ARBROATH SC will be playing their final ever game tomorrow (Saturday) after a rent row with Angus Council has prompted the team to fold.
The junior football club has been in limbo since January when the local authority decided to deem their home ground, Seaton Park, surplus to requirements.
Meetings have been held between the two sides to try and find an alternative venue and Angus Council agreed the club could remain at Seaton Park for another two seasons.
But the increase in rent from £900 to £11,000 per year has proved the biggest stumbling block and now the ASC committee say they have no other option but to fold as they do not have the funds to continue.
And tomorrow when the side turns out to face Montrose Roselea at Seaton Park, it could be their last game ever despite the club celebrating its golden jubilee year.
ASC also hold car boot sales at Seaton Park on Sundays during the summer to boost club funds and vice-president Barrie Munro believes this is where the two sides could not agree.
He explained: “The council were wanting rent of £1,200 from the football ground and 55 per cent of what we make from the car boot sales.
“They estimated we make £20,000 a year through that so they wanted £11,000 of that.
“After we met with the council we had a committee meeting and we knew we couldn’t get that sort of money so we had to take the decision to fold.
“It was like chalk and cheese on where we were both coming from.
“It is sad because the club was run for people in Arbroath and the community and now it will be no more.”
Councillor Donald Morrison voiced his concern at the way ASC has been treated by the local authority and hopes the situation does not set a precedent for other sports clubs and organisations in Angus.
He said: “It seems to be that the council have worked out that ASC are making more money than they think they should be and now they want a slice of it.
“I think this could set a dangerous precedence throughout Angus if it were to happen with other clubs.
“It is a sad case, not only have they effectively been evicted they have also been faced with this astronomical rent rise.
“I don’t know why the council couldn’t have just kept the status quo until they had to move out of Seaton Park.”
A council spokeswoman confirmed local authority officers and members of the ASC committee met on Monday when the club confirmed their decision to close.
She said: “Angus Council officers met with members of Arbroath Sporting Club on Monday afternoon (May 16).
“Before negotiations could resume on matters relating to the rental levels for the car boot activities at Seaton Park, the club informed council officers that after considering the bigger picture of a possible move to a community-based shared facility, they confirmed their previous decision to close.”