Kayne Steinborn-Busse and Tony Dean, the chairmen of Bracknell Town and Sandhurst Town Football Clubs, have issued statements this week to clarify their respective clubs positions surrounding future plans after concerns from supporters and a local authority.
It was reported last week that Bracknell was set to leave their ground at Larges Lane at the end of the 2020/21 season and share with Bracknell Forest Borough neighbours Sandhurst.
Robins boss Kayne Steinborn-Busse says: “While our first team will be playing at Bottom Meadow, our headquarters remain in Larges Lane. Going to Sandhurst is just a stepping stone for us, I want to make that clear.”
And Tony Dean stresses the two clubs are not merging, adding: “We will both keep our own identities. We will be subletting and hosting Bracknell Town’s first-team games in addition to having our own fixtures in the Combined Counties League.”
His club, however, will continue to enjoy the sponsorship of the SB Group, which are behind the £2 million worth of ground improvements at Bottom Meadow which will lead to the laying of a state-of-the-art 3G pitch, new clubhouse and stand, plus floodlights.
The modernisation will bring the ground up to the standard required by the National League, the level at which the Robins are aiming to reach. They were unable to carry out the same work at the confined Larges Lane ground.
As far as Sandhurst are concerned, Dean said: “The new facilities will provide longevity of use, higher availability/utilisation, new memberships, better facility and access for existing members and the broader Sandhurst Community, thus enabling stronger links with other local clubs, schools and community organisations.”
When discussions about the move to Bottom Meadow first got underway, Bracknell were on course to gain promotion from the Isthmian League, but then along came the Covid-19 pandemic that led to the league programme being terminated two seasons in succession, leaving them well behind the time-scale originally planned.
Due to future plans for their Larges Lane ground, they are committed to leaving this June and, with the Isthmian League terminating their season, they will not be hosting any further South Central Division fixtures although friendly games could be on the cards once restrictions are lifted by the Government and Football Association.
Seven miles down the road, Sandhurst have been forced to delay a number of events to celebrate 110 years of football in the community.
But the Combined Counties League club have made significant progress in many other ways, as chairman Dean explains: “There has been a lot of positive and exciting things happening in the background aimed at ensuring the longevity of the club for a further 100 years and beyond.
“A major relaunch of the club has been in hand on two fronts. Firstly, significantly improving, upgrading and enhancing our facilities at Bottom Meadow and secondly placing a major emphasis going forward on the values of education and further developing the social and community value of sport within the Sandhurst community.
“The club has now established a strategic partnership and very substantial sponsorship support and
investment in the form of operational links, facilities development, business support and the expertise of
the SB Group Sport and Education Academy specialising in sporting and educational provision for the
Reacting to rumours and speculation on social media by supporters and others, Dean disclosed there are no prospects of Sandhurst merging with Bracknell.
He continued: “Both clubs are extremely proud of their outstanding reputations in their respective communities and the broader football community as a whole.
“They will continue to operate under their independent football management and governance. We will, however, be subletting and hosting Bracknell Town’s first team as a stepping stone for them as they make progress up the non-league ladder.”
As previously reported, the Robins will retain strong links with Bracknell with their offices and academy remaining in Larges Lane, along with the new multi-sport campus at nearby Ranelagh School.
Steinborn-Busse continued: “When you put all our teams together, we have around 400 players attached to the club and the vast majority of them will continue to play in Larges Lane and at our new campus.
“We are certainly not leaving Bracknell lock, stock and barrel, and the aim is for the first team to be back playing in the area at some time in the future.”