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Canterbury City secure financial backing for the next three years but set to leave Faversham Town's Salters Lane at the end of the season


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Canterbury City Football Club are on the look-out for a new ground once again - but have secured their future for the coming seasons.

City, who play in the Southern Counties East League (SCEFL) Premier Division, ground-share at Faversham Town but a statement from City on Wednesday said the Lilywhites will not be extending their lease at Salters Lane beyond the end of this season.

Canterbury City Football Club chairman Tim Clark
Canterbury City Football Club chairman Tim Clark

The club have had financial woes this season and initially requested withdrawal from SCEFL in September before a mystery donor came forward with funds to allow them to complete the campaign.

City chairman Tim Clark says another backer - who also cannot be revealed at this stage - has secured the club's future for around the next three years, with the club having been advised by Quinn Estates they will need to wait that period of time before a new planning application can be submitted for a new ground in Canterbury.

"We have been informed that it’s going to be around three years before another planning application can go in. We have secured what we need over that period of time which is, obviously, good news," said Mr Clark.

"But Faversham have decided to move forward next season with another set up. We have enjoyed our stay there but, unfortunately, we find ourselves needing to find another ground.

"So if any clubs are out there that are able to discuss a ground-share with us, we will be grateful to hear from them."

City enjoyed some good times at Salters Lane according to Mr Clark, playing an FA Vase semi-final in front of more than 1,000 people in 2019. Picture: Alan Langley
City enjoyed some good times at Salters Lane according to Mr Clark, playing an FA Vase semi-final in front of more than 1,000 people in 2019. Picture: Alan Langley

Now managed by caretaker joint-bosses Dan Lawrence and Sam Wilson, Mr Clark hopes the club will be competitive with their new budget.

He said: "Hopefully, subject to organising a ground-share, we will be competing in the league. Hopefully we will be competitive with the budget - although I don’t think we will be competing for the title or anything like that!

"But for our supporters and the players, it gives them some security, which is good."

When asked if he could reveal any further details about either the donor who has helped the club through this season or the backer who will support the club going forward after this campaign, Mr Clark replied: "Not at the moment, no."

City, who have not played in Canterbury since 1999, have shared at Salters Lane since 2018.

Mr Clark admits the club has fond memories of their time at Faversham, having welcomed 1,274 supporters for their FA Vase semi-final clash against Cray Valley in 2019.

He added: "It’s a shame (to be leaving Salters Lane). We have had good times at Faversham - but we fully understand and appreciate they have their own plans.

"Unfortunately, it just comes with the territory of being the tenant in a ground-share. We have some fond memories at Faversham, like the FA Vase semi-final.

"The gates have been good in general and it shows what we can do if we play closer to Canterbury. Like I say, it’s a shame but it just comes with the territory - like with any ground-share.

"But we have been in this position before and, hopefully, someone comes along again."

Mr Clark says City are yet to speak to any other clubs regarding a potential ground-share from next season, with the league needing to be informed before the end of March of where they intend to play.

"Not yet, no," he replied when quizzed on the matter.

"We wanted to be in a position where we could approach clubs having sorted out the financial side of it. We have got the backing and they (any potential new landlords) can be confident we have that backing.

"Hopefully someone will step forward - as they have done in the past. Hopefully there will be developments over the next few days and weeks. The league is aware and they have helped us out in the past.

"We have got a couple of months to organise everything, so we aren’t panicking just yet."

City are 16th in the table and host Rusthall this weekend, having had their match against Erith & Belvedere postponed last weekend.

Anyone wishing to assist the club with a ground-share from next season is asked to email club secretary Richie Moore at secretary@canterburycityfc.net for further information.

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