Sandy Lane could still be an option for Tigers, as they look to secure a permanent home to safeguard their future – according to leaseholder Pete Whitehead.
The Windsor Foodservice supremo, who owns Handsworth Parramore and has a ground sharing arrangement with Worksop Town, told the Guardian he’s still willing to discuss the possibility of Tigers buying the lease for the stadium.
Whitehead added that he would be equally delighted should Tigers move to a brand new stadium as proposed by MP John Mann.
“I think Worksop Town deserve their own ground as I’ve said many times before,” he said.
“The fans have played a major part in safeguarding the club and I’m sure with the right guidance the club will move on to better things.”
“I would listen to any ideas on how Sandy Lane could be obtained for the Supporters Trust.”
“My main aim is to help Worksop Town get their own ground one way or another, and if they build their own community stadium with the help of John Mann then brilliant.”
Whitehead gave a clear indication that Tigers would be able to play at Sandy Lane until their future was decided, easing fears that they could find themselves homeless before a new stadium was built.
“Sandy Lane is still available, we’re moving back to Sheffield but I won’t be doing anything with the ground until a home is found for Worksop Town.”
“I’m not in any rush to offload.”
Bassetlaw MP Mann doesn’t believe Sandy Lane is a truly viable option, however, instead insisting that his proposed £2million stadium is the best way forward.
If his project were to go ahead, Tigers fans would have to help raise around a third of the cost – which begs the question why not raise that cash and use it to acquire their current ground.
“Sandy Lane is an option that’s available, however I think a lot of the money we can raise will be grant aid and you can’t get any money from grant funding to buy out a lease on an existing ground,” he said.
“It’s an option I’ve looked at, but there’s no way we can raise the necessary amount of money, the price (for the lease) is significantly beyond what is possible.”
Mann is confident that in a new stadium Tigers would be better off financially, thanks to revenue steams they don’t currently have access to.
“I would like to see a situation where Worksop Town cover its own matchday costs, using volunteers where it can.”
“There is a question of maintenance for the ground, there’s a question of rent, it’s too early to say on those things.”
“But would there be income generation possibilities for Worksop Town? Yes. Would there be for junior teams? Yes.”
“The stadium design will be such to ensure it can generate income – if there is a board room and it’s well positioned it can be a hospitality suite which you can use to draw in a lot of money from a corporate.”
“It can be a facility for the Under 8s to generate money when they’re playing in the rain in November, it can be something the NHS can use for outreach work.”
“A stadium like this will cover its costs.”
Although he only revealed his plans to Tigers fans last week, Mann says he’s been inundated by offers of assistance from the fanbase and beyond.
“Some of the offers of help from the local community are very promising, the kind of skills we need, I’ve had some that are top notch.”
“Once they are agreed we will be releasing information.”