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End of the line for Genesis senior side

By Matt Lawton
May 31 2011

With the withdrawal of the club’s application to join the North West Counties League for next season, it has now been confirmed that Leigh Genesis FC will no longer operate at semi-professional level.

With an interim emergency home in Atherton, Genesis were once again left looking for a suitable home in their home town but found little success. Having been evicted from their promised new home at the main stadium at Leigh Sports Village, the club spent last season at Atherton LR’s Crilly Park but suffered a dire season on and off the field with drastic falls in gate receipts alongside pitch and drainage problems and electrical faults that were mainly caused by regular break-ins at the Spa Road ground, despite the best efforts of both LGFC and Atherton LR.

Genesis, who now have 30 junior teams and a full-time youth programme attached to it were hoping to return to Leigh Sports Village to share with Leigh Athletic FC at Leigh Harriers athletics’ ground, but that option has been unsuccessful and no other suitable venues available, the club were left with no option other than to withdraw their application to join the North West Counties League following last season‘s relegation from the Evo-Stik League First Division North.

Manager Alan Kershaw was understandably disappointed with the news after taking the reigns partway through last season and blooding several youngsters in to first team action.

“This is incredibly disappointing. With a bustling junior section and 30 full-time youth players affiliated to the club, we have the most amazing foundations and it is difficult to understand why Leigh Genesis can’t play in Leigh and cannot be given the base that it deserves.”

Kershaw himself attended the first of six LGFC Junior presentation nights last weekend with 300 people in attendance, while Leigh Genesis Under 11's even made an appearance at Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium at the weekend where they won the Players Cup Final in the most prestigious event in the club's junior history.

Board members of the Club are clearly feeling exasperated. Even the assistance of Leigh MP Andy Burnham wasn’t enough to find a solution for the club to continue operating it’s senior side.

“This is an absolute disgrace” said secretary Mary Croasdale. “We left Hilton Park in 2008 on a long standing promise by the council that Leigh Sports Village Stadium would be our permanent home, but the original promises seem to have been ignored and financial gain has overtaken the original ideal of a ‘community stadium’ for the town. Blackburn Rovers Reserves play all their home matches at the ground and do not seem to struggle getting a lease at the ground, whilst the town's own team is given the cold shoulder.“

“Maybe Wigan MBC should look at the success of Chorley this season who have enjoyed record crowds and secured promotion, all from the back of a supportive council, not to mention the coaching team, several board members and the majority of the playing staff that was in place at Leigh last season! I’d like to say well done Chorley for embracing your team and recognising the potential for growth and most tellingly the benefits that can be brought to a town’s credibility and economy with a successful side.”

“One of the most aggravating aspects of the club’s trials with the LSV was the stadium company turning down £400,000 of funding towards the massive cost of the project. This funding was obtained through the club via the Football Foundation but was never handed over to the stadium company as LSV chiefs would not assure the Football Foundation that Leigh Genesis would be playing there for the next 10 years. Surely any short term financial hardship would have been cushioned by this amount? And who is filling that shortfall now?”

Matt Lawton, secretary of the Leigh Genesis Supporters Association and also the club’s press officer was equally downcast by the news.

“I and many others have enjoyed supporting the club over the years and will enjoy memories that will last a lifetime, and it’s such a shame that the club has been left with no option but to call it a day at senior level because of the issues that all stem back to not having our own home ground. Since leaving Hilton Park, it’s been virtually one huge nightmare, despite the club and it’s supporters trying to make the best of a bad situation. Let’s be honest, you don’t expect to outlive the football club that you support, do you?”

Croasdale finished; “The club has been praised by the Evo-Stik League and FA this season for it’s efforts in keeping going in such difficult circumstances and indeed it was shortlisted in the final five nominations for two major FA awards this year. The club continues to hold the respect of the league, the FA and its rival clubs but sadly this does not reflect in its treatment closer to home.”

The club directors would like to thank the club’s hugely dedicated supporters for their help, understanding and vast amounts of time, money and effort that have been donated over the years and only wish that circumstances could allow the club to continue at a senior level. Leigh Genesis Juniors will continue to operate as normal and carry on providing expert coaching to hundreds of children in the area and are wished the very best of luck for the future.

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End of the line for Genesis senior side
Discussion started by , 31/05/2011 20:42
31/05/2011 20:42
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31/05/2011 20:53
As I'm sure you'll understand lads, absolutely devastating to issue the above press release. A few tears been shed tonight I think it's fair to say.

Leyther T
31/05/2011 21:45
its not like we got the fan base to run a fans club, gutted is not the word, people we wont see at matches again, and the banter LSV hope you are reading this message board

01/06/2011 06:32
Leyther T
its not like we got the fan base to run a fans club, gutted is not the word, people we wont see at matches again, and the banter LSV hope you are reading this message board
You see I am not sure about this, I keep hearing this, but there is no need to have a minimum number to set up a club, you need volunteers, a squad of players and most importantly and I suppose the main stumbling block, somewhere to play.
There are plenty clubs out there who run with less supporters than Leigh and certainly ones with less passion.
I think next season should be spent looking at options, ok easy for me to say on the outside so to speak, but I am surprised by some of people who seem to be giving up.
It is all raw at the moment, but why not look at setting up a steering group to at least look properly into it, speak to SD and see what they can assist with and advise, if it's not possible then at least you tried.
I enjoy popping along to Leigh when I can, and have done since the club moved to the town, it's a crying shame that it will be allowed to go without a whimper.
I know, as I say, it is easy for me to sit here and say this, it isn't raw for me as it is for you, but when the dust has settled, take stock and maybe look to the future, there maybe one, if you really want one?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011:06:01:06:33:48 by fcumleigh.

01/06/2011 08:53
Got to be honest Ste and say I've not got any fight left in me. I know all alternatives were explored already and don't see how the situation would be any different for a 'phoenix' club.

Red City Leyther
01/06/2011 10:40
A very sad time for all who supported Leigh Genesis and worked behind the scenes.I hope the great bunch of lads who i have met at the matches over the years will still meet up for the odd game.

01/06/2011 11:26
Red City Leyther
I hope the great bunch of lads who i have met at the matches over the years will still meet up for the odd game.
Course we will mate - see the 'Thank You Tour' thread for non-league days out I reckon we should do at some point this year.

And if anyone fancies going to the rugby or to a Hibs game then feel free to give us a shout on Facebook.

Bin Cleaner
03/06/2011 20:28
Gutted for all of you, not much else i can say

06/06/2011 19:21
Just got back off hols to this!The council and the LSV should be ashamed of themselves, to force a club out of business like this is shameful.
Contrast it with Tameside Council, who helped Curzon with their new ground then left it to them to run it themselves. Then when Mossley had the floodlight problem 18m ago they offered to fund half the cost of the replacements without even being asked.

I used to go to the old Grundy Hill a few times and have been going to Hilton Park for about 15 years or so.
I suppose the people of Leigh could have been more supportive,but you can't blame them when home games were being moved all over Lancashire.

All in all a very sad time.

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