Hawks eye move away from Westleigh Park

Westleigh Park  Picture: Dave Haines
Westleigh Park Picture: Dave Haines
Ryan Pennery netted for Moneyfields. Picture: Neil Marshall (171026-11)

Trophy dream is over for Moneys

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The Hawks are looking to leave Westleigh Park and move into a new purpose-built stadium in the near future.

The club, who have a 99-year lease on their present ground, are in negotiations with the local council to seal the deal.

It is likely to see the Hawks agreeing to move from their current location, which it is believed the council has earmarked for further housing development.

In return the football club would get brand new facilities rumoured to be in the South Downs College area.

Councillor David Guest, in charge of planning and regeneration at Havant Borough Council, however called for patience from the Hawks fans.

‘I believe their ambition is to have something bigger and better to enable them to become more successful,’ said Guest.

‘I don’t know where they may be going or how advanced they are in acquiring the land for a new stadium.

‘There’s an awful lot to do.

‘It will take a great deal of time to sort itself out.

‘I know they are not looking to close the club and not continue what they do.

‘It’s just the ground is not sufficient for the purposes of growing the club and moving it forward through the leagues.

‘It’s been on the cards for an awfully long time.’

Cllr Guest said he had discussions with club officials about moving several years ago, but he had had no recent talks.

‘I really don’t know the detail at all yet,’ he said.

The Hawks are ambitious to climb the non-league pyramid and missed out on promotion last season by losing in the play-offs.

Their current Westleigh Park ground is already one of the best below the Football League and a lot of hard work has been put in to make it so.

Hawks director and secretary Trevor Brock admits they have a major problem with the pitch.

Though it looked and played immaculately in the opening pre-season game against Pompey, once winter sets in it suffers badly.

‘The problem is the ground is built on what used to be watercress beds,’ said Brock.

‘It doesn’t matter how much work we do on it the high water table levels means we have problems.

‘Though we didn’t lose a game to the weather last season the pitch wasn’t great.

‘The season before was a nightmare.

‘We were left with an horrendous backlog of fixtures in the closing months.’

Chairman Derek Pope recognises the problem but has previously insisted the Hawks will only move if the deal is right for the football club.

– KEVIN RICKETTS