BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Former Ebbsfleet chairman appeals to fans over renewals

Ebbsfleet United's ground
Ebbsfleet's Stonebridge Road stadium was secured after council intervention

Former Ebbsfleet United chairman Lionel Ball has urged MyFootballClub members to renew their subscriptions before the February 19 deadline.

Ball, who twice hauled the Fleet back from the brink of closure in the 1980's, said renewals were crucial to safeguard the club's future.

He told BBC Radio Kent: "There is a lot riding on this.

"I know numbers are down but I hope the Fleet fans dig deep and find the money so that renewals are increased."

But Ball admitted he could not have been chairman of a club where the day-to-day running was taken out of his hands by a fans' website.

"If I was asked would I have tolerated such a situation had I been chairman, the the answer is no. That said it's a unique and clever idea," Ball said.

"I know a number of clubs who would have liked the sponsorship, if you call it that."

Ball also described Gravesham Borough Council's decision to purchase Stonebridge Road and lease it back to the club on a 100 year deal for a low rent as hugely significant.

He added: "In my two spells as chairman I was hugely disappointed with the local council's attitude towards the football club. Now they've come up trumps with what is a fantastic deal for the Fleet.

"Better they own the land because every club is at risk when newcomers come in and start borrowing, using the land as collateral to sign expensive players. That can be the road to disaster.

"Whoever at the club did the deal with the Council deserves tremendous credit."

Ball also praised neighbours Dartford, the Fleet's arch rivals, on their return to the town after a 13-year nomadic existence on the road.

"I feared for their survival so no-one is more delighted than me that they are enjoying so much success at their new ground Princes Park," Ball said. "I hope that Ebbsfleet and Dartford will soon be playing local derby fixtures."

You can hear the full interview with Lionel Ball on BBC Radio Kent on Saturday, 13 February between 1400 and 1800. There is also commentary of Ebbsfleet v Histon on from 1945 on Tuesday, 9 February.

Print Sponsor