FOOTBALL: Flooded Malmesbury Vics FC in crisis talks with Wilts FA

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: The Malmesbury Victoria football ground during the worst of the floods The Malmesbury Victoria football ground during the worst of the floods

MALMESBURY Vics club secretary Julie Exton admitted this week that the historic club is on ‘the last of its nine lives.

Exton was due to hold crisis talks with the Wiltshire FA yesterday, with a permanent move to a new ground being top of the agenda.

“The Flying Monk ground is more boating lake than football pitch at the moment,” said Julie, whose husband Phil is the club’s chairman.

The Vics lie towards the bottom of the Hellenic League Div One West table and have played seven fewer games this season than some of their rivals due to the weather.

In the short term, the club committee, which held an emergency meeting on Monday, is bidding to raise £5,000 through a series of events to see them through until the end of the season.

And grant funding will be sought from a number of sources with immediate effect to pay for better flood panels and defences

The excessive rainfall of the last two weeks echoes the persistent deluge that almost crippled the club in 2012 and the club’s financial reserves have been reduced to virtually nil.

Social functions, notably skittles evenings which literally keep the club afloat, cannot go ahead while the car park is under water.

“It is just soul destroying,” said Julie. “The skittle alley was due to open this week for the first time since the Christmas period and we had pumped all the water off the pitch and car park. Two hours later we were wellie deep again.

“The club was founded in 1898 and we have to keep it going, we have to keep fighting, but in truth this is now an annual problem and we must looking to move elsewhere. We can no longer be insured due to the floods.

“I will be holding talks with the Wiltshire FA this week to try and find a solution. The major problem about finding a new site in the town will the planning issue over floodlights.

“I have also joined a new initiative called Malmesbury Campus and I am sure we will talk aout a sports hub for the town.”

Exton is maintaining her sense of humour despite the club’s troubles. “I should start charging a fiver for everyone who comes to take a picture of the lake on our pitch. We are now more famous for flooding than football.”

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