Toolstation League team Clevedon United 2006 fold
CLEVEDON United 2006 have folded after failing to find a ground to play at for the coming season.
United claim that Hand Stadium landlords Clevedon Town demanded a "sudden and dramatic" hike in rent for the Toolstation Division 1 side to use the ground.
United say the demands by Town were such that they would have to find a "substantially increased" figure per game, on top of standard match officials' fees, in order to survive and meet league stipulations.
United manager Alan Smith said: "In today's financial climate this was a bridge too far for a club which has existed due to the generosity not only of its regular supporters but also sponsorship built up over two years from businesses keen to promote local football.
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"We have to be responsible and therefore we are unable to commit to the figure being asked.
"When the Almondsbury groundshare deal was announced, Clevedon Town stated that they were trying to accommodate us but this was never a likely proposition with three senior teams and an Under-18s side all playing on the Hand Stadium pitch over the course of a season.
"The writing was most certainly on the wall for us once Town committed to the groundshare scheme.
"I have assembled a really good young side from local lads and I feel they have been let down. If we cannot find a new club together, then I will do everything I can to find them a high standard of football with good clubs.
"To all the people who have supported us financially and in person, I cannot thank them enough. It is a very sad end."
United chairman Colin Clarke added: "The hike in rent came without warning at the end of the season, despite assurances we received at Christmas.
"This has left us high and dry and we have been unable, in the short time available, to find a suitable ground in order to continue.
"It is not fair to say, as has been reported, that we have been unable to come to an agreement with Town. The truth is simply that we have been presented with a figure that a small club like ours cannot possibly afford, so no agreement was ever likely.
"We accepted that we needed to secure our own ground in time but this move came as a shock. As chairman, it has been my painful task to inform the league of our reluctant decision to cease as a club."
Clevedon Town director Paul Guy defended his club's actions, saying: "We had an agreement with Clevedon United since 2007 that their annual rent would be £7,000," he said.
"Last season they were unable to meet that, so we actually subsidised them quite substantially.
"We have had little option other than to increase that rent by £1,000 to £8,000 this time around because of our own spiralling costs.
"We've been made to look like the bad guys when we, in fact, helped them out and unfortunately we're no longer in a position to be able to do that."
Clevedon United were formed in 1974, although the Western League version, which officially became known as Clevedon United 2006, was set up as an off-shoot of that four years ago. The original Clevedon United continue to compete in the Somerset County League.
Clevedon Town will play at home to either Portishead Town or Bridgwater Town in the second round of the Somerset Premier Cup.