CHAIRMAN Andy Pountney says Stourbridge FC may have to leave the War Memorial Ground to realise its potential.

The Glassboys' chief also warned he could be forced to walk away if ground development issues can't be resolved with landlords Dudley Council sooner rather than later.

The new year has sparked Pountney to push for a solution to the on-going issue over their lease at the Amblecote site.

Any future promotions would mean having to improve a ground owned by the council.

While the club would be prepared to develop the War Memorial Ground, Pountney is pushing for greater control of the site, including a potential plan to buy the freehold and bring in further investment.

However, that option is further complicated with the fact that Stourbridge Cricket Club also share the land.

It means that Pountney is also open to finding a new home for the club if necessary, but again wants more help from the local authority.

He explains: "We are now close to the limit of where we can take the club. If we got promoted we'd have to invest potentially £80,000 to stay in the league. If we then got in the play-offs of the league above we'd be looking at £150,000-£200,000.

"While we are willing to do that, we need a commitment of some description to allow us to have full control of the site, or even another site that we can progress.

"We don't particularly want to leave the War Memorial Ground. It would be great to get the freehold as we have the financial support to develop.

"Ideally the council has a plot of land and a solution for us because we have people willing to invest to move the club on for the community.

"We've had loads of dialogue with the council on this issue over the years but we're no further forward.

"The support from the council has been embarrassing. When we have a big cup game they all come out in support of us and call up wanting tickets but I can't think of anyone at the very top of the council who has followed through with their promises to support us.

"It's frustrating to the point where we're considering our position at the club due to the council's refusal to listen to us.

"Around 23,000 people come to the site each year, not including the function room, and the money that generates for the town must also be a big positive. But it feels like the only choice at the moment is that we make do with what we have and accept we can go no higher than one more level, or we walk away and leave it to someone else."

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member responsible for planning and economic development, said: “In recent years we have worked closely with Stourbridge Football Club and Stourbridge Cricket Club regarding their respective leases of the War Memorial Ground in Stourbridge.

“Towards the end of last year we met with the football club to discuss their aspirations moving forward and we will continue to work with them to explore all possible options, this unfortunately currently doesn’t include the club’s relocation as we are unable to identify an alternative site big enough to accommodate a football ground.”