Thamesmead Town will kick off in the Ryman League at the Princes Park home of Dartford next season after agreeing a five year deal to share the National League club’s eco-friendly and state-of-the-art stadium.
The Ryman North club’s fans, players and officials will leave their current home at Sporting Club Thamesmead in Bayliss Avenue at the end of the 2016-17 campaign after the long term groundshare agreement was officially sanctioned by the Ryman League this week.
In a statement announcing the switch, Mead chairman and owner Paul Bowden Brown thanked everybody involved in the negotiations and said the agreement would inject a new lease of life into the club.
The chairman, who has also guaranteed to honour a current freeze on season ticket prices for a third season running after the move, said: “The move to Princes Park will hopefully allow the board to bring the club into the 21st Century, and as the person with his hand on the heart of this fine old club, I feel that this decision will give the club a new lease of life.”
“I would like to thank Steve Irving, joint chairman of Dartford, together with his fellow directors, for the way they have dealt with this long and time consuming process which has resulted in this formal agreement being agreed – one which I personally feel in the end, is well worth the effort.
“I would also like to thank Nick Robinson, the chairman of the Isthmian League, for his considerable personal input with this matter and ensuring that our legal position was protected. I would like to place on record my formal thanks to our current landlords – the Peabody Trust and their senior management – especially Dawn Young, head of operational services, and all her staff at the SCT – our home for the last four years.”
Explaining the reasons behind the decision to move away from Bayliss Avenue, he said: “It is very unfortunate that Peabody were not able to offer the football club an agreed five year package when requested. Had they been in that position, the football club would not have contemplated a move, but TTFC is operated as a business and needs security of tenure at all times.
“Without that we cannot operate within league rules, and therefore for the financial stability and security of the club, I made the difficult decision to look elsewhere for the club to play its first team matches. And to this end, here we are playing at Princes Park – a genuine football stadium – from July 2017.”