By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent
Darts player Tony O’Shea believes Stockport County’s long term future could be secured by moving away from Edgeley Park – albeit reluctantly.
O’Shea realises a move away from the Hardcastle Road ground will be a wrench for many fans.
Edgeley Park has been County’s home for over 100 years, though The Hatters have not owned the ground since 2005 when Cheshire Sports boss Brian Kennedy- who owns groundsharers Sale Sharks - sold the club. They have since paid rent.
“Nobody wants to leave Edgeley Park but if it secures the club’s future, it gets my vote. It will allow us to use the ground outside of football, unlike our situation at the moment which see Sale Sharks get all the cash from the facilities,” said Tony.
"This extra money will help us to improve the squad and hopefully help us climb the leagues again."
This includes conference and banqueting facilities. Even the half time pie sales at County games go to Cheshire Sports as they own the ground.
County have recently appointed a new director, Spencer Fearn, who helped turn Scottish club East Stirling from a nationwide laughing stock to a respectable mid table outfit in his time there.
“I believe he’s going to put his money where his mouth is. We need people like that in charge - personally, the people on the board currently are not County people. I know there are people who want to come in and invest in the club but the board aren’t letting them.”
Despite County’s precarious league position – they are 19th in the Blue Square Premier, just two points above the relegation zone, Tony is optimistic since the arrival of County legend James Gannon as director of football.
“Jim has his methods. Getting players in who want to play for the club is a massive boost. Finishing 15th this season will more than do! Keep the faith!”
He also praised Gannon for bringing back popular players Paul Turnbull and Matty Mainwairing back to the club on month long loan deals.
“Paul is a Stockport lad – he’s passionate about the club. We need players like him and Matty should never have been released.”
Mainwairing was released by mutual consent by former manager Dietmar Hamann before joining Championship side Hull City after not making an appearance under the former German international.
New Hull boss Nicky Barmby has allowed him to return to Edgeley Park whilst Turnbull – County captain last season – arrives on a similar deal from League Two strugglers Northampton Town.
“The clubs below and around us are struggling at the moment. Hopefully we can start climbing the table starting with a victory over AFC Telford tonight,” said Tony.
In further transfer news, Ryan Fraughan has left Edgeley Park on loan to join Welsh Premier side TNS until the end of the season.
County host AFC Telford tonight at Edgeley Park at 7.45.