Mosman Park council claims Western Knights Football Club scored own goal in lease talks

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE Western Knights Football Club administration has been criticised by Mosman Park council for dragging its feet in signing a new lease to use Nash Field.

The council put forward a new lease at last Tuesday’s council meeting despite consternation over the delays.

“Any affected junior players need to know this was a strategic mistake by the Western Knights administration,” Cr Paul Shaw said at the meeting.

After negotiations, the club had not taken up the council’s December 2017 offer of a one-year lease, with the option of another year starting on November 1.

The offer included requirements the club spend up to $9300 on maintenance of its clubhouse, but could cancel the lease if it spent more.

However, the future of the field had been complicated by a council feasibility study investigating other options for its use – including the adjacent Mann and Davis ovals – two months before the Knights’ old lease finished.

A report said there were six attempts to get the Knights to agree to the new lease, but the club wanted three years and fewer spending demands.

Cr Andrew Maurice said the club originally said it had corporate backing for improvements, but the council found its “financials and due diligence didn’t stack up” for a Department of Sport and Recreation grant last year.

“We need to but the Western Knights on notice that we are expecting them to come up with a financial plan,” Cr Maurice said.

The club would not comment on the financial claims, but in a statement vice-president Dean Zlendic said its committee was “very pleased” with the council’s decision last Tuesday.

“We look forward to signing the two-year lease ASAP, and continue planning for next year’s season and beyond for our 197 junior players, our specials needs teams and senior team,” Mr Zlendic said.

Mayor Brett Pollock said the ‘one plus one’ year lease would now be enacted, after councillors rejected offering the field to other football clubs.