Saturday 23rd January 2016 ko 15.00
National League South
TRURO CITY 4 (Green 8 Jay 14 Vassell 45 54)
MAIDENHEAD UNITED 4 (Tarpey 42 53 80p 89)
If ever there was a success story in an unlikely place it’s Truro. Deep in Cornwall, and rugby union country, the county has never had a Football League club, and even the league they started their meteoric rise from, the South-Western League was established in part to supply players for Devonian Plymouth Argyle! Due to its geographical isolation Cornish football has tended to exist in a fascinating, if slightly separated life from the rest of English football.
The explosion in fortunes started for Truro in 2005 when they were taken over by local businessman Kevin Heaney. His largesse saw the club finish as runners up in the 2005/6 South Western League, and they took promotion to the Western League. They were promoted from that league’s two divisions as champions in consecutive seasons, and the FA Vase won in 2007. They entered the Southern League winning the South & West division at the first attempt, and when the Premier Division was won in 2011 the club had been promoted an incredible 5 times in 6 years.
The housing crash bankrupted Kevin Heaney, and very nearly the club. The finances cost the club their place in the Conference South after just one season, but the club was taken over by a consortium of local businessmen, a CVA was agreed and last season the club regained their place in the renamed National League South via the playoffs.
The difficulty now is the club’s home, Treyew Road. Normally a club is given two years to get the facilities up to scratch following promotion but Truro’s elevation has been too rapid even for those rules! Modular “Arena” stands have been added, and huge banks of temporary seats to keep the ground graders happy. It was never going to be a satisfactory solution so the club are on the move.
The plans have been afoot for some time. As early as 2005 plans showed a 16,000 capacity stadium to be shared with the Cornish Pirates rugby union team. After much wrangling the club are now moving to a 4,000 capacity stadium in Silver Bow for next season with the costs at least in part being met from the sale of Treyew Road for a hotel and supermarket. The rugby side have been invited, but to play top flight rugby union you need to have 10,000 seats. Truro will groundshare next season at Torquay United’s Plainmoor (Plymouth Argyle turned them down apparently) some 107 miles away, the aim being to move into the new stadium for the 2017/18 season.
But even with the move now agreed Truro still have had to agree to carry out £50,000 worth of improvements to Treyew Road before March 31st to be eligible to take part in the playoffs. These works, to expand the size of the dug outs, to add 50 more covered seats and to add extra fencing in front of the bar and media building are to allow the club to play potentially a maximum of 3 home games after 31st March! And all for a ground that will be demolished afterwards, and yes the club are more than aware it’s a complete waste of money!
Another difficulty of being Truro City is when the pitch is marginal you have to call off games early if the away club is to be prevented from travelling. And on a cold wet day the pitch was wet, very wet. It was one of those days when you regularly had to find shelter, and curse all those uncovered seats!
Fortunately both sides made light of the dreadful conditions and heavy pitch to produce a classic game. Truro will no doubt ask themselves how they led from the 8th to the 89th minute and failed to win, but the game was a personal triumph for right winger Dave Tarpey whose 4 goals gave him and the Maidenhead fans a day to remember on the long and damp road home.