Football club faces massive bill for pavilion upgrade

Thorney FC

Thorney Football Club is facing a bill of up to £10,000 to repair the pavilion in the park and there’s a real danger that the club may fold.

Chairman, Michael Bowen said work would have to be completed by the end of the summer and if the club couldn’t find the cash there was a real danger it would not be able to carry on.

The position is a dramatic turn-around from this time last year when the first team was on its way to winning the First Division title with an unbeaten 30-match run. They went on to take a place in the Premier Division of the Peterborough League for the first time.

This season, the first team have exceeded their points target and should achieve a comfortable mid-table position to maintain Premier Division status. The Reserves have struggled but are playing in Division Two – higher than they have ever played.

So with things going well on the pitch, how has the club reached a crisis? Michael Bowen takes up the story: “The price of promotion was a requirement to improve the facilities. For those who are not familiar with the Thorney Park Pavilion it is a wooden hut, erected in 1973 by Peterborough City Council and maintained only when absolutely necessary. It has been in a serious state of disrepair for many years and by the end of last season there were holes in the walls, creating mould patches and damp throughout.

“Remedial work to fix this was only carried out after e-mails were widely circulated as using the normal channels had proved fruitless. The fact that the club would like to improve the facilities should not hide the fact that the pavilion is well past its sell-by date and not now fit for purpose.

“As the necessary improvements were never going to be achievable for the start of the season, the club reluctantly entered into an agreement to play first team home fixtures at Parson Drove for the current season.

“The Reserves were able to keep playing at Thorney Park but, at the beginning of December, the pavilion was closed completely as the power supply, which was routed from the old toilet block, had been deemed unsafe.

“So our Reserve side were also homeless and have subsequently been trawling around various City Council pitches in Peterborough each home game. Work was due to be completed on the remedial work needed by the end of March but no word had been received at the time of going to press.

“With regards to the pavilion improvements, talks have been ongoing with Peterborough City Council and the Cambridgeshire FA with regards to getting the relevant funding in place, but progress has been slow.

“We now have quotes for the work required, ranging from £11,500 to £20,000. We have submitted an application for a grant which will give us 50 per cent of the overall cost. As it stands at the moment the football club itself will then be funding the remaining 50 per cent, with no commitment from the council to assist.

“Unfortunately we are now in a position whereby if we cannot get everything required in place and the work done by the end of the summer we will be faced with the prospect of losing the football club completely. We obviously hope it doesn’t come to this but it has become a very real possibility.”


  • John Bartlett

    Thorney Park Pavilion was built by Thorney Rural District Council when they created the park in the early 1970s.
    The Park is now owned by Peterborough City Council, it is their responsibility to maintain this building not Thorney Football Club.
    Thorney Football Club should contact Peterborough City Councillor David Sanders who represents Eye & Thorney on the City Council to represent them when dealing with Council Officers.

    • Michael Bowen

      John – Thanks for your reply and interest. However you are missing the point of the piece. Whilst it remains the responsibility of the Council for upkeep they have no budget / interest (take your pick) to sort the facility out. The Football Club is at the stage where it can wait no longer for outside help – it is not a case of waiting – it is a case of survival.
      We have been in consultation with the City Council for the last four years as you should be aware. There have been many meetings / emails / calls about the subject. Mr Sanders has been contacted about the issue but has not become involved.
      John – you are very right when you say it is not our responsibility to maintain the building – but on that basis there will not be a Thorney Football Club next season.
      As Chairman of the club I make no apology for saying that we can not wait for various council bodies and councillors to figure whose responsibility it is.
      We would welcome some actual help John.

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