Evo-Stik North side Skelmersdale United have released a statement detailing the turmoil the club has been facing in relation to their landlord.

Here is the full statement from the club:

The management board at Skelmersdale United F.C. would like to thank all those who have dedicated themselves to supporting this great community club. The club has provided a platform for the past 135 years for the careers of many ambitious young footballers, and some of them have gone on to great heights both domestically and abroad.

However, now all that is at risk as we have been forced in to a very difficult situation by our landlord Chequer Properties Limited owned by Mr. Martin Gilchrist. Mr. Gilchrist is a self-professed football man, however, for a so-called football man he appears to be doing a good job of destroying two local clubs, ourselves and Burscough F.C.

Skelmersdale United have since July 2015 been attempting to re-negotiate terms of a new lease and this is well documented. However, those efforts have fallen on deaf ears, despite the unfounded comments made by Mr. Gilchrist. His comments and rumours have had a profound effect on our football club and especially on our ability to generate long term internal income through our social club. Even before our untimely eviction the uncertainty of our future at the Uretek Stadium had already severely dented the frequency of bookings.

Our original lease is due to expire on the 17th. November 2017, yet for reasons known only to himself Mr. Gilchrist used the sheriff’s office to send in the bailiffs and evict us one month early. He has effectively locked us out, he claims he has given both ourselves and our solicitors details of the exact time and date of those actions, HE HAS NOT. He claims we have a taxi office on the ground, WE HAVE NOT.

During the last two and a half weeks, we have asked for access to the premises to get essential playing kit and emergency medical equipment, after much effort and pleading we were allowed access only when Mr. Gilchrist’s security company could be in attendance and very restricted times amounting to two and a quarter hour in total over several days, hardly enough time to remove over 12 years’ worth of accumulated chattels.

Mr. Gilchrist has asked that we provide him with an inventory of all our belongings within the premises, something he should have done with a club member on the day he locked us out, so let me remind Mr. Gilchrist that when we took possession of the lease 12 years ago we took possession of empty shell buildings, therefore my inventory is this, everything you see is the clubs or people associated with the club, and I as chairman will serve as indemnity against those goods, Mr. Gilchrist is threatening to remove those goods for he says safe keeping and then presumably charge us for said removals and this is without giving us a reasonable time and opportunity to remove our goods ourselves.

His actions on the day of our eviction caused mayhem and great distress, not only for us but many of you in the community, the club had a surprise party booking for that evening for a very prominent local fundraiser and a very large wedding reception the following day, all of which had to be hastily cancelled and other venue arrangements made. Bookings for the rest of the month have had to be cancelled, the knock -on effect has been great indeed, not least the fact that at least ten people have lost employment, and our trade with other businesses in the locality will be severely restricted or will cease.

Up to and including the present day we have always been well supported by our local business community, not least at the moment by our main sponsor Messenger Express, and this support has ensured our survival so far. For the past 12 years the club has had only two minor incidents involving minor petty criminal damage, yet in the past two weeks the club premises having had the locks changed by the landlord, has been broken in to and had on several occasions during that time suffered major criminal damage.

At the time of the break in I can only say that we as a club had a fully functioning security alarm and CCTV system, I was informed by the security company (who are never on site unless we request a visit and they agree) that the burglars disabled the alarm system and removed the CCTV control box. We as a club are as of yet unable to confirm any loss or damage as we have been prevented as have our insurance company loss adjusters from entering the premises.

The most recent actions of Mr. Gilchrist have placed an additional financial burden on the club, temporarily we have had to relocate to Prescot Cables, while we investigate the prospect of building a new stadium in Skelmersdale. All this has meant we will require to find funds for the additional expense incurred, and we estimate that Mr. Gilchrist’s actions have cost the club quite a considerable amount of lost income and additional expense.

We would be very grateful, if any within the community could offer us any additional support to assist us through this difficult time, even a few more bodies through the gate on match days helps, buy a club lottery ticket, your support will be appreciated and is much needed. We are doing our best to make sure that Skelmersdale United F.C. continues to be part of your community for many more years to come, so please offer whatever you can to help.

Contact Paul Griffiths 07513 123164 , our club media pages at @skemutdofficial on Twitter and our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SkelmersdaleUnitedFC/
Or contact our commercial manager : simonkenyon@outlook.com

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