By Ken Gaunt
TERRY BROWN says Basingstoke need to be playing in Basingstoke and is backing supporters, who staged a protest outside the council offices on Thursday.
It was organised by Keep Football in Basingstoke (KFIB) founder and former club director Simon Hood in response to the news that a provisional ground-share arrangement has been agreed with local rivals Farnborough.
Outgoing owner and chairman Rafi Razzak is leaving next month and selling the Camrose, the club’s home for 72 years.
Brown, who has overseen change at AFC Wimbledon and Aldershot, shares the supporters concerns and has worries of his own.
“I am with the fans on this one,” said the vastly experienced manager. “Basingstoke need to be playing in Basingstoke. This is a town that is big enough (population 107,000) to sustain a National League team. At the moment we are not in a good place. It is a bad situation.
“We are in limbo and that means I cannot get on with the job of trying to retain players and recruiting players.
“Until we find out if we are going to Farnborough that’s where we are at. It is a good stadium, fit for purpose and the best of a bad lot.”
Before the protest, a group of KFIB supporters attended the Basingstoke Business Expo and gained a number of signatures to their petition.
Then they lobbied the councillors as they made their way in and Supporters’ Club chairman Martin French said: “The majority signed our petition.
“At the council meeting it was decided by 50 votes for and none against with two abstentions, that a separate committee meeting at the earliest possible date would be held.
“It would invite fans and the community to attend and ask more in-depth questions. It was also confirmed that there had been no enquiries received about purchasing the council’s 29 per cent of the Camrose land. It was a successful day’s campaigning.”
Brown is also concerned about the future of the highly-acclaimed Academy set-up run by former player and manager, Jason Bristow.
“I want to keep the Academy safe, that is my main concern,”?Brown added.