Non-League: Rent hike forces Wakefield FC to cut loose from Wildcats

Paul Lines.
Paul Lines.
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WAKEFIELD FC manager Paul Lines has delivered a parting shot in the direction of landlords Wakefield Trinity Wildcats – with the Bears having now ended their 14-year association with the Merrie City.

Wakefield voluntarily resigned from the Evo-Stik League earlier this spring due to ground issues at Wildcats’ Rapid Solicitors Stadium and more specifically the rent they would have to pay to remain tenants.

From next season, Wakefield will groundshare with AFC Emley, having dropped down into the Toolstation Northern Counties East League.

Lines admits to feeling a touch aggrieved at how the club’s time in Wakefield ended. The club, which has also previously played at College Grove during their time there, has failed to capture the imagination of the sporting public with the club playing in front of meagre crowds in the city.

Top of his grievances is the hike in rent – understood to be treble what they paid this year – in order to continue to play at Wildcats, which he and the club felt was far too excessive.

It prompted the club to decamp back to Emley, where the original Emley AFC club moved from in the early noughties and Lines is at least glad they have been afforded a warm welcome.

Lines said: “It’s been a bad year with regard to how they (Wildcats) have welcomed us. They have never really welcomed us from the start.

“We do feel welcome going into Emley and they have welcomed us and we feel like it is a home and it didn’t feel that at Wakefield.

“To be fair, they (Emley AFC) have welcomed us with open arms and we can use this and have full use of that. We couldn’t even go into weights room at Wakefield and had to run around the pitch.

“We couldn’t use the home dressing rooms and they wanted a big share from the BTEC (sports courses), which we were going to set up so the kids could come and learn about football to have some budget for the football team.

“They wanted a large proportion of that and then there was the rent issue and we just couldn’t pay the amount they were asking.

“Consequently, the (Evo-Stik) league needed to know before March 31, the deadline, in terms of where we were going to play next season. We tried Featherstone and Nostell – where the ground grading for the Evo-Stik wasn’t right – and so we had to take voluntary relegation.

“On my part, I felt a bit deflated having to do that.

“What disappoints me more than anything is that the city haven’t had a football team and a rugby team in the same place and getting on. I am also disappointed in Wakefield Council in that they have jumped up and said ‘What can we do for you and how can we help you?’

“In a city of that size not to have a football team is a joke.

“Taking voluntary relegation is just one of the hardest things.”

Having now announced they are moving back to Emley, the club are welcoming potential investors to help support chairman Simon Turfrey and secretary Dan Brownhill alongside other officials who are working tirelessly to ensure the club will continue to be competitive.

Meanwhile, managerless Glasshoughton Welfare are now inviting applications for the role of manager, and possibly assistant.

For initial details, contact the club’s chairman Phil Riding by email at philriding@hotmail.com.

Applications must be received by Monday, May 12.

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