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Future is looking brighter for City
12:30pm Thursday 5th December 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WHEN Worcester City look back on this season, they may well see the events of the last few days as a major turning point.
Not just in terms of the team’s rejuvenation on the pitch, but for the club’s hopes of long-term survival off of it.
On Monday, news broke that an agreement had finally been reached with St Modwen to terminate the contract to build a stadium at Nunnery Way, which had been in place for six years.
Then, 24 hours later, Carl Heeley’s team recorded their best result of the campaign in swatting aside Telford United 3-0 to reach the FA Trophy second round.
City have long been due a slice of good fortune and, suddenly, things are really looking up for the Skrill North outfit.
Having finally negotiated their release from St Modwen, the club’s destiny is at last in their own hands.
Now they can go it alone without the fear of being sent under by a six-figure capital gains tax bill or building a stadium they can’t afford.
It paves the way to work with the Supporters’ Trust, who have plans to construct a community stadium at Perdiswell and harbour aspirations to see the fans take control of the club.
But this is just the beginning. The hard work starts now. Just because City are free of St Modwen and designs for Perdiswell are ready to go before Worcester City Council planners, they still need the fans to get behind them.
Financially, the club is still living virtually hand to mouth and this news isn’t suddenly going to change that or give Heeley a mega budget to strengthen the squad.
They are still homeless and playing at a ground 15 miles from Worcester with no concrete plans for a new base.
Essentially, the £3million they got for the sale of St George’s Lane has paid off a bank debt, settled a capital gains tax bill and covered St Modwen’s costs.
That City will have anything to put towards a ground at all is down to the negotiating efforts of chairman Anthony Hampson, pictured, his board and the council. They could quite easily have got nothing.
What the deal does is provide peace of mind and a clean slate. No matter how unpalatable it is, the past has to stay there.
Things are also moving forward on the pitch as, following a series of fine performances, the team are finally reaping some reward.
Five matches unbeaten and into the last 32 of the Trophy might not be the most feared of records but it is no less than the Blue and Whites have deserved.
With Oxford City, another team at the wrong end of the table, visiting Aggborough on Sunday, Worcester will be looking to harness the feel-good factor and start climbing the league.
Just how pivotal could this past week have been?
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