Barnet FC's Underhill Home Under Threat

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 89 months ago
Barnet FC's Underhill Home Under Threat

Barnet FC's chairman has released an angry statement, saying a lack of assurances from Barnet Council mean the Bees might not be able to play at Underhill for the whole 2012/13 season.

There's been an extensive spat between the football club, Council and Saracens rugby club. Saracens are poised to move into the Copthall athletics stadium site at Mill Hill and spend £18m redeveloping it. Barnet have had their eye on Copthall for at least a decade but Saracens were recently granted what Bees chairman Tony Kleanthous calls a "virtual freehold", while the League Two side have been asked for £200,000 on a 125 year lease at Underhill.

And now the Council have apparently been unable to guarantee the football club will be given a licence to play matches at Underhill for a full season next year. Barnet's home has been at the site for 100 years and, although Kleanthous wants to move somewhere with better facilities, he clearly didn't plan on leaving so soon. His statement leaves us in no doubt that blames Barnet Council utterly:

I'm very irritated because I allowed myself to believe the council's assurances and excuses over the delays in resolving this issue but the contrasting treatment between us and Saracens has opened my eyes to their sheer duplicity... People on the council side have spoken about their commitment to Barnet FC and have said the council have no site for the club to build a stadium on... yet they have given a free site to a rugby club which has no connection with the borough of Barnet and turned their backs on its own community club which has been in the area for more than 100 years!

So as Spurs refuse to let the matter of the Olympic Stadium rest - even as West Ham toys with names - another of London's clubs could be on the hunt for a new home.

Photo by Stephen Iliffe from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 26 September 2011