DUDLEY Council has officially backed the campaign to bring Dudley Town Football Club home after 38 years away.

At a full meeting of the authority on December 4, councillors voted to support a motion from St Thomas’s ward councillor Shaukat Ali to recognise the work going on to find a new stadium for the club in Dudley.

The campaign, which has the support of Dudley North MP Marco Longhi, called ‘Bring ‘um home’ includes a petition for people to sign and show their support.

Cllr Ali told the council meeting: “This motion sets in stone the council’s commitment to realising this dream.

“It is now time for us to rectify the injustices suffered by Dudley Town Football Club.

“It is time to restore the pride and unity this club brings to our community by bringing the club back to Dudley.”

Dudley Town FC was founded in 1888 and set up home in an area of Dudley now known as Castlegate Park in 1932.

Shockingly in 1985 subsidence caused by old mine workings under the club’s ground led to a sinkhole at the site and the football pitch, along with a neighbouring cricket ground, was deemed unsafe.

Since then the club, known as The Robins, has played home fixtures at grounds around the region in locations as far afield as Tividale, Halesowen, Gornal, Amblecote and Brierley Hill.

They currently make their home in Willenhall but where last season they won promotion to the West Midlands Regional League Premier Division.

The promotion added a new twist to moves to restore the club to its home town as council leader, Cllr Patrick Harley, explained at the meeting.

He said: “There is a ground identified that could be potentially used, unfortunately because they have gone up a step in the non-league football pyramid, it would require some changes to the ground – we are awaiting the details.

“The council wouldn’t have the resources, there would have to be funding from the club.”

Cllrs also voted to recognise the work carried out by Marco Longhi on the campaign including raising the issue in Parliament.

Mr Longhi spoke in the House of Commons during questions to Lucy Frazer, secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

He said: “Will she do what she can to support me and Mayor Andy Street in our joint campaign with Dudley Town football club to return it to its rightful grounds within Dudley borough?”

The minister responded: “I understand the importance to fans of where football is played, and fans want to watch their teams play in Dudley town. I wish the club well in its aspirations to return there.”

For details on how to sign the petition contact Dudley Town FC, there is also a campaign group on Facebook.