Football: Non-League notebook: Stones trying to roll once more: Long road back from brink

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The Independent Online
TEN years ago, Wealdstone were embarking on the most successful season in their history, one which was to end with success in the FA Trophy and the GM Vauxhall Conference (then called the Gola League) as the Middlesex side became the first to achieve the non-League double, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Last term, though, only the resignation of Dunstable and Canterbury saved them from relegation from the Beazer Homes League, after they finished bottom but one in the Southern Division. Little has gone right for the club since 1985: they went down from the Conference in 1988, and from the Beazer Premier in 1992.

After they sold the Lower Mead Stadium, their home in Harrow for 70 years, they moved in with Watford in 1991. The ground-share was a financial disaster for the Stones, however, nearly forcing them out of business. They became involved in a legal wrangle with the solicitors who had handled the sale of Lower Mead, which was only concluded two months ago by an out-of-court settlement in favour of the club of nearly pounds 1m.

Wealdstone are now in their second season as tenants at Yeading, where they meet Bromley in the FA Trophy tomorrow. 'We must get back to Harrow within three years, or we will go under,' Paul Rumens, the club chairman, said yesterday. 'We hope we can find a site soon.

'Last season we weren't interested in football, it was just the court case. Now we're paying decent wages again, and we've got a good squad under Fred Callaghan (the former Brentford manager). We're fighting to save the club, and we're getting there slowly.'

Umbro, the sportswear manufacturers, will provide over pounds 1m to sponsor the FA Trophy for the next four years.

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