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Barnet FC chairman Tony Kleanthous confirms club's plan to sell former Underhill Stadium after move to The Hive in Edgware
Barnet FC has announced plans to sell off its former stadium in Underhill, meaning the club will be staying at The Hive for years to come.
The Bees spent 106 years at the site but the club claims it was "ushered out" by Barnet Borough Council, which increased the cost of the lease.
Before the club moved full-time to its training complex at The Hive, in Camrose Avenue, Edgware, unimpressed supporters launched a Back 2 Barnet campaign in the hope of raising £75,000 to submit their own planning application for a new stadium in Barnet.
When asked about plans for the future of Underhill, Mr Kleanthous said in an interview on the club website: "We are now looking to sell the site.
"We have had (Rugby League team) London Broncos using the facilities keeping it ticking over but it is clearly deteriorating fast.
"The cost of maintaining the old stadium seems disproportionate."
In the past year, the Barnet FC Supporters Trust has organised sponsored walks and recorded a song about the old stadium as part of Back 2 Barnet.
However, the campaign has gone quiet in recent months.
Mr Kleanthous added: "I have waited until after the local elections to see whether the Back 2 Barnet campaign would have any success and to give local supporters every opportunity to influence the councillors looking to get elected, but I have not seen much activity.
"Ultimately we would all like to be in Barnet but this will require a concerted effort from a sizeable group of supporters. I’m not too sure whether enough have the appetite anymore."
In the early 2000s, there were plans for Barnet FC to move to the south part of the stadium, known as South Underhill, but these were ultimately rejected.
Mr Kleanthous said: "Despite the assertions of the conspiracy theorists amongst us, Barnet Council is not and has not been interested in anything to do with Barnet Football Club since Underhill ward become politically sensitive in the local elections 12 years ago.
"Contrary to the rubbish written on blogs and in the media, I do not support any political party and I have never provided any finance or gifts to any political party.
"My only sin was to fight the local council damn hard on the club's behalf and I have suffered a lot of cuts on the way, sometimes from our own camp.
"If the council wanted Barnet FC we would have been offered South Underhill ages ago. The only people that can make a difference and affect change in Barnet are all those who live and vote in Barnet."
Mr Kleanthous also denied money raised from the sale of Underhill would be used to pay for building at The Hive, which has all been financed by a cash injection of £7million provided by himself and grant money.
When asked how long Barnet FC was likely to be playing at The Hive, the chairman replied: "As long as is necessary until I can find a new site, preferably in Barnet, to build a modern new 10,000 seated stadium, which has always been my stated goal."
The Times Series is awaiting a comment from Barnet Borough Council.
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