Saints fans vow to keep fighting for new stadium
PUBLISHED: 10:36 24 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:38 24 May 2018
News of St Albans District Council's decision to omit St Albans City's proposals for a brand-new stadium from the new Local Plan were met with horror by fans and volunteers at the club - but all have vowed to carry on the fight.
The decision was debated at a meeting on Tuesday night with around a hundred supporters and youth players turning up before hand to demonstrate the strength of feeling it has provoked.
Flags were draped around the entrance to the council building on St Peter’s Street and most of those attending were decked in the club’s traditional yellow and blue shirts.
Co-owners Lawrence Levy and John McGowan had championed the move to the Noke Community Stadium as a benefit to the whole community and not just the senior men’s team.
That was a point echoed by Mervyn Morgan, who has been part of St Albans City Youth for 30 years and is now the chairman.
He said: “We currently run around 80 teams for all ages.
“We have been told by the FA that we are the biggest youth football club in the area and the club’s ambition would allow us to grow even more, to tap into more grants.
“We help run PE lessons with schools and are a huge part of the community.”
When asked how he felt when he heard the news last week, Morgan, who lives and breathes football and St Albans City Youth, said: “I felt like giving up. I thought what was the point of all those years of work?”
That sense of hopelessness was not confined to Morgan though. “Hollow” was how Lee Wood of Stand By Your Saints (SBYS) described his reaction to the bombshell.
However, the strength of feelings towards the club and the will to fight on were very evident, both outside of the council and on social media.
To help promote what the club means to the city as a whole, SBYS ran a campaign on using the hashtag #MyCityMeans.
Wood, who has been a fan of the club for over 30 years and is one of the many volunteers on match day, said: “The reaction has been phenomenal.
“It shows what the community feels of our club, their club.
“We will continue to fight on.”