WHILE Oswestry Town’s merger with Total Network Solutions may have come as something of a surprise to supporters, it is not a move we’ve rushed into blindly, says the official statement from Oswestry Town's chairman, Bill Jerman.
It’s no secret that Oswestry Town have found life in the Welsh Premiership a struggle, both on and off the pitch. Relegation was avoided by the skin of our teeth for the third year running, and the lack of success has seen matchday support at Park Hall dwindle. This has seriously hit the club’s already stretched finances, and it was felt by those who run the club that to continue without exploring avenues of change would be foolhardy.
A range of different options were scrutinised to try to secure the best possible future for Oswestry Town FC, and various private and business individuals were approached. After lengthy deliberations, it was unanimously decided that the TNS merger was by far the best way forward to guarantee that Oswestry Town - under whatever name - could continue, and indeed could look forward to potential success.
Clearly losing the name of Oswestry Town is a blow to people who have supported their town club in the past. But to be honest, if - say - a major company had come in with a massive cash injection but insisted that we call the club Hovis FC or Tesco FC, we would have snapped their hand off.
The fact that the company involved is TNS seems to be the bone of contention. Forget that TNS is the name of another local football club. Remember instead that Total Network Solutions is a large and respected company and employer in Oswestry.
Together the two clubs in Oswestry and Llansantffraid have the wherewithal to move forward together for a hugely exciting future for this town and this area. Without this combination, there would be no chance of a purpose-built 3,000-seater stadium in Oswestry, no chance of a business that could comply with the incoming European criteria for running a top-notch football club in Oswestry, no chance of a full-time professional side in Oswestry, and no chance of an Oswestry team playing in European competitions.
For those who would still dismiss these arguments and suggest that we are selling the soul of their club, would they rather that we continue on the path to what happened in 1988, when the football club was forced to sell the old ground in Victoria Road and stop playing?
And for those who feel it’s a takeover by TNS rather than a merger, we would stress that members of the two current boards will sit together, the two Youth Academies will be brought together, a new reserve side will be formed, a new college-link will be forged, and girls’ and women’s football will be taken forward.
It’s anticipated that, once given the go-ahead, the new ground should take two years to build. During that time, the merged club’s first team will play out of Llansantffraid, simply because Treflan is in a better state of repair (pitch and superstructure) than Park Hall. The new reserve side and the youth set-up will operate in Oswestry.
The future legacy for football in Oswestry is more exciting than it´s ever been. A brand new super-stadium in the town. A team capable of winning honours. And a structure that develops soccer on an organised basis for all ages and both sexes.
This is a plan that will benefit future generations in Oswestry - your children and grandchildren - for years to come.
10 June 2021
THE SEVERN 107.1FM
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