Bright future for Cornard United after club signs new 25-year ground lease

Harvey Doherty

Harvey Doherty - Credit: Archant

Cornard United chairman Harvey Doherty is looking forward to a bright future at Blackhouse Lane after the club signed a new 25-year lease on the ground.

The agreement will open up funding opportunities for the Ards to explore and the aim is to improve every aspect of the club, from the youth set-up right through to the first team.

“This opens up our revenue opportunities because if we were to apply for grants from such charities as the Football Foundation, you have to own your own ground or have the lease on it,” said Doherty.

“They won’t give funding to council-run facilities and the parish council have been fantastic and I would like to thank them for their continuing investment.

“The agreement was in place to sign the new lease but only once the facilities at the ground were up to scratch and, with a lot of help from volunteers, we have almost done that.”

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The first-team are currently occupying a spot at the wrong end of Thurlow Nunn Division One but Doherty believes this new agreement will help them rebuild and move up the footballing pyramid.

“We have been languishing in the bottom part of Division One for several years, but we put Chris Tracey and Jack Wignall in charge at the start of the season and they are building a team the way they used to play,” added Doherty.

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“They will be rebuilding again in the summer and they are aiming to make the top-five next season, but I won’t be putting any pressure on them.

“The appetite is there from the local support and hopefully we will start progressing up the table.”

The first team is not the only area of the club that requires some work though, and Doherty stressed the importance of having a fruitful youth section.

“We have already progressed in terms of setting up a reserve team and the next job is for us to become affiliated with the Cornard Dynamos,” Doherty explained.

“We are working very closely to do that and having been chairman of the youth section in the past, I still have close links.

“There is also the Norwich City link. They are setting up a football academy at Thomas Gainsborough School, they are including us and could give our under-18s a great opportunity, and they will be playing most of their games at Cornard.”

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