Not good enough: Gornal promotion hopes dashed by ground

Dudley News: Garden Walk Garden Walk

GORNAL Athletic will not be promoted even if they win the Midland Alliance because of stadium regulations, the News can reveal.

The Peacocks, managed by Ian Rowe, are enjoying a fine season and could challenge current leaders Stratford Town for the title.

However, the club have confirmed they will not secure a second successive promotion as their Garden Walk home won’t acquire the relevant grading in time.

The ground would need an E grading before the club are permitted promotion. But the Peacocks are still yet to achieve an F grading, following promotion from the West Midlands Premier last year.

Club chairman Kevin Williams said: “Technically we could finish top and be relegated if we don’t get the F grading by the end of March.

“But the work is nearly complete.

“Unfortunately you can’t apply for the E grading until you’ve got the F, so there was no way we could have got it done on time.

“It’s frustrating but those are the rules. This year we have been given 12 months to get the ground in order but there is no such rule if you go up again.”

Part of the improvement to the Garden Walk has seen the inclusion of 100 covered seats. The ground will be inspected by league officials in the coming weeks.

Gornal currently sit 22 points behind runaway leaders in the league but have seven games in hand.

Williams added: “Ian is aware of the situation, as is everyone else at the club.

“He is still trying to do his best to win the Alliance and all it does is prove what a good manager he is.”

Gornal and Wisbech Town will attempt to play their FA Vase fourth round tie for the third time this Saturday. The fixture has been postponed the past two weekends.

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