Warwick football club pledged cash for legal fight

Racing Club trustees Bob Dhillon, Andy Cowlard and Anne Mellor.
Racing Club trustees Bob Dhillon, Andy Cowlard and Anne Mellor.

The voluntary trustees of Racing Club Warwick have been offered more than £100,000 if they wish to pursue legal action against the district council in the High Court.

A wealthy anonymous benefactor, who had past associations with the football club, has told solicitor John Hathaway that he would be prepared to pay the legal fees if it meant the district would be forced to pay compensation for issuing two leases for the same land in Hampton Road.

Mr Hathaway, who owns Warwick firm Heath Blenkinsop, says it’s hard to believe the council is willing to pay up to £500,000 to the Ministry of Defence - to whom it issued a lease in error - but ignores claims by Racing Club.

The result of the erroneous lease was that in 2009 the football club had its changing rooms, showers and part of its bar demolished as a new drill hall was added to their premises for use by air cadets.

As a result of last week’s story in the Courier about the stalemate situation, Racing Club chairman Andy Cowlard, district councillor Linda Bromley and county councillor John Holland were invited to appear on BBC CWR on Tuesday to discuss their growing dissatisfaction.

It was last July that Mr Cowlard and his fellow trustees were finally issued with a new 21-year lease. But the club has lost an estimated £300,000 to £400,000 in bar takings and room hire fees.

For the past five years football players have had to change and shower in two temporary cabins funded by Warwick town council.

Mr Hathaway says he is unable to release details of the private backer who came forward this week.

But in an effort to defuse the anger and threatened court case, local MP Chris White, who was a prominent member of the district council at the time the lease to the MoD was issued, has offered to chair conciliation talks.

Yesterday (Thurs), council chief executive Chris Elliott said there had been three previous meetings, but he would be willing to attend another.