Dead king could lead to club being kicked off ground


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The Independent Online

While more illustrious sides like Chelsea think about leaving their traditional home to solve the problem of only having a 42,000-seater stadium, a more modest football club faces being turfed out of the ground it has played at for almost nine decades because today marks the 21st anniversary of the death of the Norwegian King.

An obscure clause in the agreement which handed amateur club Cromer Town FC its home after the First World War means that the death of the "People's King", right, in 1991 set a timebomb ticking for the Norfolk club. And the deadline is today.

The landowner, Evelyn Bond-Cabbell, agreed to allow the club to play its home games on her land, Cabbell Park, as a mark of respect to the townspeople who lost their lives in the Great War.

She also hoped it would help with unemployment after the conflict. But a clause hidden in the 1922 lease meant the club would have to vacate its home 21 years after the death of King Edward VII's last grandchild, King Olav V of Norway.

Talks have been ongoing for more than two years to find a solution and the local council has scheduled more meetings. A spokesman said "arbitrary dates", such as today's deadline, would be regarded as flexible and that if the club was eventually forced from its home it would be given time to fulfil its remaining fixtures.

The club hopes to stay at the ground but Mrs Bond-Cabbell's great grandson Benjamin Cabbell Manners, a local councillor, current chairman of Cabbell Park trustees and owner of Cromer Hall, is considering a change.

Plans to move the club to an out-of-town ground floundered last year when club officials questioned the plan's viability and claimed the 21-year countdown had not yet started.

They said that a relative of the king, the Earl of Harewood, who was unborn when the lease was signed, was legally "in being" at that time. The Earl, however, died last year, aged 88, meaning that, should he be accepted as the last remaining family member, the clock may once again be ticking.