Gardener: We’ll talk to anyone

Boro chairman in funding plea

Romford chairman Steve Gardener will not give up on the Westlands Project, despite growing concern among some fans.

Almost a year on from them gaining planning permission from Havering Council to build a new stadium on the London Road site, Boro are still seeking major funding.

One frustrated supporter this week suggested a possible return to Rush Green, or even a groundshare with Hornchurch, as alternative options, but Gardener said: “It took us 17 years to get planning permission for our own ground and I’m not going to give up after a few months.

“The Ryman League would not allow a three-way share with Hornchurch and the athletics clubs and I don’t expect there will be a U-turn from them.

“Raising the money is proving very, very difficult, it’s tough out there, but we’ve got to go out there and find investors. A new build has enormous potential, but it’s very hard to get people to part with large sums of money.

“All local clubs know it’s hard to get shirt sponsors, boards, adverts in the programme.

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“There is fund-raising going on, but they are only modest amounts when you’re talking about trying to raise �500,000.”

As a level four club, the maximum Romford could receive from the Football Foundation is �150,000, but they could get up to 90 per cent of the cost of building works if there was a community aspect to the scheme.

Gardener added: “It’s fair to say Romford has the potential to be a larger community-based club if it is in Romford.

“We’ll talk to anyone and I still think there are people and companies out there with money, who might like to get involved with running a club.

“It’s good to have debate on it. We’re a supporters’ run club and this is a club issue, not just a committee issue.

“We’ve got to do what’s best long-term for the club. I haven’t got the money and never said I had. We focused our efforts on getting planning permission, now we need a large sum of money.”

Boro, due to visit AFC Totton in the next round of the FA Trophy after beating Waltham Forest, are making excellent progress in Ryman One North under Paul Martin and visit Ware tomorrow, before hosting Grays on Tuesday.

Martin said: “We’ve got to keep defending in the right manner and make sure we punish teams when we get the chance.

“We’re not scoring a lot of goals at the moment, but we’re not conceding many.”

HORNCHURCH visit Bury in the Premier Division, then travel to Hastings on Tuesday.

Urchins booked a trip to Margate in the FA Trophy with their win over Brentwood last weekend.