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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 20:25 GMT 21:25 UK
Club 'could fold' over stadium
Hartsdown Park as it stands now
Hartsdown Park once held 14,500 people but now stands empty
A football club chairman has warned the club could fold if it cannot move back to its own ground soon.

Conference side Margate has been sharing the ground of Kent neighbours Dover Athletic since last year.

But league rules mean the club has to return to Margate by December.

That looks unlikely as work on a new stadium at Hartsdown Park has hardly started.

The club was formed in 1896 and moved to Hartsdown Park in 1929.

It's almost like a scene of devastation
Ian Day, supporters club chairman

When Margate were drawn at home to Tottenham in the FA Cup in 1973, the ground hosted its record crowd of 14,500.

But the land the stadium used to stand on now resembles a building site.

Work on building a new ground has failed to start because of funding difficulties and concerns about conditions imposed when planning permission was granted.

Meetings on Thursday

The club claimed Thanet District Council had refused permission to start work on the ground.

But the council said it had just insisted on a clause stating that if the football club folded, control of the land returned to the council.

The council and the Conference League are both due to meet on Thursday to discuss what should happen.

Margate chairman Jim Parmenter said he feared failure to start work on the new ground could lead to the club going out of business.

Mr Parmenter told the BBC: "The old ground at Hartsdown Park did not meet criteria for all sorts of reasons and the only way to enable Margate to move further forward was to provide a stadium.

"Stadiums cost a lot of money these days and the only way forward is with a commercial development."

Fans are also worried about the club's future.

Ian Day, the chairman of the Margate Supporters Club, said: "It's almost like a scene of devastation here, rather than the modern Football League status ground that we were hoping to be playing in.

"The immediate dream is to get back to Hartsdown Park as soon as possible."


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