If ever a reminder was needed of the value, history and importance of our local clubs, it really hit home when pictures were posted of Basingtoke Town’s historic Camrose stadium pitch being torn up.
The pictures I saw, posted by @matt_warmington on twitter were heartbreaking. They showed a bulldozer on a ploughed field beginning the process of tearing up a pitch that had been clubs home since 1945.
Without going to deeply in to it, the Dragons – formed in 1896 – are currently exiled at Hampshire neighbours Winchester City, 20 miles away, having moved out of the Camrose, the land on which is owned by former owner Rafi Razzak, now being developed by his property development company Basron.
There are moves afoot to get the club back to the town, chairman Terry Brown (formerly boss at Aldershot Town, AFC Wimbledon and Hayes) in a recent post on the club website said meetings had taken place with Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke & Deane Council and the Hampshire FA with a view to getting planning permission at a site at Winklebury. He said then: “We will be able to look at what our previous owner Rafi Razzak will do for us and what requirements his property development company Basron will need to fulfil in providing the town with a ‘like for like’ facility due to the loss of our old home, The Camrose”
It’s been a tough few years for Basingstoke, between 2004 and 2016 a National League South club but now at step 4, hopefully though, unlike some other notable clubs like Aylesbury United and their own recently demolished Buckingham Road ground, as well as our own Wokingham & Emmbrook, their exile will be relatively short lived.
Since this article was originally published as part of our programme notes in mid January, things have moved on a bit in the sorry saga. Here’s some further reading:
- Katie French on the Camrose covenant (twitter thread)
- Sign the petition to save Basingstoke Town’s ground
The Camrose also appeared in Football in Berkshire’s five grounds you need to visit in Hampshire piece here.