Newport FC have called for mediators to settle a dispute over their tenancy at Smallbrook Stadium.

Earlier today, the County Press revealed Ryde Saints FC, who are the home club at Smallbrook, were threatening to evict tenants Newport due to the Wessex League club not making a start on promised floodlights at the stadium 

In a letter to players, supports and club members, Ryde Saints says ending the deal would mean The Port would have just 30 days to find somewhere else to base itself.

Ryde Saints chair, Jamie Humm, has written to say the groundshare was made on the agreement Newport FC would upgrade Smallbrook's floodlights.

Read the County Press original story here.

Newport say eviction could see them have to play all their remaining games away from home this season.


In a statement issued this afternoon,  Newport FC said "After taking expert legal advice, Newport says the eviction notice is invalid and has called for fresh negotiations between the two clubs to reach a compromise.

"If that fails then they have said they would welcome the chance for mediation.

"The dispute has arisen because, as part of the original ground-share arrangement, Newport FC agreed to undertake a £4,700 upgrade of the floodlights at Smallbrook.

But the quote on which that agreement was struck has since been found to be flawed with the true cost closer to £40,000.

"The problem is that the only way to supply Wessex League compliant lighting would require new stanchions at the arena which Island Speedway – the principal leaseholders at Smallbrook – will not allow for safety reasons."

Newport currently pays a match fee to both Ryde Saints and Island Speedway and has agreed to buy Ryde Saints a container for storage use. 

Newport says it has also offered a financial compensation package but this has been rejected by Ryde Saints who have issued Newport a notice to quit.

Pete Westhorpe, secretary, Newport (IW) FC Supporters Trust said he was shocked to read about the notice to quit on social media before receiving an official letter.

He said: “We are in this position because the plan to upgrade the floodlights to the required standard – which was agreed with Ryde Saints and Island Speedway - has sadly proven to have been flawed. 

"The simple fact is the original proposal is unworkable as it won’t meet Sydenhams Wessex League requirements and an alternative solution we have explored is not possible because Island Speedway would not allow it – quite rightly – on safety grounds.

“This leaves us in a situation where we are contractually obliged to do something that cannot be done.

"Newport leaving Smallbrook will mean lost revenue for Ryde Saints and also Island Speedway. That’s not productive for anyone."

Barry Bishop, Chairman, Island Speedway (IOW) Ltd, said: "I am upset to read that Ryde Saints CIC have decided to give Newport FC notice to leave our facility at Smallbrook.

“Island Speedway was today notified by Ryde Saints CIC that they had given Newport FC notice and it was the first that we knew of any such action.

"Newport have tried very hard to sort this matter but unfortunately there seems no way of achieving good lighting levels on the football pitch without harming Speedway operations for safety purposes, but also for our other users such as rallies, festivals and charitable events, and as landlord of the entire complex, we cannot allow additional stanchions to be erected.

“Since the start of this season, we have found Newport's volunteers and spectators a pleasure to have around and the income from the groundshare is an extremely important injection into our finances, as I would imagine it is to Ryde Saints. "

Having two football clubs and Speedway at Smallbrook gives a real boost to the local community."