfer of our FA and Ryman League membership from Grays Athletic (1982) Limited to GAFC 1890 Supporters Society Limited,” the Essex club announced.

Boost

“The interim board, the Supporter’s Society committee and a number of fans have been working very hard with the FA and the Ryman League and the club’s advisers, Supporters Direct, since March this year to achieve this objective. We are sorry it has taken about three months longer than we expected, but we were in the hands of the football authorities and had to satisfy their very thorough examination of our proposed constitution and financial plans.”

The news is a boost to fan-ownership after the news in October that AFC Telford United had become the first club to abandon the Trust model in over a decade.

Non-League clubs who remain supporter-owed include National League Wrexham, Aylesbury United, FC United of Manchester and Lewes.

Dorchester Town, Prescot Cables, Hyde United, Scarborough Athletic and Hendon are also community owned.

The Blues’ statement continued: “On behalf of everyone at Grays Athletic, we would like to thank Andy Swallow for ensuring the survival of our great club since we left the Rec and for placing the club in a financial position that was acceptable for the FA to sanction the transfer to The Community Benefit Society.”

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