FOOTBALL: Time to move on

Malmesbury Victoria secretary Julie Exton at the flooded Flying Monk Ground this week

Malmesbury Victoria secretary Julie Exton at the flooded Flying Monk Ground this week

First published in Sport by

THE HUNT for a new home is on for Malmesbury Victoria after the club this week confirmed their intention to move away from the Flying Monk Ground.

The Vics’ ground has been ravaged by floods for the second time in just over a year, with the playing surface covered by around three inches of water at one point during the Christmas period.

Despite the desperate efforts of groundsman Chris Exton, the Flying Monk pitch was once again submerged this week.

The cash-strapped club, who have also launched a campaign to raise £5,000 to keep them afloat until the end of the season, revealed on Tuesday that they have already made Wiltshire FA aware of their intention to leave the Flying Monk and will work with all possible partners as they look to finance the development of a new home.

Julie Exton, Vics secretary and Chris’s mum, said: “We had a crisis meeting on Monday night and it was decided that we should look for somewhere new.

“It’s not going to be easy but we’ve got to try and see if we can find somewhere to build a new pitch and clubhouse.

“Wiltshire Council doesn’t own a great deal of land in Malmesbury so we will be a bit limited and we are wary of moving too far away from the town centre because we want people to still come out to watch games.

“But there is a lot of talk about a Malmesbury community campus being built and sports clubs could be involved. I’m involved with that and that may be something to look in to.”

The Flying Monk is a regular victim of flooding caused when the nearby River Avon bursts its banks and earlier this week, secretary Exton was forced to call on the help of passers-by to prevent further damage to the clubhouse.

She said: “We had all of the furniture out for Monday night’s meeting but the next day, the water was up to the clubhouse door.

“I had to grab some people passing by to help me lift it all up.

“Chris has been pumping the water off the pitch all week and he told me that there are so many people coming to take pictures (of the flooded ground).

“He joked that he should start charging people to come and see it.

“It’s just so disheartening that it keeps happening all the time but there isn’t too much we can do.

“We just have to wade through it until we can begin pumping some of the water back in to the river.”

The Vics’ first-team, whose Hellenic League game against Tytherington Rocks last weekend was postponed, are due to play away from home for the remainder of the month.

But the club does not expect their reserve side to be able to take to the field for either of their two scheduled home fixtures at the Flying Monk.

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