RELATIONS are at breaking point between Windsor Football Club and the royal landlords of its stadium, the Crown Estate, with the club claiming it is now under threat.
The Crown Estate owns the Stag Meadow ground where Windsor play their games.
But chairman of the club, Kevin Stott, 59, who is also sole director of the company that runs it, has hit out over the state of its lease. Mr Stott founded Windsor Football Club in 2011, following the financial collapse of its predecessor Windsor and Eton Football Club.
He gave the Crown Estate evidence that the new club was financially sustainable.
But six years on the club is still on a short term lease.
Mr Stott said: “How can we be sustainable when we can be thrown out with just one month’s notice in the absence of a long term lease? At the same time we have to assume all the financial responsibility for maintaining the ground.
“The current situation also prevents us from obtaining any grants or long term investments, its totally unreasonable.”
He said the club’s continued existence was threatened.
But a spokesman from the Crown Estate put the blame at the club’s door, saying longer leases at both 10 and 20 years had been offered on two separate occasions but Mr Stott had not signed them.
The spokesman said: “As the tenant has now been in arrears for over a year, we are not currently able to offer a longer term lease.”
But Mr Stott said: “There would have been no point in signing the earlier leases offered. It does not work. You have to have a 25 year lease before you can get any funding or investment from the Football Association.”
He said the back rent of £6,500 would be paid when a long term lease was forthcoming.
He responded to the Crown Estate’s claim that it only charged a concessionary rent, saying: “We pay a rent of £5,000 to them for the privilege of spending £40,000 to £60,000 maintaining the grounds.”
Mr Stott, a marketer who lived in Windsor for 25 years, said he started the club up again as a social enterprise and felt great loyalty to football in Windsor. despite having moved to Sussex.
He said: “We have 45 teams, for six to 16-year-olds, an under 18 team, an academy and of course our first team.
“I’m proud of that but I’m getting so frustrated.”