A NEW FUTURE FOR BASINGSTOKE TOWN FC

Rafi Razzak, long standing Chairman of Basingstoke Town Football Club (BTFC), has announced he will step down at the end of this season in May 2017, and end his financial support to the Club. The appointment of a new Chairman will be part of a strategic review, called ‘Plan B’, to determine the long-term future of the Club, which will also include a review of where it will play football in the future.

After 25 years of dedicated commitment to the Club, Rafi Razzak believes that the time is now right for new management to take the Club to the next stage:

“I have enjoyed my involvement with Basingstoke Town FC and my connection to the Club will continue until I am happy that a suitable long term plan for the Club is achieved. Therefore, I will continue to be actively involved during the review, before handing over the reign to the new Chairman and leaving the Club in a financially secure position.”

BTFC has been a firm part of local football tradition since 1896. The current Camrose ground has been its base since 1946. Changes in safety and facilities requirements for a modern football Club to compete in the national leagues, means that the Camrose ground is no longer suitable without significant changes which may not be economically or practically feasible.

Following the refusal of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to grant a formal option, earlier this year, for our ambitious preferred Plan A, the move to a new ground at Old Common Road, BTFC has decided that a formal strategic review is now required to help establish a Plan B for the Club.

It may be that moving to a new ground is the only solution that would enable the Club to increase the spectator capacity, at the same time as vastly improving the quality of facilities for the teams and visitors. Any new ground would have to be conveniently located for fans, and provide excellent Club facilities and function rooms.

Along with other potential options, Plan B will involve a review of the following:

  • Find an existing sports ground with the potential to upgrade
  • Share an existing ground with another sports Club and upgrade
  • Merge with another football club

Plan B, the strategic review of the future of BTFC, will start immediately with a detailed review of potential options by the end of March 2017, when the Club will enter consultations with the Club Management, Supporters and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. The final decision from the review and the route to the long-term future of the Club will be announced on Thursday, 25th May 2017.

[Update] More information is now available here.

Initial Questions & Answers

Why Is Rafi stepping down?

After 25 years of dedicated commitment to the club, Rafi Razzak believes that the time is now right for new management to take the club to the next stage, his connection with the club will continue until a suitable long term plan for the club is achieved.

It is also worth remembering that throughout his time as chairman, Rafi has provided substantial funding for the club, both through his own personal investment, as well as his company sponsoring the club. When he steps down as chairman, he will also be ending his financial support.

Who will be taking over as Chairman?

The selection of a new chairman will be a significant part of the club strategic review, known as Plan B, to determine the club’s long-term future.

Do we need to move?

Staying at the Camrose Ground may not be an option. The stadium has been used since 1946 and over this time there have been considerable changes in safety and facilities requirements for a modern football club to compete in the national leagues. To secure the long-term future of the club, staying in the old ground may not be economically or practicably feasible.

Any new ground would have to be conveniently located for fans, and provide excellent club facilities and function rooms.

Along with other options, Plan B will involve a review of the following:

  1. Find an existing ground with upgrade potential
  2. Ground share with another local sport club, and upgrade
  3. Merge with an existing club

The improvements required include enhanced health and safety facilities for players and supporters, while we would also use this opportunity to improve the stands to allow increased crowd attendance in a safe and enjoyable environment – an essential prerequisite of progression to higher league.

What is Plan B and what happened to Plan A?

Plan A, our preferred route, was our original proposals to move to a new ground, with community sports facilities, on Old Common Road. However, earlier this year Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council refused to grant a formal option for this site.

As a result BTFC is conducting a detailed strategic review of its options for the future, this review is called Plan B.

Are you just doing this because the council didn’t allow you to use the proposed site?

Yes. We firmly believed that Plan A was the best way to secure an enhanced future for the club and would also benefit the town as a whole.

However, we have accepted the Council’s decision on this matter, and it’s now time to move on, through the formal review – Plan B

Are you just doing this because the council didn’t allow you to use the proposed site?

As part of the formal review, we will be looking at various possible options, and will be consulting with the fans and wider community regarding the future of the club.

The main objective of Plan B is to keep the club in the town, with enhanced facilities for a sustainable future.

Along with other options, Plan B will involve a review of the following:

  1. Find an existing ground with upgrade potential
  2. Ground share with another local sport club, and upgrade
  3. Merge with an existing club

Of course, there could be other options which may emerge as Plan B develops.

As a result we see Plan B having the following schedule:

  • November – March – detailed review of options
  • March -April – Consultation with club management, supporters and the town.
  • May – Decision Day will be Thursday 25th May. DDay will also be Rafi’s last day as Chairman.

What will happen to the other sports clubs that currently use the stadium?

We would welcome the current clubs to come with us if we move, and it is hoped that any new site would offer more flexible facilities including better parking, allowing more people to use the clubs’ new facilities – as was the case in Plan A.

Further details of Plan B will be released shortly, so all our supporters know what is happening and can take part in the review and on going consultation.

Ongoing Questions, Suggestions and Recommendations

Basingstoke Town FC invites all interested parties to take part in the review process:

[Update] More information is now available here.

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