Woking start out with grounds for optimism

Non-League Notebook
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The Independent Online
Non-League Notebook


If the bookies are right, the GM Vauxhall Conference could, for the first time since Wycombe went up in 1993, provide a club suitable for promotion to the Football League this season.

Ladbrokes have listed Woking, the FA Trophy holders, as 5-2 favourites to be top of the table at the end of the 1995/96 Conference campaign, which starts tomorrow. Macclesfield, the defending champions, are second favourites at 3-1, while Kidderminster, the 1993/94 winners, are third in the list at 5-1.

Both Kidderminster and Macclesfield failed to gain promotion because they were unable to complete ground improvements prior to the deadlines imposed by the Football League. Woking were runners-up last season but, if they had won the Conference, they too would have stayed down due to ground problems. That should not be the case this term.

It had seemed likely that the Surrey club would have to move to a new ground to progress upwards. Now, though, Woking Borough Council - which has signed a pounds 30,000 sponsorship deal with the club - believes that Kingfield stadium can be turned into a 10,000-plus capacity ground. If a planning hearing goes the club's way next month, the Council is willing to fund a pounds 1.35m redevelopment of the ground which should be complete by the Football League deadline of 31 December. For Woking, the future looks bright.