Blyth AFC have announced they will be playing their remaining home matches this season at Ashington CFC’s Woodhorn Lane.

The Ebac Northern League Division Two club outlined the details in this statement on their website:

As of Monday, February 19th 2018, Blyth AFC will play their remaining home games of the 2017-18 season at Woodhorn Lane, home of Ashington CFC. At this point, Blyth AFC would like to place on record their sincere thanks to Ashington CFC for their help and support.

A couple of months ago, Blyth AFC brought concerns over the usage and deteriorating state of the playing surface at South Newsham, despite the valiant efforts of the groundsman, to the attention of the Ebac Northern League Management Committee. Blyth AFC, at this point, started to explore the possibility of using an alternative venue to play their remaining home games.

Following positive discussions with Ashington CFC, and an agreement being secured between the two clubs, an agreement which would see Blyth AFC hire the use of Woodhorn Lane for our remaining home fixtures; this initial request was turned down by the League Management Committee.

A site visit was then arranged between Blyth AFC and the League Management Committee to discuss how we could resolve the situation. Following the League Management Committee taking advice from The FA, Blyth AFC was tasked with arranging a pitch report to take place.

An FA appointed pitch advisor carried out a site visit on Thursday, January 11, 2018 and he reported his findings via his FA Pitch Improvement Programme report, which was received on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

Between now and the planned end of season in April, the pitch at South Newsham has a high volume of games still to be played on it. Blyth AFC have nine home games, including four in the next two weeks, while Blyth Town FC also have a similar number of home games still to be played.

On receipt of the pitch report, which identified a number of issues, including that the groundsman was undertaking a thankless task in keeping games on as much as possible, we requested that the Northern League Management Committee reviewed their original decision to turn down our request to play at Ashington CFC.

On Saturday, February 10, 2018, the Northern League Management Committee notified Blyth AFC that they had reconsidered their earlier decision and that they had agreed, in the best interests of all concerned, that Blyth AFC would be allowed to play all remaining home fixtures for the 2017-18 season at Woodhorn Lane – starting with the Ryton and Crawcrook Albion match next Wednesday.

The original agreement between the two clubs was then reviewed, signed and submitted to the Northern League Management Committee.

Blyth AFC fully support the League Management Committee in that this is in the best interests of all concerned. The pitch at South Newsham will now have a reduced fixture programme, which will aid the groundsman to be able to maintain the pitch and offer Blyth Town FC an improved playing surface. Blyth AFC will work closely with the local and national FA and, in particular, the sports stadia grants officer in insuring that all the recommendations, given in the pitch improvement report, are implemented in order for the pitch at South Newsham to be ready and functional for the start of the 2018-19 season.

Blyth AFC will make available transport from its car park at the shared facility at South Newsham, Blyth, with announcements of timings to be made before each game.

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