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Colin McGowan fears for Hamilton’s future after council stop renting offices

Hamilton Academical v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Fountain of Youth Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Hamilton chief executive Colin McGowan has expressed his “overwhelming fears” for the future of the club after council bosses decided to stop renting offices at Foys Stadium.

In a 2,800-word open letter, McGowan expressed his “bewilderment” at the decision of South Lanarkshire Council and the Lanarkshire Valuation Joint Board not to renew a 20-year lease.

McGowan warned he would have 168 sleepless nights trying to figure out how to replace the annual rental income, which is worth about £300,000.

Addressing his “distress, anger and overwhelming fears for the club’s future” to council chief executive Cleland Sneddon, he wrote: “I have thought about your decision to terminate the lease at great length and I cannot see, apart from their own beneficial reasons, how this will benefit the community.

“Reasons I assume are merely financial and not based on the impact it will have on so many who rely on the community work that goes on inside the doors of HAFC.

“We will now bear the responsibility of replacing this vital income which as I am sure SLC are more than aware, will not be an easy task given the unforeseen circumstances 2020 has brought upon us all.”

McGowan added: “HAFC are committed to changing lives through ensuring the people in the community we serve feel safe, are better connected and more socially cohesive and in turn have improved family relationships through the support packages we provide.

“It is therefore my astonishment at the decision that has been made to vacate the premises on 21st May next year and I feel strongly that SLC are completely neglecting their responsibility and duty of care to the local community and are therefore denying the capacity for change.”

After listing many of the community projects the club are involved with, McGowan finished by pleading with the council to negotiate an extension of the lease or provide the club with a £299,000 “goodwill” payment to cover a year’s rent if it moves out.