By Luke Vinton (@LukeVinton_ )
West Allotment Celtic are set to resign at the end of their Northern League season after the increased annual rent of their home ground.
West Allotment, currently playing at Whitley Park, are faced with a 67 per cent increase on the ground which the Northumberland FA lease from the Blue Flames Sporting Club.
With the club’s current annual rent at £4,500, up from £4,000 in 2014, the Northumberland FA are looking to charge £7,500 annually.
Unless the circumstances change drastically, the division one club will be forced to fold.
Vice-chairman, Jim Wilson, said: “We had an increase of 12% last time and thought this would be the same again.
“When it was revealed to be 67%, we could not believe it.
“We have until the end of May to withdraw the resignation but it feels right now that it will stand.”
Many people at the club have been left upset by the decisions.
Wilson added: “The increase equates to £300 per match over a 25 game season. Currently, it is £180 per match.
“The main concern that we have is, if we can somehow raise that amount of money, then what could happen next season. Would the percentage increase again?”
Club secretary, Ted Ilderton, said: “The people who run the club are all getting old.
“We are not wanting to be standing around in open fields.
“It is a disaster. We just cannot afford that type of increase. At the moment, it looks as though the club will go unless we can come to some arrangement.
“We are still prepared to sit down and talk. We would like it to be resolved between us and the county FA.”
The Benton-based ground is overlooked by Northumberland FA’s offices, though the football club has also to pay for the clubhouse use, from which no income is brought in.
The club have been involved in the Northern League for 12 years and were looking to celebrate their 90th anniversary next year since forming in 1928.
If anyone is in a position to aid in any way, such as funding or sponsoring the club, please get in touch.