South Shields FC chairman hopes West Allotment can “fix the problems they’ve got”

South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson hopes fellow Northern League side West Allotment Celtic can fix their financial problems having seen their ground rental increase.

Allotment, who played at Whitley Park in Benton, have been asked to pay a 67 per cent increase of £3000 by the Northumberland FA (NFA), which is considerably higher than the £4,500 that they are already paying.

In a statement released by West Allotment, vice-chairman Jim Wilson said: “When it was revealed to be 67 per cent, we could not believe it.”

Mr Wilson also told that if the NFA do not lower their rental fee, Allotment will have to resign from the Northern League.

He said: “We have until the end of May to withdraw the resignation but it feels right now that it will stand.”

Club Secretary Mr Ted IIderton added: “It is a disaster. We just cannot afford that type of increase. At the moment, it looks as though the club will go unless we can come to some arrangement.

“We are still prepared to sit down and talk. We would like it to be resolved between us and the county FA.”

SR News contacted Northumberland FA regarding the matter. A spokesperson said: “Once negotiations are complete we will issue a full statement.”

But while Allotment face an uncertain future, Mr Thompson, who saved South Shields from a similar financial position in 2015, hopes West Allotment can sort out their difficulties.

Mr Thompson said: “It is incredibly difficult – I hope West Allotment fix the problems they’ve got and move forward. I think if I had a magic formula then I would obviously share it but I don’t think it is as simple as that.

“All I would say is what we try to do is run the club as commercially as we can. Try to attract people, be active on social media – trying to drive footfall, even on non-league games.

“So it’s kind of a whole myriad of things you’ve got to work on but I’m not going to be some smarter saying West Allotment have to do X, Y and Z. It’s very very difficult.”

Timeline of Northern League clubs who have openly struggled financially in recent times –

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