The re-formed Edgware Town Football Club will use Barnet FC's former home, Underhill Stadium, at the beginning of next season after delays to work at their new home.
Edgware’s temporary stay at Underhill is the result of delays at Silver Jubilee Park, the former home of Kingsbury Town FC.
Brent Council have given Edgware permission to lay a new artificial pitch at Silver Jubilee Park but delays to work at the ground means it will not be ready for the start of the 2014/15 season.
As a result, Edgware will begin their return at Barnet’s Underhill Stadium, currently the training base of Super League side London Broncos and home to the Broncos Under-19 academy side.
Barnet moved out of Underhill at the end of the 2012/13 season following a long-running dispute with Barnet Council.
Chairman Tony Kleanthous had looked into moving the club out of Underhill for a number of years owing to the poor facilities and lack of opportunity to expannd but the Bees eventually left following a dispute with Barnet Council over the lease of the stadium and having also missed out on moving to Barnet Copthall in favour of Saracens.
The Conference side now play at The Hive in Canons Park, Edgware, originally intended to be their training base.
Former Barnet FC Trust chairman Derek Rocholl sees Edgware’s temporary tenancy as a positive: “So far it hasn’t been the subject of a huge out of debate amongst Barnet FC supporters. Most seem to have accepted that Barnet FC are very unlikley to return to the old Underhill stadium and that it is no longer fit for purpose for a team playing in the Conference with strong aspirations to return to the League.
“Those who are more keen to see a return to Barnet are focused on trying to secure agreement between the Council and Barnet FC for a new stadium for the club in the town through the Back2Barnet campaign. The campaign will be present at this weekend’s East Barnet Festival to promote the cause and try to raise funds to support a planning application.”
Rocholl added: “I am pleased that the old ground will be used for competitive football next season. I hope that Edgware supporters enjoy thier time at Underhill while their new stadium is being completed. I am sure a few Bees fans might pop along to a game or two for nostalgia’s sake and perhaps to show Barnet Council that they miss having a football club to follow in their town.”
Kleanthous confirmed his intention to sell Underhill at the end of May and told the club’s website: “We are now looking to sell the site. We have had Broncos using the facilities keeping it ticking over but it is clearly deteriorating fast and the cost of maintaining the old stadium seems disproportionate.
“I have waited until after the local elections to see whether the Back to Barnet campaign would have any success and to give local supporters every opportunity to influence the councillors looking to get elected but have not seen much activity.”