NEWPORT Isle of Wight have been given a season’s breathing space after agreeing a groundshare deal at Ryde’s Smallbrook Stadium.
The Sydenhams Wessex Division One outfit, whose ground is due for demolition, have been lodging at East Cowes Victoria Athletic before a replacement stadium is built. However, fans had become increasingly concerned at the prospect of a new floodlit home for next season not being found in time, placing the club’s survival at risk.
Next season they will play at the stadium, home of Island Speedway and Isle of Wight Saturday League side Ryde Saints. As part of the deal, Newport will be upgrading the stadium floodlights to attain the required ground grading.
Newport chairman Tony Wake said: “While we are looking forward to the new season at Smallbrook, our future clearly involves a return to our own ground, and we are committed to creating a new home at a community sports facility hopefully to be opened in 2022.
“Our default position remains a move to a site off the Racecourse with work starting in the autumn.
“There has been local support for the idea of an alternative site at Seaclose and while that does indeed have advantages – not least being closer to the town – decisions will have to be made very quickly by the local authority which owns the land if that is to remain an option.”