Councillors have agreed to look again at ways they could help bring Aylesbury United back to the town.
On Tuesday night members agreed to re-open discussions with the club, which is currently sharing a ground with Leighton Town, to see what financial and technical assistance could be offered.
However, Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Cabinet warned the club it would need ‘a sound business case’ if it wanted to apply for money.
The discussions took place after Southcourt councillor Michael Beall submitted a motion calling for a review of leisure facilities in the Vale - and for a permanent venue for the club which could be used for ‘other sporting activities as well’.
Cabinet member for leisure David Thompson confirmed a leisure facility review is already under way and its recomendations are expected in October. He agreed that council officers should work with the club, noting that the authority has the power to provide grants or sports facilities which can be leased to clubs. However, he warned: “This council has taken the view that if we are going to do anything there has to be a sound business case.”
Deputy leader Michael Edmonds said we wanted to see the club return to the town, reflecting that it used to have a ground on Wendover Road which was sold before the club moved to Buckingham Road.
He compared the fortunes of Aylesbury United with the town’s rugby club, which used to play on Baggotts Field before it sold the land to developers, and is now based at Weston Turville.
He said: “It would be nice to give them some sound advice to get them back on a sound footing.
“If we can help in any way I think we should. But it is for them to come to us and if there is any way at all that this council can help them get back to their existing ground then I think we should.
Councillor Neil Blake warned the authority’s support for the team should not be ‘at any cost’.
Councillor Carole Paternoster said: “We have to look at this on a commercial basis. We have to deal with Aylesbury United in the same way that we would work with a business. They are not a voluntary organisation. It might just be the football club one day but it could be anyone else the next. But I think officers should meet with the club.
Before the meeting, Aylesbury United manager Tony Joyce said he ‘would love’ for the club to return to the town.
“What we need to do is keep winning and keep the support there then hopefully when we do come back we can get the numbers up to around the 400, 500 mark.
“When I used to play for Aylesbury years ago we got 1,500 so it is feasible. Any extra support is great and I’m sure we can get back there.”
Tonight Aylesbury United play Hanwell Town at Leighton’s Bell Close ground at 7.45pm. The Ducks are currently fourth in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division.