Football club to move out as ground sold

GRAYS Athletic are homeless after their Bridge Road ground was sold.

Club secretary Joel Nathan confirmed today the Blues are seeking a ground share with another club in the borough.

Mr Nathan also revealed the club, relegated from the Blue Square Premier this season, is hoping to drop down to the Ryman League, bypassing the Blue Square South and making Thurrock FC the highest-ranked club in the borough.

He said: “The ground has been sold, our last home game will be against Forest Green on April 24.

“We won’t be going in the Blue Square South, the ground sharing rates we’ve been quoted just don’t add up.

“We are looking, if accepted, to be in the Ryman League next season.

"We have a few different options, but more than likely we will share a ground with another club in the Ryman.”

East Thurrock United is thought to be the most likely destination for a ground share.

Mr Nathan also quashed rumours there are plans to move the club to Loughton, where he and chairman Andy Swallow run a football academy.

He added: “There are absolutely no plans for that from Grays’ point of view.

“We don’t own Grays Athletic Football Club, we just run it.”

The Bridge Road ground has been the home of the Blues for 120 years.

The sale comes as the club was unable to negotiate viable terms for a new lease with the ground’s owners, the Billings family.

A spokesman from the recently-formed Grays Athletic 1890 Supporters Trust said fans were “stunned” by the news, and urged as many as possible to attend the last home game.

He said: “We urge fans, past and present, to come in numbers to the final Forest Green game on Saturday, April 24, at 3pm to celebrate 120 years of history and to show your support for keeping Grays Athletic alive.

"Please wear something blue and make it a day to remember!”

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