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No grudges as Barkingside to leave Oakside

PUBLISHED: 15:28 20 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 March 2014

A general view of  Oakside Stadium. Pic: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

A general view of Oakside Stadium. Pic: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

EMPICS Sport

Barkingside chairman Jimmy Flanagan insists there is no ill feeling between them and landlords Redbridge after they made the decision to leave their Oakside home of 56 years.

Side will groundshare with Ilford over at Cricklefield from next season after landlords Redbridge opted to raise the fee that Barkingside would have to pay to remain at Oakside.

And despite Flanagan saying it was a ‘substantial’ rise, he understands Redbridge’s reason behind it, and holds no grudges against the Motormen.

“It was a significant rise. I understand why the people of Redbridge have done it,” said Flanagan.

“But it’s not been taken the wrong way from me. Hopefully all of us can remain friends and if they need any help I’ll always be around.

“There is no fall-out between us and Redbridge, it’s not personal it’s purely both teams doing what they believe is right for their football clubs.”

Flanagan admitted it was a hard decision to make, but now feels there long-term future is secure, with a rolling agreement in place, which could last up to 17 years. “It’s a hard decision because everyone knows this as Barkingside and it’s ripping the club away from its roots, but it’s just an economical decision,” he added.

“It secures the long-term future of the club now and even if I am not here I don’t want to be the person to put the nail in the coffin of the club.

“It also allows us the opportunity to possibly prosper more than what we can do here by having a reserve side, a youth side and do a few other things with schools and academies.”

The Barkingside chairman has been pleased with the reaction so far from fans, who have supported the move, despite him expecting some opposition to the move.

“In terms of support, we couldn’t move anywhere nearer,” he said.

“I didn’t want to become an Eton Manor where we are moving every so often. It was important that we stayed as close as we could.

“People I have spoken to so far have said they understand why we are doing it and they are supporting it. There’s probably more people supporting it at the moment then what I thought was going to.”

Redbridge chairman Imran Merchant did not wish to make a comment on the issue.

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